Tuesday, 12th February 2019
By Chris Welner
The TV and Internet connections will be sizzling in Paradise, Newfoundland when 11-year-old native son Gavin Baggs struts into the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 15 at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta. Thanks to an exclusive contract with national broadcasters TSN and RDS and live streaming on SportsCanada.TV, blanket coverage of this year’s Games will be accessible to wired homes in the country and around the world.
TSN’s comprehensive schedule includes 40 hours of English coverage while RDS features 40 hours of French coverage. All broadcast footage is available for live streaming through the TSN and RDS apps.
Webcasting of the 2019 Games is provided by SportsCanada.TV and featured on CanadaGames.live, the Canada Games webcast portal. Every single sport at the 2019 Canada Winter Games receives live or on-demand webcast coverage. In total, over 1,300 hours of action is captured over the 2019 Games through webcast thanks to sponsorship by IFR Workwear.
Gavin, the youngest competitor in wheelchair basketball will have a roaring contingent crowded around the den in the Baggs family home 6,000 km away from Red Deer. With his mom Raeleen, a Canada Games alumnus in soccer and squash and current wheelchair basketball coach, in Alberta with her son, the clan back home will be rooting hard.
“We’ll have a big crowd at the house,” says Gavin’s dad Kurtis, listing off a roll call of friends and family expected to be crowded around the TV near midnight Newfoundland time for Opening Ceremonies on Friday. “I’ll be excited and a bit choked up seeing Gavin at the Canada Games — and at just 11 years old, it will be a big deal.”
Admission to the party is one dip or appetizer (friend Gwen Parsons makes a good taco and cream cheese bowl and the grandparents usually bring meatballs or wings). There may be libations served. With more than 3,600 participants in a Games that has the panache of an Olympics and the coziness of a kitchen party, you can imagine this scene playing out thousands of times across Canada.
Team Newfoundland’s Gavin Baggs (holding the Basketball) surrounded by family and friends in Paradise, NFLD
“We get excited to cover the Canada Games because the athletes are so excited to be there,” says Jamie Bower, senior coordinating producer overseeing Games production for TSN. “Most of them are at their first major Games, or even away from home for the first time and it’s fun to showcase young amateur athletes who get a real thrill being on TSN.”
Gavin’s first game action will be webcast Feb. 17 when Newfoundland takes on Alberta. The four-foot-nothing athlete and stage actor who was born missing the bottom part of his spine, says he can’t wait to lock horns with Team Alberta. He’s not sure he will be a three-point threat, but he likes the rough and tumble of setting picks to free up his teammates for the shot.
You can bet the Baggs family will be logged on watching it all.
“Oh my gosh – we’ll take in every minute of it, whatever’s on it will be streamed in this house,” says Kurtis Baggs, who played rugby in the 1993 Canada Games. “We want everyone to do well, but we’re really cheering for Newfoundland.”
“Our comprehensive broadcast and webcast coverage allows viewers from across the nation to tune in to Canada’s top young athletes competing in Canada’s largest multi-sport event,” says Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games Board Chair.
“RDS’ long-standing commitment to the development of Canada’s athletes has always been part of our DNA. Partnering with the Canada Games is another concrete example of our commitment, said Robert Turcotte, Vice President, Programming and Business Development, RDS.
In addition to the highly anticipated Opening and Closing Ceremonies broadcasts, TSN and RDS broadcast segments feature badminton, curling, freestyle skiing, hockey, short track speed skating, squash and wheelchair basketball. TSN and RDS also provide coverage of additional sports with extensive highlights throughout the competition and deliver in-depth athlete profiles. TSN and RDS also provide social content available through the network’s social media platforms, including Instagram and Snapchat.
Canada Games action will also be available online as well. “We will be live streaming over 1,300 hours of competition in 19 different sports and looking forward to providing family, friends and fans who cannot make it to Red Deer with an opportunity to watch and support their athletes,” said Choyal Brown, founder of SportsCanada.TV.
“We’re also thrilled that fans from coast to coast to coast will be able to watch all sports in real time on CanadaGames.live.” says Tom Quinn, Canada Games Council Chairman.