Volume 95, Issue 17

Friday, September 28, 2001
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Mustangs look to steady the ship

TD Waterhouse - good or bad?

Kwiatkowski- the next Steve Nash? Anything's possible

Elliotte Friedman: a reporter and a gentleman

Smith taking sports out to the Mustang masses

Mustang Mike Pasel holds the line on defense

As good as it gets

TD Waterhouse - good or bad?

JW Little Stadium's ghost lives on

By Pat Kane
Gazette Staff

Lauren Starr/Gazette
OPEN THE DOORS AND SEE ALL THE PEOPLE. TD Waterhouse Stadium has been home to Mustang athletics for over a year now and the reviews are in.

The gates at JW Little Stadium have been closed for over a year now and those fans who once took solace in its wooden bleachers and natural pitch have now made the trek across Huron Street to call TD Waterhouse Stadium home.

The transition received both praise and scrutiny. While many have said a new stadium was needed, others say tradition was replaced with technology. One of the clubs most affected by the move has been the Mustang football team, who have built a legacy on JW's grassland.

The turf at TD Waterhouse is a state-of-the-art, artificial turf and one can only hope Western's legacy will continue to grow at their new residence.

"There seemed to be a reluctance to let go of tradition when [JW] Little Stadium had closed," recalls Mustang head coach Larry Haylor.

"JW is a shrine to university football in Canada, [a place] where some of the most memorable games have been played. Everyone who played, coached or watched a game at [JW] Little Stadium feels a sense of nostalgia. TD Waterhouse Stadium gives us the chance to forge a new identity, while carrying on the legacy established at JW," Haylor added.

While the football team carves out their niche at TD Waterhouse Stadium, other Mustang clubs are reaping the benefits of a new facility. This holds especially true for the athletics and field hockey teams who were in dire need of a new facility.

Mustang athletics head coach Vickie Croley feels the new mondo track at TD Waterhouse provides a great training ground for athletes in the London area and at Western.

"The mondo track has a hard surface which makes it more conducive to faster times. During the Canada Summer Games, a total of thirteen records were broken on this track. The new track is second to none and it draws athletes to Western," Croley said.

Western field hockey head coach Jenn Symmes feels the new artificial turf is not only a nice feature, but is a necessity in her sport.

"We really needed a new surface to play on. For field hockey, a truer lie makes games better to watch and it makes for better practices because we can do things that you just couldn't do on grass. Overall, it just feels better playing here because we never really had a home field before TD Waterhouse was built," said Symmes.

It appears Mustang teams are beginning to settle in at TD Waterhouse Stadium, while other organizations from across Canada are taking notice of the facility.

Frank Earle, assistant manager of Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre said some clubs are looking to host provincial and national tournaments at TD Waterhouse Stadium.

"Aside from the Canada Games, we are getting some calls from organizers who want to host national events. Field hockey is one sport that is very interested in hosting the national championships here" he said.

"It's been great for Western and great for London because we are getting so much exposure. It seems everyone who comes here is very satisfied and impressed with the facility ," Earle said.

Artificial turf and mondo tracks appear to be the wave of the future, as more stadiums similar to TD Waterhouse are being constructed throughout the world. While some people feel this is a huge injustice to the tradition of sport, others feel like it is a necessity in order to push the development of sport further.

Western has always prided itself on developing future leaders, something that is as much a part of the university's tradition as the buildings themselves.

Nonetheless, the playing surfaces, on which athletes develop their characters and talents fall by the wayside if one recalls what the great Bobby Jones once said: "Competitive sports are played mainly on a five and a half inch court, the space between your ears."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001