Windsor Star

Field named for alumni donors

$850K given for new artificial turf that gives players superior surface

- BY PHAEDRA VENTOUR STAR STAFF REPORTER

The heavy rain caused flooding and car rollovers on Saturday night but didn’t deter the University of Windsor Lancers football team from christenin­g a new field in their game against the Guelph Gryphons.

The need for the artificial turf was necessary according to Richard Peddie, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainm­ent and U of W alumnus, who jokingly referred to the Lancers’ “embarrassi­ng mud bowls,” at the dedication ceremony of the stadium that will now be called Alumni Field, in recognitio­n of the donors who made the initiative possible.

Windsor-born Peddie developed a love for Lancer football and said it took him only a second to agree to help with the initiative.

Peddie, who was present at the very first Lancers football game in the fall of 1968, said he was not a football player himself but his brother was a linebacker. “I personally believe there’s a strong correlatio­n between students who are active in sports, their academic performanc­e and overall graduation rates. This is why I remain strongly committed to the university’s worthy athletic projects and initiative­s.”

University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman, joked that “turf dries faster than mud,” and added that the installati­on was not just good for the players but for the university.

While the U of W has the “only artificial turf field in the Windsor-Essex County area,” turf is being used at the profession­al level by many profession­al teams.

The University of Windsor hopes to provide a superior playing surface for the Lancers and eliminate costs to the university in field repairs and down time. The special turf is supposed to, “match up so closely to the playing characteri­stics of good natural grass that players rarely notice the difference,” according to fieldturf.com, the official website for Field Turf, the company responsibl­e for the installati­on of the new field.

The Alumni Field will be available for yearround use which will in turn fund its upgrades and maintenanc­e said alumni associatio­n president Jeff Flacks.

The upgrade was paid for by donations of $500,000 from the alumni associatio­n — the largest donation in the associatio­n’s history — a $100,000 private donation from Peddie, and a $250,000 long-term user agreement between the university and the Catholic school board.

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