SASKATOON — Head of the Team Saskatchewan delegation of athletes to the 2023 Canada Winter Games, Mark Bracken, says it is one of the most diverse groups representing more than 60 communities — cities, towns and other rural areas — in the province.
The team will consist of 217 athletes, including those participating in the Para and Special Olympics, competing in all the 20 sports offered in the quadrennial indoor games.
The remaining 100 members of Saskatchewan’s delegation are coaches, team managers, administrative and technical support staff, and the communications, medical and sports science teams.
Despite the threat of a snowstorm warning and expected freezing rain in Charlottetown, Team Sask’s support staff are already in PEI as athletes, and other delegation members started to arrive in time for the opening ceremonies.
The storm has already started, but the weather is expected to get better on Saturday, Feb. 18, the official start of the Winter Games, with temperatures expected at a high of -12 and a low of -7 C. The games end on March 5.
“We are proud to have representation from the province in every winter games sport. The other thing we are proud of is Team Sask is made up of athletes and participants from over 60 different communities in the province,” said Bracken.
“It is a provincial team coming from all corners of the province. We are excited to see these athletes who have been training hard. They will put everything on the line against the other athletes from the country's 12 provinces and territories.”
He added that this edition’s winter games would be a memorable experience for some Team Sask athletes since this will be a sporting event that is not the same as when they are just competing in a hockey or curling tournament during their younger years.
“This is Canada’s version of the Olympic games — an opening and closing ceremony, staying in an athlete's village, being part of a bigger team and wearing the green [Saskatchewan colours] and probably with 20 different sports representing your province,” said Bracken.
“It will be a memorable opportunity for these kids. I can’t wait to cheer them on. It's going to be a special moment for everybody involved. “
This will be Bracken’s fifth time being Saskatchewan’s Chef de Mission after the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara, where the province finished eighth with 32 medals — three gold, 13 silver and 16 bronze.
Savannah Sutherland and Jasmine Fehr won the gold in the 400m hurdles (59.80) and 5000m (17:06.77). Fehr defeated teammate Jenna Mc Jenna McFadyen (17:08.61) by almost two seconds. The men’s volleyball team defeated Alberta for the gold, 25-21, 25-17, 25-27, 25-22.