It was an exciting three weeks in Prince George at the 2015 Canada Winter Games and it is hard to believe the event has come and gone. The weather was beautiful, venues were world class, and more than 4,500 volunteers didn’t stop smiling. The over 2,400 athletes in attendance were inspiring and in turn inspired our community of sport, which embraced the Games more than ever before. In order to best illuminate the experience we shared on the ground in Prince George, we would like to light three commemorative torches in appreciation of those who we have deemed the most impactful difference makers of the Canada Winter Games. Drum roll please…
1. OUR CANADA GAMES FAMILY: SPONSORS THAT ILLUMINATED THE GAMES EXPERIENCE
In a previous post, I showcased social media activations that were led by Canada Games National partners. From start to finish, the impact Canada Games National partners had on the 2015 Games experience for athletes, coaches, fans and the community was tangible, engaging and memorable – earning them the first star. Their commitment to excellence, whether it was through onsite activation or through social media, elevated the potential of community, culture and sport for all Canadians, engaging them to speak up and reach out! Further, we concluded that they too unequivocally love the Games we hold so dear. A clear demonstration of truly meaningful partnerships.
2. TEAM ALBERTA MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM
The second star of the Games has to go to Team Alberta’s men’s hockey team for their performance in the men’s Gold Medal Hockey Game. This was the marquee event at the 2015 Games. Both competing squads, Ontario and Alberta, showcased such a high calibre of skill and sportsmanship. It was an incredibly tight game and both teams played an amazing brand of hard-working hockey. However, try as they might, Alberta could not get a puck in the net. After rising to the top of their province and qualifying through a hard-fought seven-game tournament against the best of the nation, they combatted Ontario in wave after wave of determined offensive play. Still no goal. But they didn’t give up.
At 1 – 0 for Ontario they played harder and carried the play, at 2 – 0 for Ontario they kept their heads in the game and pilled on the pressure and after giving up an empty-net goal to go down 3 – 0 they refused to let up. They played every last second and with 3.8 seconds left in the biggest game of their young careers, consequently managing an important victory. A well-earned and well-deserved goal to go with their silver medal. They never once, not for a second, gave in. Witnessing this raw determination in front of a packed house at the CN Centre, was an inspiring reminder of why sport is so instrumental to the fabric of Canada. This is a resounding reminder of how the Canada Games experience impacts the development of these players, both on and off the ice. Click here to watch the webcast of the 2015 Canada Winter Games Gold Medal hockey game and see for yourself.
3. PIN HEADS GALORE
Our third star goes out to the pin traders (aka. “Pin Heads). Pin trading is not an uncommon occurrence at multi-sport Games and has been a long time staple in both the Olympic Movement and the Canada Games Movement for decades. The 2015 Canada Winter Games embraced this tradition, from sponsors, to athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers, Prince George was buzzing with the spirit of pin trading and what a powerful impact it had on fostering a feeling of community amongst all those involved.
Though we might poke a bit of fun, pin trading connects all those involved and in turn they receive a take-home reminder of what came to be in Prince George, a city that will be forever bound to the Canada Games.
The 2015 Canada Winter Games proved to be an exceptional showcase of the power of amateur sport in this country and what can be achieved when the Canadian government, corporate Canada, the sport community and young aspiring athletes from coast to coast come together. It truly was 18 days of Unity through Sport and so much more.
The Canada Games flag now has been passed over to the founding host city of the Canada Games Movement: Quebec City. Winnipeg, Manitoba is gearing up to play host to the biggest celebration in Canada Games and Canadian history – the joint celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Canada Games Movement, in conjunction with Canada’s 150th Centennial. The sport community will unite once again, athletes from over 800 Canadian communities will compete and invested National sponsors will provide their unwavering support of the Canada Games. See you there!