2019 Canada Winter Games planning fuels momentum

It’s hard to believe that it was nearly one year ago that Red Deerians learned our City would be hosting the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

So much careful and detailed planning had gone on in making the bid prior to that exciting announcement in Calgary last September, and once it was official, it was like things were elevated to a whole new level in terms of planning what promises to be a tremendous, groundbreaking event for Red Deer.

It’s also been interesting to watch further plans comes to fruition, with the naming of area residents to various boards and committees. Each new announcement is a reminder of the sheer magnitude of this amazing event, and how much organizers will also be counting on the community to help out as volunteers when the time comes as well.

One of the key milestones along the way came recently with the announcement of the chief executive officer of the 2019 Canada Winter Games – Scott Robinson.

Robinson was selected from 33 applicants and began his work with the organization last week.

He joins the Games team following 23 years with Hockey Alberta, including 10 years as executive director of the Hockey Alberta Foundation.

Robinson is also a long-timer Red Deer resident, having called the City home for more than two decades. And he’s been part of the process in bringing the Games to Red Deer essentially from the start – he was actively involved with the Red Deer Bid Committee as well as the Transition Team that was working with the Canada Winter Games Council and the City of Red Deer to transition from a Bid Committee to a Host Society.

As mentioned, seeing the outstanding team members come together has again brought the Games to the forefront of residents’ minds once again. It may seem like a long ways off at this point, but there is already a palpable excitement building, and much of that will also stem from the formation of groups of volunteers that will be needed to help ensure the Games run as smoothly as possible.

As has been seen in past major sporting events in Red Deer, there is nothing quite like bringing together enormous groups of people to lend a helping hand towards a common cause that can really pull a community together.

Red Deerians are fortunate of course to not only have landed the privilege of hosting these Games, but also to have the chance to work together to help bring them to fruition.

It’s been noted countless times in the past in the wake of major events like this that really, they just wouldn’t have been nearly the successes they were without a foundation of dedicated volunteers taking care of a myriad of roles and responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Robinson said he is looking forward to the challenges ahead and has pointed out that about 100 committees will be formed prior to the 2019 Canada Winter Games and there will be many opportunities for the community to get involved. That will include about 40 large committees and then another 40 to 50 subcommittees as well.

In total, about 5,000 to 6,000 volunteers will be needed for the Games.

Ultimately, when the Canada Winter Games takes place in Red Deer in February 2019 the City will see about 3,600 athletes compete, along with 1,800 coaches over the two-week event. Robinson said in total there will be about 25,000 to 30,000 people who attend the Games in some capacity.

The opportunity to host these Games comes to the province every 20 years – the last time Alberta had the opportunity was 1995 when Grande Prairie was selected. In 1975, the honours went to Lethbridge.

It’s also anticipated the region will see an economic impact from the Games of between $100 million and $125 million.

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