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COUNTDOWN TO THE GAMES: A mix of veterans, rookies


CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – With a little more than a week until the first group of athletes head to Winnipeg there are lots of details being looked after from both a sport preparation and logistical standpoint.

The teams are fine-tuning their training to peak at the right time and I’m sure the host society in Winnipeg is working diligently to welcome the delegations from every province and territory in Canada.

Baseball

Prince Edward Island’s baseball team, which will be on that first flight, has had a busy spring and summer training and playing a number of exhibition games and tournaments, including a trip to Montréal to play a series against a Québec all-star team.

The team features players from across the province and they will open the Games tournament against Ontario. Their remaining games will see them play Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador in the preliminary rounds of the tournament. The results of these games will determine their seeding for the playoff round.

Jason Monaghan is the head coach of the team and has Bob Doyle as his assistant. Bob has been part of the Canada Games coaching staff in 2009 and 2013. Dave Benton is also on the bench and has been participating in a coach apprentice program during the past two years, which included attending education sessions with other coaches from across Canada.

Baseball will take place at three venues, including Shaw Park, Whittier Park and Elmwood Giants Field.

Athletics

While the ball team is playing, the athletics team will be busy competing at the University of Manitoba Stadium. The stadium is located on the same campus as the main athlete’s village, which will allow Team P.E.I. athletes to easily become spectators during their downtime.

The team has a great mix of experienced and new Canada Games team members and this starts off with the coaching staff as Colin MacAdam and Keith Tanton have both coached at multiple games. The team also has at least half a dozen athletes who have attended the Games before in athletics or other sports.

The team attended a large meet at the East Coast Games a few weeks back to determine the 28 athletes who will represent our province and since then have been busy attending a number of different meets, including the New Brunswick Legions and Atlantic championships.

Bailey Smith and Matthew Tanton also competed at the national championships in Ottawa earlier this month.

Once the team arrives in Winnipeg they will have a few days of training before the competition begins on Monday, July 31.

Wrestling

At about that time, Week 2 athletes will be eagerly waiting their turn to make their way to the prairies and this would include the wrestling team.

The male and female wrestlers will compete at the Axworthy Health and Recplex.

The team includes five male and three female wrestlers, who will be competing against other athletes in their own weight class. The teams will have their weigh in on Tuesday, Aug. 8, and then start the competition first thing Wednesday morning.

The female team will wrestle in a pool with athletes from Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick while the males will be pitted against B.C., Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut.

The male wrestlers are lead by Nik Cummins, who has coached at the Games in the past, and Nico Verhoeven, who was a former Games wrestler, while Steven Banks and Kalyn Salmon coach the female team.

Need to know

A look at Prince Edward Island’s men’s baseball, athletics and wrestling teams competing at the Canada Games in Winnipeg.

Baseball

Where – Shaw Park, Whittier Park and Elmwood Giants Field.

Best finish – Sixth at the 1969 Games.

2013 Placing – 10th.

Athletics

Where – University of Manitoba Stadium.

Best finish (as a team) – Eighth at 1969 Games.

2013 finish – 11th.

Wrestling

Where – Axworthy Health and RecPlex.

Best finish – Ninth at multiple games

2013 finish – 10th.

Francois Caron is the central region co-ordinator for the sport, recreation and physical activity division of the P.E.I. Department of Health and Wellness. He has attended nine Games and will be Team P.E.I.'s assistant chef de mission during the second week of the 2017 Canada Games.

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