2022 Arctic Winter Games to be hosted in Wood Buffalo

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo was selected over Grande Prairie, Alta.

2 northern Alberta communities were in the running to host 2022 Arctic Winter Games

Nearly 2,000 athletes took in the 2018 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremonies from Hay River, N.W.T. (Kirsten Murphy/CBC)

The 2022 Arctic Winter Games will be hosted by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

The announcement was made Wednesday in a press release.

"Nearly 2000 athletes, coaches and cultural delegates from around the circumpolar world will gather in March of 2022 to share the energy of this vibrant northern community," said John Flynn, Arctic Winter Games International Committee president, in the statement.

Wood Buffalo was selected over Grande Prairie, Alta., the only other community in the running to host the games.

The region hosted the games in 2004. This time around it pitched itself as a venue that could pull off a successful games while allowing visitors to experience the diversity of its rural and Indigenous communities.

Wood Buffalo organizers said their games wouldn't concentrate on Fort McMurray, but would be shared with rural communities in the region. Fort MacKay could host speed skating and there are newly constructed sporting facilities in Anzac and Conklin.

'Difficult choice'

"It was a difficult choice," stated John Rodda, chair of the site selection committee. "Both communities have the facilities, spirit and motivation. The … committee was impressed with the diversity, engagement and support exhibited in both communities."

The games are estimated to cost Fort McMurray between $5 million and $8 million to host, but could contribute upwards of $15 million to the economy.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has committed $4 million for the event. The Alberta government was expected to contribute $1.8 million to the winning community.

The Arctic Winter Games happen every second year, bringing together athletes and cultural performers from Alaska, Greenland, Yamal (Russia), the Sapmi of Scandanavia, Alberta, Yukon, Nunavut, N.W.T. and Nunavik. Sporting events include hockey, cross-country skiing, speed skating, and Dene games.

Yukon will host the games in Whitehorse in 2020.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?