It wasn’t a huge secret, but now it’s official.
The AFL’s Fort McMurray Monarchs will call the SMS Equipment Field at Shell Place home for the 2016 season. The team makes the move after calling the Holy Trinity Catholic School field home last season.
“It’s great for our program, great for the community,” said Team President Jesse Maddox. “The few games that we did have [at Shell Place] last year made them realize we could do well here.”
The Monarchs will play at least 5 games at the stadium from May 28 – August 7. After that, there’s the potential for a lot more games. It’s Alberta’s turn to host the national championships, meaning that if Fort McMurray can claim the league title they’ll host the country’s best teams.
Given that they finished second in the league in 2015, losing only to the league-champion Calgary Gators, there’s a good chance of getting there. Maddox said most of last year’s team will be returning, and they’re committed to giving it their all.
“We’re ranked third in the country right now,” he said, adding that they’ve only lost three roster players from 2015. “Things are looking good for us. I don’t want to jump the gun, but I mean our goal every year is to win it.”
Maddox said the team averaged an attendance of 500-600 in the games they played at Shell Place last season, but RRC Chair Annette Antoniak thinks with Shell Place’s resources behind the team, they can improve those numbers.
“We’re doing a lot of different promotions with the Monarchs to try and get families out,” she said. “The pricing is at a level that the whole family can come and enjoy it.”
You can purchase tickets to the Monarchs’ home games here.