Over the last few years, the Montreal Alouettes have been talking about building a practice facility of their own, but that probably won’t happen in the next three years.
On Monday, the team announced a new three-year partnership with Parc olympique. The deal allows the Als to practice on the main field at Olympic Stadium and it gives management the ability to keep their head office at the Big O, too.
As part of the agreement, a new training room will be built for the players. That’s huge considering the limited gym equipment available in previous years.
In the past, the less-than-adequate facilities at Olympic Stadium forced the players to go train at another gym in downtown Montreal.
As one player told me last season, it was impossible for more than a handful of guys to work out at the on-site gym at the same time. This would discourage guys from sticking around after practice and hanging out at the facility with their teammates.
Improvements will also be made to the locker room, which finally got a paint job during the off-season.
Not only will be Parc olympique have a regular tenant, they’ll also benefit from hosting one Alouettes home games during the upcoming seasons.
The team used to play their playoff games at the Olympic Stadium, but that’s changed over the last few years. They’ve also held “Fan Appreciation Day” (final home game of the regular season) there.
The Alouettes have also struck a deal with the Montreal Impact (the city’s Major League Soccer team) that would allow them to use the outdoor turf field between Olympic Stadium and Saputo Stadium (where the Impact play their home games).
As recently as last season, the players and coaches were forced to take a 25-minute school bus ride to practice every day. That would cut into their practice time in a significant way over the last couple of years.
Practicing at Olympic Stadium will easily save them an hour of practice time every day. How many more games will that help them win? I have no idea. But getting that time back definitely can’t hurt their chances.
It’s not a new training facility, but all-in-all this is great news for the Alouettes and their players.
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