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The Battlefords will play host to SSFA55+ games in June

There will be 12 sporting events at the competition.
Pickleball at NationsWest Field House will be among the activities hosted during the SSFA55+ games June 11-13.

THE BATTLEFORDS — Al Gabert, of the Battlefords, is host committee chair for the upcoming Sask. Senior Fitness Association 55+ games that are upcoming June 11-13. The Battlefords last hosted the 55+ games in 2016.

Venues will include Centennial Field for track and field, swimming at Battlefords Co-op Aquatic Centre, golf at the North Battleford Golf and Country Club and pickleball at the Nationswest Field House. Gutters Bowling Centre will be host to fivepin bowling and Sharkeys Billiards will be the location for eight-ball. The Battlefords Flats will be home to the slo-pitch competition and the Battlefords Lawn Bowling Club will host the lawn bowling event.

The committee said locations for the remainder of the events are yet to be determined.

Gabert said he approached the North Battleford Recreation Director and City Manager in July of 2023 to discuss possibly forming a volunteer committee to host these games in the Battlefords. Saskatoon was supposed to host; however, they could not proceed as they could not find a group to commit to planning.

The ambitious volunteer committee includes Gabert who is joined by Sheila Gabert as committee vice-chair. Randy Graham, Debbie Iwanchuk and Adele Perrett are handling office administration and registration. The games services chair position is being served by Gary Flichel. Doug Fehr and Debbie Wohlberg are joint chairs of human resources, while Eric Johnson is handling public relations, promotions and communications.

Friends of the Games director is Mark Richardson. Gail Sack is serving as special events and ceremonies chair with Herb Sutton looking after accommodations, medical and security.

Each of the sporting events also has volunteer event co-ordinators.

Gabert affirms there will be 12 sporting events at the upcoming June competition. He said, “The 55+ games include not only physical competitions such as track and field, swimming, golf, pickleball, five-pin bowling, eight-ball, slo-pitch and lawn bowling, but also events that facilitate mental and social well-being such as cribbage, kaiser, poetry and short story writing, and photography. A successful curling competition was already held at the Northland Power Curling Centre in March.”

With Gabert serving as vice-president of the provincial Saskatchewan Senior Fitness Association, he knew when the original host city had to decline, and determined he would do what he could to make the event happen in the Battlefords. Assembling a committee, and support from city council following his presentation, were key to kickstarting, preparing and planning for the competition.

While Gabert admits there may be challenges, he said, “We are hoping for about 600 participants, but we don’t know the actual number of registrants until after the registration deadline. The registration deadline is May 10, so people still have time to register. Since the deadline is May 10, we basically have a month to schedule the events and set up the competitions. The host committee, event co-ordinators and volunteers will be very busy during that period.”

The committee acknowledges there have already been highlights in their efforts which include tremendous local sponsor support from a variety of businesses and agencies at varying sponsorship levels, including some stepping up to become patrons of the games.

“We also had a very successful open house on April 17 at the Northland Power Curling Center where we signed up several volunteers and event competitors. A second open house is planned on May 3 at the Co-op Mall from noon to 6 p.m.,” Gabert added.

Participants can register online by visiting the SSFA 55+ Provincial Games website at The committee says they can use more volunteers and interested people can sign up for volunteer duties on this website as well. Registrations will also be accepted at the Co-op Mall May 3.

Event medallists at this provincial competition quality co compete at the National Canada 55+ Games which will be held in Quebec City, Que., Aug 27 to 30. Two curling teams from the Battlefords have already qualified to compete at nationals. That curling team will be the Barry Verhoeven rink, with teammates Dale Grant, Kim Zoller and Richard Pratchler. The Wayne Scheible rink also qualified with teammates Brian Welford, Bill Raynor and Allan Hoffman.

Whenever a big event comes to a community, it brings a host of economic benefits in both the hospitality sector and shopping opportunities.

You can keep up with the latest news and updates on the organization’s Facebook page at