Cochrane’s football community had an enthusiastic kickoff to raise funds to add much-needed amenities to the Spray Lake Sawmills Legacy Sports Field.

About 150 gathered at the Venue Bar and Grill for a dinner and silent auction, Nov. 2, for the first thrust in raising about $350,000 to development change rooms, washrooms, expanded stands and equipment storage space. It comes after three full seasons on the artificial multi-sports field, located by the Bow Valley High School, that is widely used by the community for field sports, including football, soccer and high schools sports.

“It was an outstanding evening,” says Paul McLean, president of the Cochrane Minor Football Association. “People there really enjoyed the evening and showed their support for the project.”

This is only the first step.

“Everyone recognizes that some of these improvements need to be done and now we’re going to start reaching out to the greater community and greater sports community and see how they can assist us to move this project forward as quickly as possible so we can get these improvements in the ground.”

Monetary and trade contributions are welcomed and volunteers will be utilized where possible. It is the same multi-pronged strategy used to complete the artificial turf.

“We definitely want to try to stretch our dollars as far as we can.”Tommy Forzani encouraged people to get behind the project.

Calgary Stampeders’ Wall of Famer Tommy Forzani encouraged people to step up to help make the next step possible not only for local football teams but other field sports.

Playing his university ball with the Utah State Aggies, he says the quality of field facilities does put visiting teams on edge. He gave the example of a game the Aggies played at the superior Oklahoma State facilities.

“After you go through it, being their opponent the next day, they’re already up by 14 points. It’s that impressive.”

Several members of the famed Hart Family were in attendance to throw their support behind the project and contributed several items to the silent auction.

“It was really exciting,” says McLean. “Cochrane is a great community with a lot of people who are volunteers, supporters and donors for worthwhile projects like this. It was good and to see that extend into the greater community and to the Hart family throwing their support behind the initiative. I think it was very well received.”

Besides parents and coaches of several local teams, there were alumni Cochrane football players in attendance. That included Caleb Clark, who quarterbacked the Bow Valley Bobcats to back-to-back provincial championships in 2002 and 2003 before going to Western Michigan State on a football scholarship.

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