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Canada Games on P.E.I. still scheduled for 2023

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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Prince Edward Island will still host the Canada Winter Games in 2023 despite the next summer competition being pushed back from 2021 to 2022 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic.

“We’re full steam ahead,” said Brian McFeely, who is co-chairing the 2023 host society with Wayne Carew.

“From the 2023 perspective, our main goal here is to work with Canada Games Council and work with the 2021 host society and give them our full co-operation to ensure the ’21 games can be as seamless as possible. We’ve ensured them of our support going forward.”

Team P.E.I. chef de mission Brian McFeely waives the provincial flag to welcome Team P.E.I. into the 2017 Canada Games closing ceremonies in Winnipeg. - Jason Malloy
Team P.E.I. chef de mission Brian McFeely waives the provincial flag to welcome Team P.E.I. into the 2017 Canada Games closing ceremonies in Winnipeg. - Jason Malloy

 

P.E.I. was awarded the 2023 Games, which will take place Feb. 17-March 4, back in November of 2018. It will be the third time the Island has hosted the Games, following the 1991 winter and 2009 summer Games.

The 2021 Games in the Niagara Region of Ontario were recently pushed back a year. It is expected to attract more than 5,000 participants and 4,000 volunteers in Canada’s largest multi-sport event.

McFeely said there wasn’t a request to push back the 2023 Games, and while there will be some impacts on the local event, they are manageable.

“We don’t foresee any significant issues,” McFeely said. “The biggest concern of ours is around revenue generation and what impacts that may have.”

It includes national sponsorships and the quick turnaround of about six months from the 2022 Games to 2023.

“Normally, you wouldn't be into the market until the Games ahead of you are out of the market,” McFeely said. “In this case, we’ll have to collaborate to ensure we maximize any opportunities that we have for sponsorships.”

Another issue would be the transfer of knowledge from the 2022 officials to their 2023 peers. Normally, senior staff and some volunteers attend the previous Games to gain first-hand experience. They then comeback and apply what they learned, but there will be less time to institute the changes for 2023 so the local society will have to look at other ways to ensure the transfer of knowledge occurs.

“We’ll be far down that road in our planning – almost to the execution stage – so it will be very difficult to be able to take full advantage of those learnings,” McFeely said.

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