A dozen Prince George athletes and five coaches or managers will be attending the games, which run Feb. 11 to Feb. 27. In addition, more than 15 delegates from the 2015 Canada Winter Games Host Society and transition team will be attending the games as observers and to meet with organizers in Halifax.
Prior to leaving for Halifax, members of Team B.C. took part in "Hands Across The Country." Team members collected donations of mittens, gloves, hats and warm clothing, which will be distributed in B.C. and Halifax.
In Prince George, the donations will be distributed by the Prince George M?tis Community Association.
"This is a great example... of building and strengthening community," Prince George Mayor Dan Rogers said. "It's a great way for us to celebrate Team B.C."
Prince George athletes competing in the games include wheelchair basketball player Avril Harris; long-track speed skaters Sarah Pousette and Philip Shrimpton; short-track speed skater Tim Hempsall; alpine skier Alix Wells; hockey player Josh Connelly; cross-country skier Matt Neumann; judoka Kate Kilpovi; and biathletes Sarah Beaudry, Arthur Roots, Robbie Martin and Aaron Newmann.
Harris, 20, said it will be his second Canada Winter Games. "I went to the last Canada games in Whitehorse in 2007," Harris said. "It's still going to be a really great experience." Harris, who is not wheelchair-bound, said he started playing the sport when he was eight years old. "My dad is in a wheelchair and started a club here in Prince George," he said. "I've just always been around it."
Martin, 18, has been stepping up his training regimen to be ready for his first shot at the Canada Games.
"I've been putting in a lot of hard work. I did a lot of summer training," he said. "I'm really looking forward to the experience."
Martin started as a cross-country skier and was recruited to try his hand at biathlon.
"I started four years and just stuck with it since."
Burns Lake biathlete Alexandra 'Allie' Dickson, 19, has been training six days a week while attending classes at UNBC to earn her Bachelor's degree in science. Dickson said she's excited to be part of the biathlon team being developed in Prince George. Prince George coach Pierre Beaudry will be the biathlon team manager in Halifax.
Other coaches attending the games include judo coaches Bruce Kamstra and Aline Strasdin; boys under-16 hockey coach Brent Arsenault; and badminton team manager Lisa Davison.
Davison said attending the games will give her a great opportunity to observe what works in Halifax. She plans on taking a leadership role in the organization of badminton for the 2015 games in Prince George.
"I'll be pushing and doing anything to really acquaint myself on how things operate," Davison said. "I couldn't ask for a better scenario." In addition, Davison will be coordinating the team logistics and acting as an extra set of eyes and ears for the coaches. "At the games my role is a little bit of the mother hen - looking for injuries, making sure the players are healthy," she said. "But I'll be watching the other teams as well."
Updates and medal standings from the games are available online at www.teambc.org
Courtesy: Prince George Free Press