The Pulse: July 10, 2024

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  • 36°C: Sunny in the morning and early in the afternoon then a mix of sun and cloud with 30% chance of showers late in the afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm late in the afternoon. High 36. Humidex 38. UV index 7 or high. (forecast)
  • Blue/Gold: The High Level Bridge will be lit blue and gold for Bahamas Independence Day. (details)

Two people stand behind a podium with three banners behind them.

What the puck is Hockeyology?

By Colin Gallant

Edmonton Edge Fund-recipient ZerOne is opening a new centre for hockey performance and sports medicine at West Edmonton Mall that includes something called Hockeyology.

The 26,000-square-foot space will host Hockeyology, which will be an athletic performance centre focused on student hockey players, as well as Athleticare, a clinic that will offer medical and wellness services for young athletes. The space cost more than $9 million and is located near entrances 31 and 32 at the mall. (ZerOne is pronounced "Zero One" and comes from the book Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters.)

"We've been working on partnerships over the last 12 to 24 months, really building out everything from corporate partnerships to linkages with the university," co-founder and CEO Dave Muddle, whose fellow co-founder is David Cooper, a retired hockey pro, told Taproot. "When the facility itself opens, though, that'll really be our introduction to the marketplace."

ZerOne is aiming for a grand opening in August.

That "linkage" is a partnership with the University of Alberta that's supported by $100,000 from the Edmonton Edge Fund. Specifically, the partnership is with a U of A spin-off company called Gaze and Movement Analysis led by Craig Chapman, an associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation. The company uses video tech such as motion capture, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to measure a hockey player's performance and build insights about training and progress.

"This really brings us to the forefront of bio-kinetic measurement, being able to visualize the way the body is moving through certain kinds of movements that we can record and analyze," Muddle said. "The whole place is embedded with lots of technology and integration. Elegant user experience is sort of our big, hairy, audacious goal."

The centre's non-performance related amenities include a media centre for producing audio and video content, a retail space, and skate sharpening and alignment services. As for tech-enabled training, there are two mini-rinks and a dry-land training area and a gym with the capacity for functional movement exercises. The crown jewels may be the smart skatemills (similar to treadmills but for skating) with built-in video capability that will help Chapman's team produce analysis.

"We're working with the Gaze and Movement Analysis folks to really dig deep into data analysis, and to be able to create really, really cool products and services for our members that will enhance their learning and their development process," Muddle said.

One such product is a custom report with visualizations and recommendations for specific areas where players can improve — plus input on how to do so. ZerOne plans to monetize this and other Hockeyology services through subscription packages that are similar to gym memberships, and in custom packages based on the needs of specific hockey teams. All paid access will include a baseline assessment of a player's skill level within different aspects of performance. ZerOne also plans to deliver the training its assessments suggest on-site, though perhaps not by opening day.

While Athelticare is its own division, housed on the upper level of the facility, it can work in tandem with Hockeyology. It's mainly targeted to be a musculoskeletal injury clinic that lasts less than eight weeks that can help athletes return to play, but there is a suite of other services, too, Muddle said. Family physicians and pediatricians with a sports medicine specialty will operate there, and doctors will work occasional shifts.

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Headlines: July 10, 2024

By Mariam Ibrahim

  • The eastbound lanes of 23 Avenue over Calgary Trail and Gateway Boulevard will be closed for pavement repairs from 7pm on July 12 through July 14. Drivers should plan for extra travel time and consider alternate routes like Parsons Road, 34 Avenue, and Ellerslie Road. The Edmonton Police Service will assist with traffic control.
  • Edmonton's Paths for People is relaunching a 2019 initiative to identify and address missing links in the city's sidewalk network in an effort to improve accessibility and safety for residents, especially those with disabilities. The City of Edmonton has already used data from the group's initial survey to build about five kilometres of new sidewalks, and has plans to add another seven kilometres in the next two years.
  • The City of Edmonton launched its new Industrial Investment Action Plan to attract investment, diversify the economy, and increase the industrial tax base. The plan includes nine key actions aimed at promoting industrial advantages, improving business processes, and collaborating with Indigenous and equity-deserving communities. Administration will outline an implementation plan to city council in early 2025.
  • The heat wave in Western Canada is exacerbating the wildfire risk in northern Alberta, with extreme temperatures and out-of-control fires prompting warnings, particularly in the Fort McMurray area. Cenovus Energy has "demobilized" some staff at its Sunrise oilsands project, though operations remain unaffected. Firefighters were battling 39 wildfires as of July 9, including the 19,000-hectare Semo complex fire, with significant resources deployed to manage the situation.
  • The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has released new details about a fatal police shooting in northeast Edmonton on June 29. The incident began with a 911 call about a vehicle rollover, leading to a search for the driver, who was later shot by an Edmonton Police Service officer. The police oversight agency is investigating police use of force and has asked for witnesses to come forward.
  • Edmonton-area swimmers Reid Maxwell and Emma Finlin are set to compete in the 2024 Summer Paralympics and Olympics in Paris. Maxwell, 16, will participate in the Paralympics, while Finlin, 19, will represent Canada in the women's 10-kilometre open water swimming event at the Olympics. "It's always been a lifelong dream to make the team," said Maxwell.
  • No injuries were reported after a Bell 212 helicopter and a Cessna 172 plane collided midair northwest of Edmonton near Villeneuve Airport the morning of July 9. Both aircraft managed to land safely. The Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
  • Maclean's Magazine published a first-person article about why Sean Murphy and his family moved from Edmonton to Mexico during the pandemic. Murphy said that they left because of pandemic restrictions and the high cost of living in Canada. The family found a more affordable and less restrictive environment in Bucerias, Mexico, where the cost of living was lower. "Our lifestyle is unconventional, but it works—as of now, we have no plans to leave Mexico," he said.
A newspaper clipping with a headline that reads, "Stadium turf damage probed"

