The Canada Games Council is proud to announce that Gabe Flynn of Team Newfoundland and Labrador is the recipient of the Pat Lechelt True Sport Award and Dingding Liu from the 2023 Host Society has been awarded the Paul Flaherty Volunteer Award at the end of week one of the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games. Flynn and Liu collected their awards at a ceremony on the mainstage of the Illumination Festival at Port Charlottetown on Saturday.
Both awards were first presented during the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, named after two outstanding members of the Canada Games family: Pat Lechelt, a dedicated member of Alberta’s Mission Team from 1989 to 2019, and Paul Flaherty, an enthusiastic volunteer board member for the 2007 Canada Winter Games and with the Canada Games Council board from 2009 to 2018.
The Pat Lechelt Award is given to the athlete each week of the Games that shows the True Sport values of fairness, excellence, inclusion, and fun on and off the field of play.
Flynn earned the award as the very definition of a True Sport athlete. A gymnast for Team Newfoundland & Labrador, his character shines through in competition and behind the scenes.
“I’ve been donating and trying to help out the community as long as I can remember, and just knowing that’s been appreciated by so many people, it’s a great feeling,” Flynn said. “I hope this will push other athletes, especially on my team, to hopefully, one day, win this award as well.”
He has incredible compassion for others, and is dedicated to his sport as both an athlete and a youth coach. When Flynn isn’t competing for his province or building and donating equipment to his local gym, he can be found giving back to his community as an avid fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charity. He is a kind, hard-working role model who exemplifies the spirit of the Canada Games Movement.
The Paul Flaherty Volunteer Award is presented at the end of each week to a Host Society volunteer who exemplifies hard work and outstanding service to the Canada Games Movement.
Among an impressive list of over 40 nominees, Liu is the ultimate volunteer. As proof of his impact at short track speed skating, this dedicated volunteer received eight different nominations for the award.
“This means a lot to me, because it means what I did is being recognized, but more importantly, the part that the volunteer job is being highly appreciated,” Liu said. “it’s not only for me; it’s for the volunteers for the Games. I’m just a part of them.”
“I’m really happy to support them to make the Canada Games in PEI a successful one, and introduce our beautiful PEI, our passion, our venue, and our hospitality to athletes from all across Canada.”
A generous, helpful problem solver, Liu takes on any role he is given with a contagious positive attitude and a willingness to work until the job is done. Often the first to arrive and last to leave the Eliyahu Wellness Centre at Canada Games Place, he always ensured the events ran smoothly.
“We are so proud of our athletes and volunteers, and their contributions to the Canada Games movement,” Adam Ward, Canada Games Council Vice-President of Sponsorship & Marketing, said. “Thank you to all of the athletes and volunteers who strengthen the fabric of Canada through the power of sport.”
The week two editions of the 2023 Pat Lechelt and Paul Flaherty awards will be presented at the closing press conference on March 5, alongside the Centennial Cup, Jack Pelech Award and Claude Hardy Award.
The Canada Games award program allows for the celebration and recognition of Canada Games participants at each edition of the Games. The awards recognize athletes, teams, mission staff, and volunteers who have sparked greatness and shown first-hand the spirit of the Canada Games Movement.
Learn more about the Canada Games award program here.