Kamloops awarded 2018 BC Winter Games

The 2018 BC Winter Games in Kamloops will see more than 2,100 athletes, coaches, and officials visit from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25. - Dave Eagles/KTW
The 2018 BC Winter Games in Kamloops will see more than 2,100 athletes, coaches, and officials visit from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25.
— image credit: Dave Eagles/KTW

When the B.C. Winter Games open in Kamloops in 2018, there should be a solid contingent of local athletes ready to take part.

Carolynn Boomer, general manager of PacificSport, which provides sport-development and performance programs and services, said she's confident many of the athletes training now will be aiming for the event.

During a press conference on Friday, Jan. 25, just outside the McArthur Island Sports and Event Centre, the city was named host of the event  by Kamloops-North Thompson Liberal MLA Terry Lake.

In the audience were many athletes who took part in the first BC Winter Games, hosted by Kamloops in 1979.

Their legacy, Lake said, was the determination that grew in the city to first become known in the province as the place to go for sports events and, later, as the Tournament Capital of Canada.

Celebrating that history will be important when the four-day Games begin on Feb. 22, 2018.

Boomer said athletes attending a competition like the Games for the first time will be in for some new realities.

"It's very different than a single-sport event," she said. "When you get 19 sports together, they're eating together, taking transportation together — it is different.

"They will be energetic, but they'll have to adjust to wait times, things like that. Now, they have to figure out how do you perform at your optimal level in that kind of environment."

The friendships and camaraderie will be one of the lasting memories athletes will take from the Games, Boomer said.

Lake noted 40 B.C. athletes at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in London had once competed in the BC Winter Games.

"When Kamloops hosted the first ever BC Winter Games, it inspired us as a community to take our first steps down the road to becoming Canada's Tournament Capital," Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar said.

"Since then, our facilities have come a long way and this event will give us the opportunity to showcase them."

As Canada's Tournament Capital, Kamloops hosted more than 100 events last year and has played host to numerous high-profile sporting competitions, including the 1993 Canada Summer Games, 2011 Western Canada Summer Games, and two previous BC Games.

The 2018 BC Winter Games in Kamloops will see more than 2,100 athletes, coaches, and officials visit from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25.

Sport venues include the Tournament Capital Centre (gymnastics), the Thompson Rivers University gym (badminton), McArthur Island Sports Centre (curling, figure skating and speed skating), Interior Savings Centre (hockey and ringette), Memorial Arena (hockey), Sun Peaks (alpine and freestyle skiing and biathlon), Stake Lake Ski Trails (cross-country skiing), South Kamloops secondary (judo and karate), Pacific Way elementary (archery) and NorKam secondary (netball).

The cost of hosting the Games is covered by the province, which kicks in $525,000, and the city, which adds a minimum of $45,000 cash and $50,000 in kind.

The Games are expected to provide about $2 million in economic impact to the city.

Athletes competing will range in age from 10 to 19.

The province's summer and winter competitions are held every two years.

The 2014 BC Winter Games will be held in Mission and the 2016 edition in Penticton. Last year's BC Winter Games were held in Vernon.

The 2014 BC Summer Games will be held in Nanaimo, the 2016 edition in Abbotsford and the 2018 Games in Cowichan Valley. Last year's BC Summer Games were held in Surrey.

The Kamloops bid committee was composed of the city’s Tournament Capital co-ordinator Sean Smith, Tourism Kamloops CEO Lee Morris, Sun Peaks Resort marketing director Anne Haight, PacificSport Interior BC general manager Carolynn Boomer and Jeff Putnam, the city's sports development and business-operations manager.

Letters of support were submitted to B.C. Games Society CEO Kelly Mann by Milobar, Lake, Kamloops-South Thompson Liberal MLA Kevin Krueger and Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod.

Other letters of support were provided by the Okanagan region of Skate Canada’s B.C.-Yukon Territories branch, Tourism Kamloops, the Kamloops Judo Club, the Kamloops Gymnastics Trampoline Centre, the Kamloops Long Blades, the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association, the Kamloops Skating Club, the Kamloops Target Sports Association, B.C. Netball, McArthur Island Curling Club, Overlander Ski Club, Barriere Netball Club, the Thompson Okanagan Ringette League, Pacific Sport Interior BC, Sun Peaks Resort, the Kamloops Storm, the Western Karate Academy, the Sun Peaks Alpine Club, School District No. 73 and CUPE Local 3500.

The Kamloops-Thompson school district is expected to provide 25 buses to transport athletes and officials throughout the Games and 10 city transit buses will be available to pitch in for the opening and closing ceremonies.

The school district has also resolved to provide school facilities for competition and accommodation, buses and, if necessary, enact a two-day school closure for the Thursday and Friday of the Games.

The bid proposal outlined as accommodation venues NorKam secondary, South Kamloops secondary, Brocklehurst secondary, Kay Bingham elementary, Valleyview secondary and Pacific Way elementary.

CUPE 3500 will give its members the opportunity to volunteer. Bus drivers and custodians to maintain schools will likely be required.

The bid proposal suggested the Tournament Capital Centre fieldhouse as an ideal venue for the opening and closing ceremonies, the accreditation centre and the main medical clinic.

The TRU Grand Hall is earmarked as a suitable food-service area.

Cunliffe House, located in downtown Kamloops across from Interior Savings Centre, is pegged as Games headquarters.



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