Local athletes set to compete at Sask Winter Games Several local Southwest athletes will be among those participating in the 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games which will take place February 16-22, 2014 in Prince Albert.
Approximately 1700 athletes, coaches, managers and district team mission staff will represent nine districts in 16 sports during the week long event. The Saskatchewan Games are the largest multi-sport event in the province, drawing young people from all corners of Saskatchewan. The Games were first held in Moose Jaw in 1972 and have been a strong developmental force for all sport in the province. Over the years, the Games have served as a stepping stone for many of the province’s top athletes. Past participants have included speed skater Jason Parker, hockey player Gord Kluzak (of Climax) and world champion curler, Sandra Schmirler, who actually competed as a swimmer at the Sask Summer Games in 1976 at Swift Current. “Athletes on Team Southwest have an opportunity to experience a multi-sport environment,” said Anne Weisgerber of Maple Creek, Community Development and Team Southwest Coordinator. “In their own sport, they will compete against the best from each District across the province, encouraging the best performance from all. They also get to watch and cheer on their Team members in other sports, getting to know what other sports are all about and the people involved in them.” The local athletes will compete as members of Team Southwest, featuring athletes from communities across the region, ranging from Maple Creek and Fox Valley to Moose Jaw, Shaunavon and beyond. Among the local participants will be badminton players Kristina Birchall and Raye-Vaughn Francis of Maple Creek, cross country skier Emily Gutfreund of Maple Creek, table tennis player Hannah MacNeil of Shaunavon and figure skaters Hannah Lingenfelter (of the Silver Blades Skating Club in Shaunavon), Danika Finlay of Vanguard and coach Shaila Humphrey of Eastend. The biggest contingent of local athletes on Team Southwest are hockey players. The group includes male players Lane Pritchard and Rhett Stevenson of Shaunavon, as well as Damon Legault of Val Marie, who are all playing for the Bantam Badgers this season, as well as Dustin Kendall and Rylan Switzer of Ponteix. Female hockey players making the trek to Prince Albert as part of the Team Southwest include Tenille Lind of Shaunavon, Janessa Fournier of Ponteix, Reece Girodat and Taylor Kirwan of Gull Lake, Morgan Reznechenko, Dayna Winzer and Keara Zoerb of Maple Creek and Darby Jayne Fletcher of Swift Current (who has strong family ties to Eastend.) The Winter Games week will actually be divided into two segments. The sports of Air Pistol, Alpine Skiing, Bowling, Special Olympic Bowling, Cross Country Ski, Figure Skating, Hockey (Male), Judo, and Synchronized Swimming will run from Feb. 16-19. The sports of Badminton, Biathlon, Curling, Gymnastics, Hockey (Female), Snowboard, Speed Skating, Table Tennis, Wrestling will run from Feb. 19-22. The Opening Ceremonies will take place on Sunday, February 16th, beginning at 7:00pm at the Art Hauser Centre in Prince Albert. Half of the athletes will take part in the opening ceremonies while the other half will take part in the closing ceremonies. Saskatchewan Games results can be found at http://www.saskgames.ca/winter/results beginning Monday, February 17th, 2014. “The Prince Albert Host Committee has a lot of events planned for times when the athletes are not competing, and it should be a lot of fun,” said Weisgerber. “Team Southwest has a reputation to uphold as the team who has the most fun, cheers the loudest and does their very best.” The South West District for Culture, Recreation and Sport works with communities, organizations and volunteers to help build sustainable sport, culture and recreation programs and services. They have offices in Moose Jaw, Swift Current, and Maple Creek.