MLA Simon Gibson lights torch.

Torch-lighting ceremony starts countdown to Mission B.C. Winter Games

The Mission Leisure Centre's north arena was standing-room-only for Saturday's ceremonies

A capacity crowd packed into the Mission Leisure Centre today (Nov. 16) for the official torch-lighting ceremony for the B.C. Winter Games.

A loud cheer and applause erupted in the north arena as former Olympic speed skater and Mission resident Eden Donatelli-Green and Abbotsford-Mission MLA Simon Gibson lit the cauldron from a torch carried in by Green.

It was standing room only in the arena, which was decorated with blue, ice-level lights, a raised dais for dignitaries, and sprinkled on the south end with small trees.

Master of ceremonies Steve Darling from Global TV said in his opening remarks that around 1,900 athletes from across British Columbia will converge on Mission Feb. 20-23.

The B.C. Games provides an opportunity for all athletes to develop skills and can help propel them into national and international competition, he said.

The ceremonies saw a procession of Games volunteers and dignitaries brought in with a piper, lead by former mayor James Atebe.

A traditional welcoming song was performed by six drummers, including Johnny Williams, a member of the Scowlitz First Nation, and a troupe of dancers from Deroche Elementary School, ranging in age from six to 11 years old.

The Mission Skating Club added its skills to the opening ceremonies, with a well-choreographed and executed show. A duo first emerged in elegant white dresses, wrapped in blue sashes and silver headdresses, followed by some of the club’s youngest skaters in complementary attire. A final group of figure skaters clad in all-white Mission City Outlaws jerseys, hockey sticks and polar bear headwear rounded out the on-ice performers.

Mission Mayor Ted Adlem next addressed the crowd, stating he could feel the growing sense of excitement in the community.

“This will be a tremendous opportunity to watch extraordinary young athletes,” he said. “The provincial spotlight will be on Mission. These Games will leave our community with a sports legacy.

“We’ll show the province the best there is to be had.”

Mission Winter Games president Brian Antonson spoke about the impacts the event will have on the district, including the attention of the province and the economic factor.

When Kimberly-Cranbrook hosted the 2008 Games, those communities realized a $1.8 million impact with half the money staying in the area, while the rest went to Victoria to help with the next Games. Antonson said they’re hoping for a similar or bigger amount here.

At the top of his list of six impacts the Games will have was that they provide an exceptional experience and great start for young athletes. Many Olympians have competed in B.C. Games.

Mission resident Ian Trimble said that he thought the opening ceremonies were well put together and interesting. Further, he now plans to put his name forward as a volunteer.

The call for volunteers was made frequently Saturday, as upwards of 2,000 people are needed.

“I thought it was absolutely fantastic,” said Val Billesberger. “I loved the inclusion of the First Nations and I thought [the ceremonies] displayed Mission’s local talent.”

If you are interested in volunteering for the event, visit bcgames.org.

Just Posted

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

UFV Town & Gown event raises $85,000 in one night; $200,000 in 2017

Supporters from all over the Fraser Valley and beyond gathered in Abbotsford for the third annual Town & Gown fundraising dinner.

Heavy downpours expected in parts of Metro Vancouver

Heavy rain will begin to ease off Sunday evening as the frontal system moves south out of the area

Police investigate string of overnight fires in North Delta

Suspected arson caused damage to vehicles, signage in the area, Delta Police say

The bald and the beautiful

Locals send in their best bald eagle shots

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

Heavy rains, winds hit B.C.’s south coast

Localized flooding, gusts up to 70 km/hr expected for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island

High winds cancel slew of BC Ferries sailings

Travel to and from Victoria and Vancouver as well as Northern Gulf Islands affected

Most Read