A moment in history: July 10, 1971

By Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1971, the City of Edmonton was investigating the torn-up turf at Clarke Stadium.

The turf in question was about a month old, according to the then-head of the city's park department. A combination of rainy weather and a Friday football game had led to the chewed-up field.

Clarke Stadium has hosted football games in Edmonton for nearly a century. Edmonton Mayor Joseph Clarke championed the field during his second term in the mid-1930s. Clarke was a friend of then-Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, and was able to get the federal government to lease the city a section of land in east Edmonton for a new football stadium. In addition to being mayor, Clarke was an accomplished athlete who played both football and lacrosse, which partially led to his nickname of Fightin' Joe (though the fact that he once got in a wild punch-up during a city council meeting might have also been a factor.)

Once built, Clarke Stadium became the home field for the Edmonton Elks, under the team's former name. The team was part of the newly-formed Western Interprovincial Football Union, where they played against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Calgary Bronks, and the Regina Roughriders. But that arrangement didn't last long: Edmonton only played two seasons before pulling out of the league due to the Second World War.

Edmonton rejoined the union in 1949 and remained when it became part of the Canadian Football League. The team continued to play out of Clarke Stadium for the next three decades. When Edmonton was selected to host the 1978 Commonwealth Games, the stadium was originally set to be one of the facilities to host events. However, it quickly became apparent that Clarke wasn't going to fit the expected crowds. So, construction began on Commonwealth Stadium directly beside Clarke. After the Commonwealth Games, Edmonton's football team moved next door to the brand-new facility, although it continued to use Clarke as a practice field.

Football wasn't the only game in town. The Edmonton Drillers soccer team originally played out of Commonwealth after the team was formed in 1979. But after a couple of seasons, they moved into the smaller Clarke Stadium until the team folded in 1982. The 1980s saw two other short-lived soccer teams play at Clarke — the Edmonton Eagles and the Edmonton Brick Men.

By the turn of the century, Clarke was showing its age. In 2000, a major renovation updated seating and modernized many of the facilities.

FC Edmonton started playing out of Clarke during their second season in 2012. The team's ownership pushed for another major renovation of the stadium in 2018, arguing that the current facility was inadequate and outdated as the team was preparing to join the Canadian Premier League. The request started a bit of a turf war with the professional and high school football teams that used Clarke. In the end, while some changes were made, the plan for a major rehaul of Clarke was abandoned. FC Edmonton suspended its 2023 season due to low attendance numbers and hasn't returned to the stadium.

While it's shadowed by its much larger neighbour, Clarke Stadium is still a hub for outdoor sports in Edmonton. It still serves as the practice grounds for the Edmonton Elks and is used by junior football teams and for high school matches, as well as by MacEwan University. Two weeks ago, Clarke Stadium and Commonwealth Stadium hosted teams from all over the world for the IFAF World Junior Football Championships, which saw Canada hold on to its top spot for a third year with a final win over Japan.

This clipping was found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse of @VintageEdmonton.

A title card that reads Taproot Edmonton Calendar:

Happenings: July 10, 2024

By Debbi Serafinchon

Here are some events happening today in the Edmonton area.

And here are some upcoming events to keep in mind:

Visit the beta version of the Taproot Edmonton Calendar for many more events in the Edmonton region.