TORONTO -- Barely two weeks before the first shovel is set to break ground at the University of Toronto, a war is raging over the future of the downtown schools back campus field. And the result of a city council vote Tuesday to declare the field a heritage site could send Toronto Pan Am Games organizers scrambling to come up with a Plan B. "We were absolutely blindsided by this," said Ian Troop, president and CEO of TO2015. "Were hopeful that cooler heads and reason will prevail at the council meeting." The university was scheduled to break ground July 1 on its $9.5 million Pan Am Games project for field hockey and para soccer that would see the grass replaced with a hybrid artificial turf. One the one side are those who are argue about the lack of decent fields in Ontario, and the need to upgrade a patch of grass that has long been deemed unusable for good chunks of the year. On the other: those who worry about environment sustainability, heritage and history issues, and access to the field. Even Margaret Atwood has waded into the fray. The Canadian literary icon, and U of T alumnus, posted on Twitter last week: "So, (at)UofTNews: as a soon-to-be dead alum w. $ to leave, am I annoyed by the anti-green plan? Y!" Suzanne Akbari, a professor of English and medieval studies, said 31 of 34 members of the University College Council voted in opposition to the Pan Am plans when they first learned of them last fall. "This is not about being obstructionist," Akbari said. "This is not about trying to tear things down, interrupt planning. Its trying to make sure we have a situation that were all happy with, where Pan Am is being accommodated, the athletes are having a great experience, and the students that use that space, not just todays students but future generations of students, get to have it as a legacy for them as well." Akbari, an administrator for the "Keep the University of Toronto Back Campus Green" facebook and Twitter accounts, said two large U of T student groups -- the Arts and Science Student Union, and Graduate Student Union -- have been vocal in their opposition. Coun. Adam Vaughan will present a petition with about 5,200 names opposing the plan to city council on Tuesday. Scott Sandison, an Olympian in field hockey, is circulating his own petition in support of a facility he said will help meet a "massive need in this city." The Toronto native, who competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics plus two Pan Am Games and has 178 caps for Canada, said he was forced to move to Vancouver to pursue playing on the national team because of the lack of decent facilities in Ontario. "Theres no support," Sandison said. "I remember when I was a kid starting to play in Toronto, and wed go to tournaments and thered be 15 or 20 fields just packed playing over an entire weekend. Now, every year theres less kids, theres less teams playing because we dont have a facility. "Theres an interest out there, its just trying to tap into that so we can get the sport going again because its really struggling." A new field hockey facility in Brampton is the only one of its kind in Ontario. Sandison works for Right to Play -- a global organization with a mission of creating a healthy and safe world through sport and play. In a letter to Vaughan, Sandison wrote: "We currently work with over 1,000,000 children on a weekly basis teaching children life saving messages through sport and play. These positive community values extend across language, boundaries and culture. "This, in my opinion, is one of the best things about sport, and I really hope that our community will realize the opportunity that this artificial surface will provide." Bruce Kidd, a U of T professor and Olympian in track and field, said there have been plans to upgrade the back campus field for 20 years. Ontario University Athletics has banned what Kidd called a "mud bath" for intercollegiate competition because its too dangerous. To keep the grass in proper playing condition would mean keeping people off it most of the time, he said. One major rainfall coupled with a rugby or soccer game could make it unplayable for weeks. "The overuse and the weather has made it harder and harder to use for its original intention which was a playing field," Kidd said. Kidd said the facility would be an elite field hockey development hub for eastern Canada, but would also solve a problem for university intramurals. "There are huge waiting lists for intramural teams in the field sports," Kidd said. "And as a general rule, participation increases three times with turf. Thats the experience of the university on the new Varsity Field, thats the experience of the City of Toronto and its fields, thats the experience of the school board. "The city itself is turfing grass fields, the school board is turfing grass fields, private schools like Upper Canada College and St. Mikes are turfing those fields, and to the best of my knowledge theres never been any controversy about their fields." Akbari said if the aim is a high performance sport facility, a better solution would be to build on the existing facility in Brampton. She planned to propose that to Bal Gosal, Canadas Minister of State for Sport, in a preliminary phone meeting Monday. Kidd argued there are too few fields for a city the size of Toronto. "Sadly Toronto is way behind the rest of the country. Its an unhealthy city. A generation ago it was one of the best," he said. "But weve fallen so far behind other Canadian cities." Akbari argued students wont be given access to the fields after the Games, and cites documentation from FIH -- the world governing body for field hockey -- that says pitches cannot be kept at international standards for field hockey if theyre used for other sports as well. According to Sandison, those international standards only apply to stadiums hosting major events such as a World Cup or Olympics. cheap jerseys china
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. Earlier, Udinese picked up a valuable 2-1 win at fellow struggler Livorno in the final round of Italian league fixtures before the winter break. Napoli was brimming with confidence after beating Inter Milan 4-2, but it was Cagliari which started the brighter and the Sardinian side took the lead in the ninth minute. NEW ORLEANS -- For Greg Oden and his Miami Heat teammates, four minutes on an NBA court in a preseason game was cause for celebration. "Its been a long time and Ive been wanting to get out there," Oden said after his preseason debut in Miamis 108-95 victory at New Orleans on Wednesday night. "It was only a couple minutes, but it was what I needed, what I can handle right now and, you know, small baby steps." Oden is attempting to come back from knee injuries that have plagued him since he was drafted first overall out of Ohio State in 2007. The last time he played in an NBA game was on Dec. 5, 2009, for the Portland Trail Blazers. Not long after he came in against the Pelicans, he scored his only points of the night on a dunk, which was also his only shot. He also grabbed a pair of defensive rebounds. "It was a very special moment," LeBron James said of Odens appearance. "I have no idea what my feeling would be like, being away from the game for three years. It was like a proud moment, man. I was so excited for him when he got on the court and he checked in -- and his first basket he gets a dunk. Can you write it any better? Obviously hes not where he wants to be, but the process is going great. "I can just imagine how excited he was to get back out there," James continued. "Im going to have to take a toast for him, man. I aint no drinker, but I might have to take a shot for him. It was an absolutely great moment." Miami is a team used tto celebrating NBA championships after winning the past two.dddddddddddd Oden was gratified to see how much it also meant to the Heat to see him show the first small sign of a successful return to the game he loves, and missed. "In December it would be four years, so four minutes, thats enough for me," Oden said. "As long as I got out there and I walked off and Im healthy, thats all that matters. "I know the guys were happy for me," Oden added. "I definitely felt love. And Im excited that they were there for me." Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said Odens face "lit up" when he told him he was going to put him in the game. "We are just so pleased for him," Spoelstra said. "It was just great to see him do something he loves to do. It was taken away from him for four years. We just continue to make patient, steady progress forward from here." James scored 27 points and Dwyane Wade added 25 for the Heat, who trailed after three quarters but opened the fourth with a 21-2 run. Wade hit a 3 during the decisive surge, then stole the ball for a breakaway jam. Ray Allen did all his scoring with three straight 3s to make it 98-84. Chris Bosh had 14 points and nine rebounds for Miami (5-2), and Chris Andersen added 13 points. Eric Gordon scored 19 for New Orleans (6-1), while Anthony Davis had 18 points and eight rebounds. Anthony Morrow added 16 points, Jrue Holiday 12 and Ryan Anderson 10. ' ' '