Barry Moroz and Marcie Halls-Stronciski are stepping into new roles this year as Chef de Mission and Assistant Chef de Mission for Team Manitoba.
Moroz, raised in Gimli, Manitoba has been involved in sport his entire life. He’s been a coach, volunteer organizer, and athlete, and over the last 25 years, was Sport Manitoba’s Games Manager. Moroz is on contract as Chef de Mission for Team Manitoba taking him through the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. Halls-Stronciski was born and raised in Thompson, Manitoba. The former Games Coordinator for Team Manitoba started figure skating at four and competed most of her life. She’s moved on to play hockey and ball hockey recreationally. She has two children and is very involved in their active lives: from ringette, to soccer, to softball, hockey and baseball.
Both are looking forward to hosting the Games at home in 2017. Read the interview below to get the inside scoop on the Games experience, what the two have been working on, and what they’re most looking forward to in 2017.
What does the Canada Games experience mean to you?
BM: Sport development is first and foremost. Some of our country’s greatest athletes compete in the Canada Games, and if you ask them, they’ll tell you how important their participation in the Games was in terms of their development. They’ll tell you there is no experience like the Canada Games.
Second is the community and the people who’re involved. It doesn’t matter where the Games are held, I’ve met great, passionate people who want what’s best for their community, and the pride they take in that is so great to share in. The role the Games have in bringing together young athletes from every corner of the country is so significant.
And of course there are legacies. After the Games, whether it’s infrastructure, or volunteer training, or the opportunity to host events after the Canada Games, the legacies are very important.
MHS: For me, it’s the “buzz” of Games and how excited everyone is in the community. The athletes don’t really understand what they’re getting into until they get there. Watching them watching them take it all in on and off the field is a big thing for me.
Do you have a favourite Canada Games moment?
BM: When you’ve been to as many games as I have, there are many. I don’t necessarily have a favourite moment, but there’s something that happens at each and every Games, there’s one defining moment that separates those Games from any other.
In 2007 though, when both our hockey teams played for a gold medal, that was awesome. Hockey for a Winter Games is always a feature sport. We didn’t win, but we were competitive, and it was one of those defining moments.
Also, staging for ceremonies is always an exciting time. The kids are pumped up, the spirits are so high, the anticipation is running, and of course you get a big adrenaline rush when the team is introduced and marches in to the stadium. It’s always a special moment.
MHS: Definitely watching the gold medal ringette game in Prince George. The buzz of the rink, and when you could tell they realized they won at the end of the game, it was pretty fantastic.
How does it feel to be a part of these Games, in Winnipeg, on home turf?
BM: It’s a rare opportunity because of the Games’ hosting schedule. This is only the third time Manitoba’s hosted the Games in their 50-year history. It’s always nice to travel and see other parts of the country, but there’s something to be said about home field advantage. We’re going to use that to our benefit.
We won’t have to worry about some of the distractions like travel and time change, and we realize there’ll be higher expectations and additional pressures, but we’re prepared.
MHS: I’m excited to show off our community. To get everyone from everywhere across Canada to see what Manitoba’s all about. It’ll be huge.
What are you most looking forward to about the 2017 Canada Summer Games?
BM: There will be the opportunity for a lot more family and friends to experience the Games at home. We have tremendous support from parents who come to away Games, but it can be great to have that support when competing at home.
We [Team Manitoba] have a lot of recent success we can build on. Our last 3 or 4 games have been great and we’ve met our expectations, and in some cases exceeded them. I think competing at home will give us a little bit more so that we can build on that momentum. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to expect we can win a record number of medals and with that, turn that into a better than best past performance.
I’m looking forward to the celebration, of youth, sport, community, and our country. These are going to be special Games, with the 50th anniversary. And 2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday, so it’s going to be a party.
MHS: I’m looking forward to the celebration too, and having my family around to experience it all with me. I talk about Games and the experience all the time, but it’ll be so good to have them there to see it and feel it when they’re out and about.
Take us through the next couple of months, what are you working on?
BM: As I’m responsible for overall leadership and operations of the Team Manitoba program, I’m the liaison with Canada Games Council and 2017 Host Society as they roll out their plans. I also work with sport Manitoba and our PSOs, coaches and managers to ensure our sport performance services, financial resources, technical requirements and training are all up to standard. We’re working to get our Mission Staff in place right now, and as Chef, I’m the primary spokesperson for Team Toba.
MHS: I take care of all the logistics for Team Toba - everything from travel to accommodations and walkout uniforms. Some will be different than other years, but it’s still a big part of my job. We’re also working on selecting our Mission Staff. We’re hoping to have our team in place by the end of January.
Send a message to the teams who are training or the visitors who’ll come to Winnipeg in 2017, what do you want them to know?
BM: Momentum is building. We’re finishing up meetings with the sports, and based on the meetings we’ve had we’re confident our coaches and the sports are all well on their way, so it fits in real nice with our planning.
It’ll be a while before teams are selected, but I’d say to the athletes, there’s no substitute for hard work. The effort that they start putting into it today, will pay dividends down the road.
And for anyone who’s planning on coming to the Games in a year and a half from now, well, Winnipeg is a great host city, we all know that, we get it, we do it right, so get ready for the hottest summer in half a century!