Sports Central

This feature originally appeared in the Thunder Bay Experience Guide (Issue 5)

Thunder Bay and its community have a strong connection to sports. It is a place “where athletes come to play” and a community that strives to offer a first-class experience for all of its sports visitors. Thunder Bay is "Sports Central", when comes to hosting championship events.

Thunder Bay is a community with roots well entrenched in sport. Hockey, skating, curling and cross country skiing are popular winter sports here on the western shores of Lake Superior, while in the summer; baseball, soccer, running, golf and tennis take up people’s passions.

Did You Know?

Did you know that Thunder Bay has 12 golf courses with 144 holes to challenge your ability; a newly renovated tennis facility at Chapples Park with nine courts; eight ice arenas including the 3371-seat Fort William Gardens; 20 sheets of curling ice at three rinks and over 120 kilometres of groomed cross-country ski trails. Thunder Bay boasts a 2000-seat soccer stadium at Chapples Park, that is home to the Thunder Bay Chill of the Premier Development League and a 3000-seat baseball stadium, home to Thunder Bay Bordercats of the Northwoods League.

Hockey Town

Thunder Bay is a hockey town - the home of the Staal brothers. Eric, Jordan, Mark and Jarred who all are playing or have played in the National Hockey League. Eric and Jordan were on Stanley Cup winners with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Pittsburgh Penquins. And when you add in two cup wins by Patrick Sharp with the Chicago Blackhawks and most recently with Matt Murray and the Pittspurgh Penguins, the famous silver trophy has names on it 5 of the last 10 years. In fact, there are many Thunder Bay players listed on the Cup over the years.

Championship teams are nothing new to Thunder Bay and if you were to attend a Lakehead Thunderwolves or Thunder Bay North Stars game at the historic Fort William Gardens you would see the many championship banners hanging from the rafters.  The Thunder Bay Twins dominated senior hockey in the 1970s and the 90s are responsible for many of those banners including five Allan Cup titles which preceded four Canadian senior titles won by the Port Arthur Bearcats in the 1920s and 30s.

Championship Events

Thunder Bay welcomed close to 1500 competitors for the Can Am Police Fire Games in the summer of 2016, displaying what the city has to offer at over 25 different sports venues. It was biggest sports event to hit the City since the Canada Summer Games in 1981 and the World Nordic Championships in 1995.

Thunder Bay has also has the privledge of hosting both youth and adult athletes competing in the Canadian Wheelchair Curling Championships, Canadian University Wrestling Championships and the Canadian Dart Championships.

Great Local Events

Thunder Bay is also proud of its great local events like the Sleeping Giant Loppet, the 10-Mile Road Race, the Caribou Charity Ride and the XTerra Triathlon that also draw visitors to our city. Sports is also front and centre at the newly opened waterfront development at Prince Arthur’s Landing offering an open ice skating rink and premier skateboard park on the shores of Lake Superior with the famed Sleeping Giant as a backdrop.

So, if sports is your passion, and it is the reason you are visiting Thunder Bay, you have come to the right place!

About John Cameron

John knows what Northwest Ontario and Thunder Bay has to offer as a tourism destination. A life long resident of the region, John has lived in Thunder Bay for over 30 years. A former sports journalist, John has a passion sports having worked in television, radio and print. He continues to write a weekly column on curling for Thunder Bay’s daily paper, the Chronicle Journal. John works as a development officer for Tourism Thunder Bay with sports tourism a key part of his portfolio.

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