I dropped by the Gryphon Fieldhouse today and caught a couple of hours of the Team Ontario tryouts. I have been in the Fieldhouse a couple of other times just to have a look around. So this was my first chance to watch it used for a football function. It certainly is a nice facility. The fact that it is a building rather than an inflated dome definitely makes a difference, particularly the lighting. I heard nothing but positive comments from the parents I talked to on the sidelines. Many of them have followed their sons to numerous other facilities and were clearly impressed with our fieldhouse.
On Friday night the Gryphons conducted what I believe was their second practice of the off-season. If I’m not mistaken, CIS teams are limited to 20 out-of-season practices including spring camps. From what I’ve heard players love the new facility. It is right next door to Alumni Stadium and clearly superior to the old GryphonDome with its rock-hard turf or having to bus it to the Mardon Fieldhouse north of the city.
In the OUA, to my knowledge, UofT is the only other school that has a turf indoor practice facility. The new stadium at uOttawa was supposed to be “domed” for the winter but that hasn’t happened. It is hard to imagine that the players trying out for Team Ontario, many of them top prospects in 2014 and 2015, won’t remember which school has the best facilities. There is no one that deserves thanks for the Gryphon Fieldhouse more than Univ of Guelph students themselves. They voted in a 2009 referendum to pay student fees that provided most of the funding for the facility.
Check out the following video which begins with 40 seconds of highlights from a Jan 11 practice in the Fieldhouse. The balance of the video is some rather comical, post-event coverage of a team meal and rib-eating contest at Montana’s Cookhouse.