Gearing Up For “Games Time” - Wood Buffalo Region to Host 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games
The Wood Buffalo Region is getting ready to welcome over 2,800 athletes, coaches and officials for the 2018 Alberta Winter Games. From February 16 - 18, 2018, athletes will compete in 22 different sporting events across 10 venues and three communities in the Region.
“The last Alberta Winter Games hosted in Fort McMurray was in 1992 and we are excited to partner with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Alberta Sport Connection to bring the Winter Games back the Region, highlight the area and cheer on our athletes,” says Michelle Toner, 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games General Manager.
“We are putting forward an effort to engage all communities across our region and involve them as much as possible – I am happy to say we will be engaging our rural communities to host sporting events and provide our visitors with a cultural experience.”
Athletes between the ages of 11 and 17 will take over the community to compete at the Provincial level. Both the Catholic and Public School Boards in the region joined the Games team to enhance the athlete experience by offering schools to act as accommodations for visiting athletes.
“We are excited to have both School Boards’ support, committing to providing accommodations for the athletes within the schools,” says Michelle Toner. “This is a prime example of the community involvement we need to make the Games possible. The more partnerships we make, the more successful we will be as a host community.”
The logistics surrounding the Games are far reaching. Transportation, meals, accommodations, sport schedules, and ceremonies all require complete event plans and full logistics evaluations, to make sure the event runs smoothly. These pieces all plays a role in the 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games Host Society’s vision of sharing the energy of our great northern community, while creating a memorable experience and a sense of accomplishment for local and visiting participants.
Michelle explains: “With an athlete focus in mind, we will celebrate their success and ensure they have an amazing Games experience. It’s a lot of work we have ahead of us, however, we keep the athletes at the forefront of everything we do and move forward with the goal to of creating an unforgettable lifelong memory.
The mission of the Host Society is to enrich the lives of the athletes, participants and volunteers by promoting personal excellence and by creating a legacy within the Wood Buffalo region. The Alberta Winter Games acts as a stepping stone for athletes. Since the first Alberta Winter Games in Banff in 1976, more than 40 athletes who have participated in Alberta Sport Connection’s Alberta Winter Games have gone on to represent Canada at the Olympics.
Venues & Sports
From Anzac to Fort McKay, from fencing to synchronized swimming, here is the list of venues and sports each will host for the upcoming 2018 Wood Buffalo Alberta Winter Games.
- Vista Ridge - Alpine Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, and Snowboarding
- Birchwood Trails - Cross Country Skiing
- Westwood High School - Boxing
- Holy Trinity High School - Fencing
- Anzac Recreation Centre - Badminton and Ringette
- Frank Lacroix Arena - Figure Skating and Ringette
- Casman Centre - Hockey (Women’s)
- Fort McKay Community Arena - Speed Skating
- Syncrude Sport and Wellness Centre - Volleyball (Men’s & Women’s) and Wrestling
- MacDonald Island Park - Archery, Artistic Gymnastics, Curling, Hockey (Men’s), Judo, Squash, and Synchronized Swimming
- Fort McMurray Shooting Range - Biathlon
Residents are welcome to attend the sport competitions in their local area, but are encouraged to find the sport that interests them most and head out to cheer the athletes on.
Community volunteers will be essential for the success of these Games. Stay tuned, volunteer recruitment will begin in the Fall. Follow the Games on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @2018WoodBuffalo.
Photos provided by Alberta Sports Connection