Next month the Fort McMurray region will welcome nearly 2,000 athletes from around the province for the 2018 Alberta Winter Games.

Games general manager Michelle Toner said the organizing team is ready to welcome the athletes, coaches and chaperones."It's definitely a very busy time," Toner said. "Identifying gaps, seeing where we might have missed a step."

Michelle Toner

Alberta Winter Games general manager Michelle Toner. (Alberta Winter Games 2018)

Toner said the event, which will take place from Feb. 16 to 19, is set to go with 22 sports in 11 venues. Organizers expect more than 5,000 visitors to the region.

In 1992, the Fort McMurray region hosted the Alberta Winter Games. In 2004, it hosted the Arctic Winter Games, and in 2015 the Western Canada Summer Games.

Toner said the Alberta athletes are often scouted as potential Olympians.

"The Alberta Winter Games would be viewed a developmental multisport games," Toner said. "It is a feeder system, if you will."

The games are expected to cost $4.9 million, which is under the original $6.7-million bid budget, Toner said.

Organizers are now appealing for volunteers. As an incentive, Toner said, all volunteers get special games swag, including a long-sleeve shirt, a toque and official jacket.

The next Alberta Winter Games will be hosted in Airdrie.

Follow David Thurton, CBC's Fort McMurray correspondent, on FacebookTwitter and email him at