New turf, who dis?

The old artificial turf at hillside stadium has been replaced

The city of Kamloops has completed the $600,000 turf replacement at Hillside Stadium, giving the TRU Wolfpack and the community a beautifully updated playing field for years to come.

Kamloops has always built community through sport and recreation. From the world-famous mountain bike routes or the Kamloops Blazers hockey games, the city has made a point to invest in and promote their local sporting teams – a prime example being the $600,000 turf replacement at Hillside Stadium. The operation was completed in early August and gives TRU a new sports field to enjoy. Along with the turf, the city has installed a new sound system, new lighting, and initiatives to replace the track in 2021.

“From a TRU perspective, we are very appreciative of the city’s leadership on maintaining and upgrading facilities. It has a very positive impact on our programs,” Curtis Atkinson, TRU athletic director said. “It is beneficial to our current student-athletes and helps attract new student-athletes when you play in top-notch facilities.”

The average lifespan of artificial turf is ten to fifteen years, so the update came at a perfect time being 14-years-old. It was pretty clear that the turf needed a replacement after many complaints of its quality and bounce.

“The previous turf was probably there longer than it needed to be. I think it could’ve been replaced three years ago as there were a lot of concerns with injuries,” John Antulov, TRU men’s head soccer coach stated. “The new turf looks beautiful, it’s soft and I’m really happy with how it turned out.”

For the TRU men’s soccer team, this strikes as perfect timing as they are scheduled to host the U-Sports nationals in 2022.
“The updated facilities were actually a big part of why we won our bid to host. The fact that the turf was being replaced, the track was being replaced, the lighting is brand new as well as the sound system; these were big factors on why we were chosen.” Antulov said.

The stadium is host to the B.C Lions training camp, the Kamloops Bronco’s, and the TRU Wolfpack soccer teams. The news will surely please the players and coaches. Over the years there has been a lot of demand and speculation for a dome that would cover hillside stadium.

Due to the nature of Kamloops, it is almost impossible to use the field over the winter months. The new facilities prove that the city is listening and a dome may be on the horizon for Kamloops. Antulov has been advocating for the dome since he moved back to Kamloops in 2004.

“I think there’s enough will and want from the citizens of Kamloops to install a dome over the field. I think it’s an important piece for a recruiting standpoint and huge for the university. I’ve been in contact with every user group and everybody wants to use it. It is going to be full,” Antulov promised. “I think it’s the one piece that we are missing with all of our great facilities and with it, it will put us over the top.”

Due to COVID-19, competitive play will be missing from the new turf for the foreseeable future; however, many teams are still using it for practice and enjoying its benefits.

The new turf is an assurance that the city is taking care of its facilities and athletes. This investment will help recruitment in various sports as well as performance and media across the board.