Island athletes celebrated at Canada Games rally

Cheers and clapping rang out as hundreds of people packed the gymnasium at UPEI Tuesday evening to celebrate P.E.I. athletes who will soon compete in the Canada Winter Games.

More than 150 athletes will compete in the games in Red Deer, Alta.

Members of the women's hockey team show their spirit during the Canada Games rally, which celebrated the island athletes who will compete in Red Deer, Alta. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Cheers and clapping rang out as hundreds of people packed the gymnasium at UPEI Tuesday evening to celebrate the P.E.I. athletes who will soon compete in the Canada Winter Games.

More than 150 Island athletes will take part in the games in Red Deer, Alta., from Feb. 15 to March 2. 

"I was like ecstatic, it's just such an honour to be on the team," said 15-year-old Georgia Fraser, who is on the ringette team. 

Competing on a national stage

For any young athlete, competing on a national stage is a big deal. And for some athletes, the Canada Games has been on their minds for years as a major goal to work towards.

Fifteen-year-old Jacob Squires started playing hockey when he was just three years old. He has NHL aspirations, and he says representing P.E.I. at the Canada games is a big milestone.

Jacob Squires has been thinking about the Canada Games for years, and is excited to represent P.E.I. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

"The last winter games, there was a couple of big names now, like Carson MacKinnon, Jeremy McKenna, Noah Dobson were obviously on that team … they were ones that I looked up to growing up."

'I feel honoured'

For 16-year-old Justine Pierce, Canada Games isn't something she's been thinking about for as long. This is only her second year doing judo. She took up the sport after she heard about it from a friend.

"I went for a few classes and then I just enjoyed it, and then it just kind of became part of my life," Pierce said.

Justine Pierce is feeling a mixture of nervousness and excitement as she gets ready to represent P.E.I. in judo at the Canada Winter Games. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

She says going to such a big competition is "nerve wracking," but also exciting. She plans to try her best in her competitions, and is looking forward to meeting people from other provinces, and enjoying the overall experience.

"I feel honoured to be able to say that I'm going to the Canada games for P.E.I. for my sport."

Flag bearer announced

During the rally, Tuesday evening, this year's team P.E.I. flag bearer was also announced.

Eighteen-year-old gymnast Cameron Davis will carry P.E.I.'s flag.

Eighteen-year-old gymnast Cameron Davis has been named P.E.I.'s flag bearer for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Davis began doing gymnastics competitively four years ago, at which point he said, Canada Games wasn't even on his radar. 

"And here I am, I qualified for Canada Games. And to be named flag bearer is pretty surreal," said Davis.

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