SportsPlex pushes Windsor sports tourism to its limit
By Jared Berg
With the recent addition of a sports tourism officer , as well as the SportsPlex located at the St. Clair College main campus, Windsor has been establishing itself as a premiere sports tourism location.
The state-of-the-art facility has been host to multiple tournaments since its construction just over three years ago. It has not only helped college students live healthier lifestyles, but has helped Windsor become a major sports city with athletes coming from around the world to compete.
The SportsPlex was built in 2013 and is home to multiple athletic activities for St. Clair students. The facility’s main attractions are its fitness centre and gymnasium, but it also has classrooms for courses that require the SportsPlex’s resources.
Christina Gatto, the director of recreational services at the college, said the SportsPlex plays a major role in decision making when students are choosing a school.
“Specifically for student athletes, it may make them decide to actually come to this college,” Gatto said. “They may see the facilities and go ‘Wow, this is where I want to train, this is where I want to play.’”
The relationship the SportsPlex has with the city is essential according to its students and faculty. It plays host for multiple sporting events, which benefits both the college and the city of Windsor.
Kevin Corriveau, the head coach for the college’s golf team, said the facility’s existence helps the city in multiple ways.
“Having a complex like this available to the community for additional events has proven worthwhile for the college from a marketing perspective,” Corriveau said. “We have the ability to allow and host not just events in Windsor-Essex, but also the opportunity to bring people in from across the country for national events.”
Sports tourism has become more important in Windsor, which is why the city hired Sports Tourism Officer Samantha Magalas. She said the SportsPlex is one of the most essential parts of Windsor’s sports tourism.
“It’s a gorgeous facility,” said Magalas. “I’ve met and worked with the staff at St. Clair and we were able to bring in the Juel Basketball Championship. Part of that was the draw of how nice the SportsPlex is and being able to play there.”
Even though the SportsPlex was constructed for the college and its students, it is used for multiple outside events. This includes a national basketball championship and two provincial volleyball championships. According to Magalas, sports tourism is important for the city’s economy.
“We know that sports tourism is having a huge economic impact,” Magalas said. “ When people are here, we want them to experience the city. They might come for sport, but we want them to experience other things while they’re here as well.”
While sports tourism continues to grow in Windsor, so will the facilities and level of competition that gets brought in. The SportsPlex will continue to be essential for St. Clair College students, while also being a hotspot for athletes across Canada, which will help elevate Windsor’s sports tourism industry to new heights.