After an amazing two weeks packed with sport excellence, team spirit, and friendships that will last a lifetime, the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games have finally come to a close. Since February 18th, an exemplary generation of young athletes have had a profound impact on this country – they have sparked greatness and unified the nation through the power of sport.
As each edition of the Games comes to an end, the Canada Games Council (CGC) commends the athletes, participants, mission staff, and volunteers who have had a profound impact through their achievements and contributions by way of the Canada Games awards program.
Today, the CGC had the honour of presenting the final awards at the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games to five exemplary individuals and provincial/territorial teams. The event took place at the PEI Convention Centre, overlooking the scenic waterfront in downtown Charlottetown.
Sean Casey, Member of Parliament for Charlottetown, and the Honourable Ernie Hudson, PEI’s Minister of Health and Wellness, awarded the Centennial Cup to Team Nova Scotia as the most improved team at the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games compared to their last performance at the Canada Winter Games in 2019.
“It’s unbelievable. This is really a coveted award,” said Lori Lancaster, Chef de Mission for Team Nova Scotia. “It really demonstrates the improvement from the last Games. We have a team this year that has really come to compete and done extremely well. We’re very proud.”
Team PEI was presented with the Claude Hardy Award in recognition of the talents and dedication of its Mission Team.
“I think that all Islanders really contributed to this,” said Jo Anne Wallace, Chef de Mission for Team PEI. “I have so many good friends and colleagues in our mission team, and all are deserving.”
The Jack Pelech Award was awarded to Team Nova Scotia. The award goes to the provincial or territorial team whose athletes, coaches, managers, and mission staff best combine competitive performance, good sportsmanship and a spirit of fair play, cooperation, and friendship.
“This is extremely humbling. We have such an amazing group of mission staff, athletes, coaches, who come each day and work extremely hard, understanding the importance of sport and what sports mean, and sportsmanship,” said Lori Lancaster, who accepted the award on behalf of Team Nova Scotia.
Two individual awards were also presented in recognition of week two Canada Games participants and volunteers – the Pat Lechelt True Sport Award and the Paul Flaherty Volunteer Appreciation Award.
Mike Sumner from Team Yukon was awarded the Pat Lechelt True Sport Award, which was presented by CGC Chair Evan Johnston and Terry Smyl, cousin of the late Pat Lechelt. The award is given to an athlete in each week of the Games who exemplifies the True Sport principles on and off the field of play.
The gold medalist in Special Olympic Level 3 men’s figure skating on PEI, Sumner brings a positive attitude to the rink every day, always wishing his competitors good luck and congratulating them after their routines.
“I’m very honoured to win this award. It feels like the whole world to me. It’s just amazing, the whole experience here in PEI,” said Sumner. “I think cheering on my fellow athletes has been my favourite part.”
Sumner is often one of the loudest fans when cheering on his Yukon teammates at other events, and loves to keep it fun on the 6:00AM commute to the Eliyahu Wellness Centre at Canada Games Place with a karaoke party.
The award also went to Team Newfoundland and Labrador gymnast Gabe Flynn at the conclusion of week one.
The Paul Flaherty Volunteer Award recognizes the volunteers who are at the very heart of the Canada Games. The award is given to an outstanding Host Society volunteer at the end of each week of the Games.
In week two, the award was presented to polyclinic volunteer Sherrie Langley by Wayne Carew and Brian McFeely, the Chair and CEO of the 2023 Canada Games Host Society.
A recent addition to the polyclinic team, Langley made light work of last-minute preparations to ensure all participants at the 2023 Games could safely and seamlessly access healthcare on-site.
“Everybody coming in has been so happy and so appreciative of all the services, and meeting all the sponsored medical and all the local doctors and therapists has been really exciting. It’s been awesome actually to come together to provide a service,” stated Langley.
Langley worked closely with Harrison McIver and Dr. Kristy Newson throughout the Games to make the polyclinic a success. “I feel like my contribution was just a drop in the bucket, especially when I look at my leadership team on the medical side, Dr. Kristy Newson and Harrison McIver, who have gone above and beyond to ensure that the medical services were ready to go for the Games.”
The week one recipient was Dinding Liu, who received eight nominations in week one for his admirable volunteer work at the speed skating competition.
The Canada Games awards program recognizes and celebrates Canada Games participants who have sparked greatness at each edition of the Games, from athletes and teams to mission staff and volunteers. To learn more about the Canada Games Movement, visit canadagames.ca.