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

B.C. man gets 23 years for murder of Belgian tourist near Boston Bar

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

B.C.’s ‘Dr. Frankenstein of guns’ back in jail yet again for trafficking in Glock parts

Bradley Michael Friesen has parole revoked for allegedly importing gun parts yet again

New lease sees market rent, modernization for Agassiz’s UBC Dairy

UBC Dairy has less land, higher rent under the lease; hopes stability will bring more opportunities

Sentencing scheduled Tuesday for man who killed Belgian tourist

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Sakkalis near Boston Bar

Langley crash slowing westbound Highway 1 traffic

Crash occurred just past 200th Street around 5:45 a.m.

VIDEO: Bald Eagle Festival welcomes tourists, salmon, eagles to Harrison Mills

The annual festival took place on Saturday, Nov. 16 and Sunday, Nov. 17

Workers union calls strike vote in SkyTrain labour dispute

Mediated talks are scheduled to begin Nov. 28

‘Vancouver’s North Pole’ set to open with skating pond, Light Walk and more

Annual attraction at Grouse Mountain raises funds for BC Children’s Hospital

‘Very disrespectful’: B.C. first responder irked by motorists recording collisions on cellphones

Central Cariboo Search and Rescue deputy chief challenges motorists to break the habit

Daily cannabis linked to reduction in opioid use: B.C. researchres

Researchers looked at a group of 1,152 people in Vancouver who reported substance use and chronic pain

Three people deported after Surrey brawl caught on camera: RCMP

Police say they have been ‘actively engaged’ in the issue of youth fights in Newton since March

Bids down, costs up on Highway 1, B.C. independent contractors say

Rally protests NDP government’s union-only public construction

Members of little people community applaud change to drop ‘midget’ term

‘It’s not about sensitivity,’ says Allan Redford, the president of the Little People of Canada

‘Police incident’ leads Squamish RCMP to ask public to leave Stawamus Chief

People were told to expected a ‘noted police presence’

Most Read