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Comments & Quotes

"Well, look what's happening in Winnipeg, Isn't that amazing?"

- Ernie Afaghanis, CBC Sports Weekend 1982 (Spongee feature on National TV)


"Did you know? That a reporter from the Wall Street Journal is in town to do a story. You won't believe what on, Winnipeg as the Sponge Hockey Capital of the World!"

- Gordon Sinclair Jr., Winnipeg Free Press on Canford


"Watching all the players empty out of the rinks all at the same time reminds me of the workers coming off shift at the auto plants in Detroit."

- Gary Lamphier, Wall Street Journal, from the Canford Deck after playing in a Sponge Hockey match where he earned an assist on his second shift.


"Surely, you can't consider sponge hockey to be a sport?"

- Peter Gzowski, on CBC's National Morningside, debating the merits of sponge hockey with John Robertson.


"About 4000 men, women and teenagers regularly venture out to play a game in -20 weather and stinging prairie winds. Bundled in sweaters and snow suits, balaclavas on their heads and suction cupped shoes on their feet. They slip and slide across the outdoor hockey rinks chasing a soft rubber puck in the Sponge hockey Capital of the World."

- Bob Cox, Canadian Press 





"How many teams play sponge hockey here?"

- Cam Clark, TSN during a taping feature on Canford's sponge hockey, expresses his surprise on the number of teams that played out of the old Grassie centre.


"These are amongst some of the finest sand courts I have played on."

- Garth Pischke, U of M coach and one of the best-hard and sand court players in the world. Summer of '88 at Canford

Wilt Chamberlain deemed Garth to be one of the very best volleyball players in the world, after seeing him play in Montreal at the 1976 Olympics.


"How come other cities have not done what Canford has done?"

- Diane Buckner of CTV's Live It Up, taping a feature on Sand Volleyball in rinks. 


"It was very tough for us to mobilize 6000 people to run for a good cause on a mid-June Sunday morning. What you are doing at Canford involves keeping thousands active weekly, even in the coldest of winter temperatures!"

- John Robertson, a founding father of the Manitoba Marathon and Sports Journalist. Also Uncle of Canford founder, John robertson and an advisor to Canford Sports!.


"...at no cost to taxpayers, unused community centres facilities and land were upgraded for various recreational activites. Facility maintenance and programming had been co-ordinated by the staff and volunteer resources of the Canford Sports Group. Fees paid by members totally offset operating costs. Continuing this relationship between the City and Canford allows the growing membership to continue to benefit from one of the finest programs of it's kind anywhere in Canada. For the City of Winnipeg, this is an opportunity to increase the inventory of recreational facilities at no capital or operating costs to the taxpayer. Recent studies have suggested that, while there may be sufficient numbers of athletic grounds in the city to meet the present and future recreational needs, the continual use of existing facilities makes it difficult to allocate maintenance time or recovery time for grassed areas. It could be anticipated that new Canford facilities would attract adult recreational leagues, thereby relieving some of the present demands, and allowing more recovery time for athletic fields between uses. The benefits to the existing and potential membership of Canford, and to the City of Winnipeg as a whole, support the need to relocate Canford to a convenient site for their continued operation."

Excerpt from City of Winnipeg Administrative Report on the Relocation of the Canford Centre. (in the 90's) 


"So much has happened since our search for a new site began over five years ago. We've entered the worst recession in decades, we've witnessed dramatic cuts in social services, recreational, health care and education. We've seen corporate giants go down and neighbors and friends lose jobs, homes and pride! One hundred and ten thousand Manitobans have left this province during the last decade, 10,000 in 1990 alone! Canford definitely cannot change what has happened over these past four years, or guarantee that the Jets will stay in Winnipeg or that those that have left our province will come home. What Canford can do is to continue to keep thousands of Winnipeggers active, by building the best possible facilities for casual sports in all of Canada, and maybe, it will be one of the reasons for those still at home... to stay."

-John Robertson, Executive Director and Founder of Canford Centre and Programs, 1991


"Canford isn't the Palace at Auburn Hills, by any stretch of the imagination.. but it is 12 acres of good fun!"

- Scott Taylor, Winnipeg FreePress


"In a northeast suburb of Winnipeg, between an expressway and a subdivision, sits the Canford Sports Centre, a small recreational complex with eight natural ice hockey rinks. Everynight from 6pm to 11:30pm, the parking lot is jammed full of cars and the overflow spills onto a nearby service road. A steady stream of people flows into and out of the clubhouse, none of them carrying skates. The Canford Sports Centre is the Sponge Hockey Capital of the World!. Indeed, the first thing a spectator notices from league games is the passing skills with players at all levels make breakway passes the rival any seen in the NHL."

- Rene Mauthe, Western Report
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