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For Immediate Release


July 7, 2008

Office of the Premier


University of British Columbia




VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and the University of British Columbia (UBC), in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia, announced today that UBC Thunderbird Arena is the first indoor competition venue in the Host Region to complete construction. VANOC also formally launched the Vancouver 2010 Venues’ Aboriginal Art Program, designed to celebrate the spirit of the nation by promoting understanding of the rich cultures and traditions of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada.


Construction on the UBC Thunderbird Arena began in April 2006, and involved refurbishing the Father Bauer Arena, built in 1963, and the construction of two new rinks: a practice rink and a 7,500-seat competition arena. Construction was completed on budget at $47 million, $37 million of which was contributed by VANOC, $9 million by UBC and $1 million by RONA (a VANOC Official Sponsor), four months ahead of its originally scheduled completion date of November 2008.


“The Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games are leaving a lasting legacy of world-class sporting venues, generating new economic opportunities and promoting active living and sporting excellence for generations to come,” said Premier Gordon Campbell. “Through the new venues’ Aboriginal Art Program, we can showcase B.C.’s strong Aboriginal arts community to the world, and share the richness and diversity of our province’s cultural heritage with millions of people.”


“This beautiful new venue builds on a proud UBC and Vancouver Olympic hockey legacy,” said Professor Stephen J. Toope, president and vice-chancellor of UBC. “It was here in 1963 that Father David Bauer founded Canada’s first national Olympic hockey team with a nucleus of UBC players. I take pleasure in knowing that this will be a wonderful home for a new generation of competitive and recreational athletes – an exceptional facility for UBC athletes and for the entire community to use and enjoy.”


The venue will host the men’s and women’s ice hockey, as well as the men’s ice sledge hockey competitions during the 2010 Winter Games. Prior to the Games, the facility will be home to the UBC Thunderbirds’ varsity hockey program, student and staff programs, and community programs. The community can use the venue for over 230 hours a week for hockey leagues, high school rentals, drop-in programs and other events. Hockey Canada will also use the facility as a pre- and post-Games training and event-hosting venue. Following the Games, the venue will become a recreational and high-performance, multi-sport legacy facility, easily convertible for ice sledge hockey training and competitions. The arena can also be converted to a concert venue.


“The Government of Canada is proud to play a key part in the success of the 2010 Winter Games and the development of world-class facilities such as the UBC Thunderbird Arena,” said James Moore, Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific Gateway) (2010 Olympics) (Official Languages). “This venue will serve not only as a top-notch venue for our Olympic and Paralympic athletes, but also as a lasting legacy for the community. Athletes and local residents will be able to use the arena for years to come.”


UBC Thunderbird Arena was developed by UBC Properties Trust and built by Bird Construction. The arena was designed to be highly accessible for athletes and spectators with a disability, and was designed with careful attention to sustainability and energy conservation. Built to be equivalent to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System) silver certification, highlights of the venue’s environmentally friendly design include the use of an Eco-Chill system (which recycles waste energy used to maintain the ice to heat the building) and the use of energy-efficient lighting. The facility is also close to transit services.




In addition to opening the arena, VANOC today launched the Vancouver 2010 Venues’ Aboriginal Art Program. The program will span all 15 Olympic and Paralympic venues and will emphasize B.C. and Canada’s leadership in respecting the traditional cultural histories of its Indigenous peoples. The program provides a platform for Aboriginal artists in Canada (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) to participate in the 2010 Winter Games. The program – an element of VANOC’s commitment to unprecedented Aboriginal participation in the 2010 Winter Games – was part of B.C. and Canada’s initiative to respect and celebrate the diverse cultures of Aboriginal peoples.


“Aboriginal history, arts and culture is an important part of Canada’s history,” said John Furlong, VANOC chief executive officer. “This program provides a unique landscape for talented Aboriginal artists to participate in the 2010 Winter Games and an opportunity to showcase to the world the rich artistic tapestry of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. This will be an extraordinary way of telling our nation’s story.”


“As Official Partners in the Games, the Four Host First Nations are honoured to be a part of this exciting program that will showcase the best Aboriginal artists from across Canada in the Olympic and Paralympic venues,” said Tewanee Joseph, chief executive officer and executive director, Four Host First Nations Secretariat. “Our culture is thriving and we want to share it with the world.”


The world-class Aboriginal artistic talent showcased by this program will highlight the cultural spirit of the Vancouver 2010 experience for millions of people worldwide and will continue to inspire people well after the Games. In addition to the designs at the Richmond Oval by internationally acclaimed Musqueam artist Susan Point, UBC Thunderbird Arena will be one of the first venues to host Aboriginal art under this initiative. The program will showcase art from various sources, including Four Host First Nations “welcome” works of art, women’s traditional art, works from established Canadian Aboriginal artists and art from Aboriginal youth programs.


VANOC is seeking additional Aboriginal artists to embrace this exciting opportunity through a request for expression of interest (RFEOI) posted at until Aug. 15, 2008, Successful respondents will progress to the second stage of the process where they will submit designs requested through a request for proposal (RFP) process. The designs should embrace Vancouver 2010 values, the venue’s character and the pride of being Canadian.




VANOC’s government partners provide funding, infrastructure, essential service support and management services to the 2010 Winter Games, which will contribute to lasting economic, sport, cultural and social legacies. VANOC’s government partners include the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver and the Resort Municipality of Whistler. To date, members of VANOC’s Contributing Province/Territory Program include Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario. VANOC’s Venue Cities are Richmond, Surrey and the District of West Vancouver. VANOC has also signed memoranda of understanding with each Canadian province and territory.


VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from Feb. 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit


About UBC


The University of British Columbia is consistently ranked among the world’s 40 best universities, and is one of Canada's largest and most prestigious public research and teaching institutions. Celebrating its centenary in 2008, UBC is a global centre of research and learning located in the Pacific Rim gateway of Vancouver, and in the Interior city of Kelowna. It offers more than 45,000 students a range of innovative undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in the arts, sciences, medicine, law, commerce and other faculties. It also boasts Canada’s largest intramural and recreation program and the most successful varsity sport program among Canada’s 52 participating universities.


UBC athletes have participated in the Olympic Games since the 1928 Games in Amsterdam. At least 215 athletes, coaches and support staff from UBC have participated in the Olympic Games. At least 25 athletes, coaches and support staff from UBC have participated in the Paralympic Games. Visit:




For more information, please contact:



Jason Macnaughton

Vancouver 2010

778 328-6734


Province of British Columbia

Bridgitte Anderson

Press Secretary

Office of the Premier

604 307-7177


Randy Schmidt

University of British Columbia

604 822-1266


Government of Canada

Donald Boulanger

Manager, Media relations

Canadian Heritage

819 997-9314





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