Article by: Team BC
Seven-month-old Elina is Team BC’s youngest fan at the PEI 2023 Canada Games.
She’s here with her mother Rebecca Tamil Selven (Langley) – one of the coaches of BC’s ringette team – in Charlottetown with assistance from the Canada Games Support for Nursing Mothers Policy. The policy recognizes caring for a nursing infant can be a barrier for mothers participating at a Canada Games.
“We are excited to be able to be here and to utilize the resources available,” says Tamil Selven. The Canada Games provided air transportation and a hotel room for her and her husband Hari, so he can watch Elina while Tamil Selven performs her coaching duties. “It doesn’t happen very often,” she says.
Describing a day at the Games, Tamil Selven says “Hari kind of tags along, so when I am with the athletes and the other coaches, he can watch Elina. Whenever I’m not coaching, I get to take care of Elina and be her mom.”
Tamil Selven has been involved in ringette since she was four years old – first as a player, then as coach. But she has not competed at a Canada Games. “I’m super excited to be here with the athletes, as every year the Winter Games have been on, I’ve just watched. This is the pinnacle for ringette players and us.”
Elina can be the centre of attention when she’s at the venue, but Tamil Selven makes sure the baby is not a distraction for the team. “The girls absolutely love her, so usually they get to see her at the Village when we have down time. At the rink, we try to keep her away from the girls when they are prepping for their games. Otherwise, all they would want to do is to cuddle her and play with her.”
Husband Hari is also a ringette coach in BC, so he is watching the game from a quiet spot in the venue while watching Elina. “He’s done a really great job, so I can just focus on coaching. Once the game is over, we do our debrief with the team and it’s back to Elina.”
The infant, who always wears Team BC clothing made by her mother, has become somewhat of a celebrity at the rink. “Everyone here has been so nice and so accommodating,” explains Tamil Selvin. “I’ve had close to 50 people tell me if they need someone to hold her, they’re available.
Tamil Selvin praises the Canada Games Council for supporting her family. “I can coach and be there for my athletes when I need to be, but I can also take care of Elina when I need to. Everyone has just made it super easy.”