The one-year countdown to the 2016 Abbotsford BC Summer Games starts tonight at the 365 Days to Go event.
There will be four Abbotsford Hall of Fame inductees at the event, which will be held at Thunderbird Plaza (behind city hall) and will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Rugby star and BC Summer Games alum Harry Toews will be there, along with wrestling gold medalist Cory Kwak, as well as Dave Miller, world class water skiier and founding member of the Fraser Valley Water Ski Club, and Jack Robertson, a community builder who spearheaded the creation of Rotary Stadium among other local projects, and who was the founding president of the Abbotsford Hall of Fame.
In addition to local sports stars, the event will feature local entertainment, including singers and First Nations dancers, as well as food and refreshments provided by local food vendors.
Entry is free, and additional information regarding the 2016 Summer Games will be available.
Harry Toews is a BC Summer Games alum – he won a gold medal with the Fraser Valley boys rugby squad in 1987. His rugby career would end up taking him around the world, highlighted by 11 caps with the Canadian senior men’s national team and several years playing professionally in England.
Wrestler Cory Kwak also used the BC Games as a springboard to a successful international career. He won a gold medal at the 1986 BC Games in Terrace, and he went on to compete with Canada’s national wrestling team in the early-to-mid 1990s. Highlights included gold medals at the 1993 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships, the 1994 Francophone Games, and the 1995 Canada Cup International.
Dave Miller has competed – and succeeded – at the highest levels of international water skiing. In 2006, he won gold medals in the slalom at both the Pan American Games and the World Championships, and he later set a world record in the Masters age class. His legacy also includes the formation of the Fraser Valley Water Ski Club and the establishment of Albert Dyck Lake as one of Canada’s top water ski competition sites.
Jack Robertson, the founding president of the Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame, was inducted as a builder in 2007. He exemplifies the tremendous volunteer spirit that drives events like the BC Games. Among his many sport leadership roles, he chaired the 1995 Western Canada Summer Games in Abbotsford, and helped to spearhead the creation of Rotary Stadium and the Legacy Sports Centre at Exhibition Park.
Abbotsford BC Summer Games board president Steve Carlton said, “The Games legacy is alive and well in Abbotsford.”
Abbotsford last hosted the Games in 2004, which Carlton said was a great success.
There are currently 125 key volunteers, directors and chair members working on communications, accommodations, transportation and food, and they are looking for another 3,000 volunteers to help in every area.
There is a major amount of planning and organization left to accomplish, said Carlton. Go to bcgames.org for further details.
The main hub of Games action will be the Rotary Stadium facility. Three new fields at W.J. Mouat Secondary – adjacent to Rotary Stadium – are also being converted to all-weather turf to accommodate some of the field sports such as rugby and field hockey.
In addition, Abbotsford Senior Secondary and the University of the Fraser Valley will host competition events, although the specific sports other than volleyball have yet to be established.
Carlton said businesses are encouraged to donate money, materials or services.
Any surplus funds will go to a legacy fund to benefit the City of Abbotsford.
First photo: Harry Toews.
Second photo: Cory Kwak
Third photo: Jack Robertson