Molson Stadium to receive new playing surface for 98th year of operation
The Montreal Alouettes and numerous sports teams at McGill University will be benefitting from another major facelift to Molson Stadium in the New Year.
The facility, which opened in 1915 and turns 98 years old in 2013, is currently undergoing improvements to the drainage system. Also, a new, high-performance synthetic surface, known as a new FieldTurf Revolution, will be installed as soon as the snow clears in the spring. The $1.445 million project is scheduled to be completed by the end of May, well in advance of the first Alouettes home game, slated for mid-June.
“We’re pleased to finally move forward on this project,” said Drew Love, executive director of athletics and recreation at McGill, who explained that improvements to the drainage were necessary as numerous varsity soccer games and intramural activities had been postponed over the past few years due to water accumulation on the field during heavy rains. “With the almost round-the-clock use that our field gets during the summer and fall, the old surface had degraded significantly. The upgrade will also provide a safer turf for our student-athletes.”
This will be the fourth artificial surface for the facility, which was originally known as McGill Graduates’ Stadium but was renamed Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in 1919. AstroTurf was first installed with government funding in 1975 as the site was to be used for field hockey competitions at the 1976 Summer Olympics. The turf was replaced again in 1988 by a new AstroTurf-8 surface, primarily as a result of a gift from the Molson Foundation. In 2003, a FieldTurf surface was installed as part of a $12.8 million renovation project to upgrade the entire stadium, financed in part by the Alouettes and the Canada-Quebec infrastructure program, under the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
FieldTurf is in use at over 4,500 installations in North America, including over 100 NCAA programs, eight CIS institutions, six NFL teams and five CFL squads. The specific fibre that will be fitted for Molson Stadium has also been installed at the home fields of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Seattle Seahawks as well as university stadiums at Guelph, Missouri, Maryland, Oregon State, Illinois, New Mexico and Fresno State. It is also being used at practice facilities for the Washington Redskins, as well as the universities of Washington and Minnesota.
“We are thrilled to have been selected for this high-profile project and proud that we will be providing McGill with a first-class sports surface,” said Frank Lapenna, vice-president of LML Paysagiste et Frères, Inc., a Montreal-area company which has won the installation bid for the project.
The Stadium was named after Percival Molson, a renowned athlete who at age 16 was the youngest player ever to win the Stanley Cup. A multi-sport all-star at McGill who graduated in 1901, he later competed for Canada in track and field at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics and served overseas with the Canadian Armed Forces during the First World War where he was eventually killed in action in 1917. In his will, he bequeathed $75,000, a gift which has a present day value of almost $9 million, to help offset the construction costs of the Stadium.