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

VIDEO: Multiple fire department units called to Brookswood house fire

Blaze appeared to have started in a parked trailer

VIDEO: Canadian Junior Football national championships come to Langley

Rams battle Saskatoon Hilltops for the top title, Saturday, Nov. 16, at McLeod Athletic Park

Langley’s Lions Housing target of human rights complaint

A former resident alleges discrimination after coming out as trans

Aldergrove alumni volleyball coaches drum up school spirit

Former ACSS volleyball players Shelby Butler, Kaitlin Pool, and Michaela Hampton continue a legacy

VIDEO: Realtors battle it out over Park Avenue, the Electric Company, and the railroads

Third Realtor Monopoly fundraiser held in Langley to help New Hope Community Services

Listening to Christmas music too early could affect your mental health

Linda Blair, a clinical psychologist, says preemptive Christmas music can trigger anxiety

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team have been called in

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read