'This is our moment' theme for P.E.I.'s 2019 Canada Winter Games send-off
'Every one of them are going there to give us their very best performance'
P.E.I. is planning a big send-off for its 155 Canada Games athletes Tuesday night at the UPEI gym in Chartlottetown as they prepare to go to Alberta to compete in the 2019 Winter Games, with the theme "This is our moment."
The games are being held this year in Red Deer, Alta., starting Friday, Feb. 15.
"It's going to be an awesome evening," Jo-Anne Wallace, chef de mission for the P.E.I. team, told Mainstreet P.E.I. host Matt Rainnie.
"It is the one time all of Team P.E.I. are together, so it's an exciting time."
The games are considered a training ground for the next generation of Canadian Olympic hopefuls.
The P.E.I. contingent, once mission staff and team officials are counted, is about 225.
P.E.I. has 19 teams in sports such as hockey, snowboard and biathlon as well as for sports that you might not expect at a winter games — archery, artistic gymnastics, squash and table tennis.
Medals are 'gravy'
"We all know medals are the nice thing to bring home and all that, but that's really the gravy," Wallace said.
"Every one of them are going there to give us their very best performance."
While the athletes are there to do their best — many working toward personal-best goals — they're also there to experience the athletes village, the cultural shows, and camaraderie with their team and others, Wallace said.
More than 3,500 athletes, managers and coaches in 19 sports will attend the sports and cultural festival — the biggest Red Deer will ever have hosted.
Wallace has been to Red Deer for a preview of the facilities and said they are "phenomenal."
There are two separate contingents leaving from P.E.I. — one goes the first week then returns Feb. 23, then the second group flies out.
Prince Edward Island is set to host the next Canada Winter Games in 2023.
Tuesday's rally begins at 7 p.m. at the UPEI gym.
More P.E.I. news
With files from Mainstreet P.E.I.