An official send-off for locals headed to the Canada Winter Games showed that Kamloops is proud of its athletes, coaches and officials -- and that Kamloops has a lot of which to be proud. Carolynn Boomer, general manager of PacificSport, kicked off the celebration, held in the lobby of the Tournament Capital Centre.
Present were 12 of the 15 Kamloopsians who will head to Halifax this week for the Canada Winter Games, which start Friday. Boomer, who helped introduce the athletes and brought on speeches by Mayor Peter Milobar and MLAs Terry Lake and Kevin Krueger, was pleased to show off a strong Kamloops contingent. "The contingent is larger than the one that went to Yukon (in 2007)," Boomer said. "I think it was five that went up there, so when you're looking at a contingent of 15 . . . it bodes well for what we're doing. "It's wonderful to see such a good turnout."
Kamloops will send nine athletes, four coaches, an official and a member of Team B.C.'s mission staff to the Games, which are held every four years. Chase's Jamie Inglis, a speed skater with the Kamloops Long Blades, also will compete at Halifax.
Curlers Corryn Brown, Samantha Fisher, Sydney Fraser and Erin Pincott will wear Team B.C.'s colours, and Corryn's father, Ken, is the rink's coach.
Scott Nabata will represent Kamloops in artistic gymnastics, while Aimee Debert and Patrick Webber will compete in the target shooting. Pat Landals will coach the shooters, and Greg Hermiston and Chris Wagner will work with the women's under-18 hockey team -- Hermiston as head coach, and Wagner as a video coach.
Sisters Josie and Tori Spence, both of the River City Racers speed skating club, qualified for the games but missed out on the send off because Tori was competing at a World Cup event in Milwaukee on the weekend.
Dave Freeze will work on Team B.C.'s mission staff, and Kayla Keeping will serve as an on-ice official for the women's hockey competition.
Nabata is no stranger to big competitions, but he has never competed as far away as Halifax.
Nabata, 15, finished third in the all-around tyro event at the Canadian gymnastics championships at the TCC in May. That experience should help, said the KATTS gymnast, who booked his ticket to the games by finishing in the top-seven after two qualifier meets. "Last year (at nationals), it was a really relaxed competition, and I did well," he said. "I'm hoping that this one will be relaxed again, and I also hope I do well."
Krueger told the 50 or so folks who came to cheer on the local representatives that he would like to see the athletes "own the podium," a catchphrase used leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Boomer said she is hoping to see the same thing. "We always are trying to have podium performances," she said. "Canada, the whole aura now is that we don't want to just go anymore, we want to be the best we can be. "That is what it's about."
Courtesy: The Kamloops Daily News