REGINA, SK (November 27th, 2017): The athletes, coaches, and staff who made up Team Sask at the 2017 Canada Summer Games and the 2017 North American Indigenous Games, as well as those who participated at the 2017 Tony Cote First Nations Summer Games, were honoured by Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport Gene Makowsky in a special ceremony at the Saskatchewan Legislature on Monday, November 27th.
The Honourable Gene Makowsky commended each athlete for their contributions to Saskatchewan sport in 2017, drawing on his own experiences as an athlete. "The medals are important, but it's when you're challenging yourself on days when you don't feel like getting up and training, and you have to grind it out during all those lonely hours -- that becomes something you can carry forward with you," Makowsky said. "The medals, the memories, and the inner strength you develop as an athlete are what it's all about." Makowsky played 17 seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and helped bring the team to victory at the 2007 Grey Cup.
Team Sask Chef de Mission Mark Bracken remarked on his experiences leading the Saskatchewan contingent at the Winnipeg 2017 Games, calling to mind two memorable moments in particular: the Baseball team's gold-medal victory against Manitoba in front of a crowd of nearly 7,000 spectators at Winnipeg's Shaw Park, and middle-distance runner Julie Labach's commanding win in the women's 800 metres against a hometown favourite.
Team Sask represented the province well at the 2017 Canada Summer Games, taking home 35 medals and finishing sixth in the country for flag points. The Games were held in Winnipeg, Manitoba from July 28th - August 13th and saw more than 4,000 athletes and coaches compete in 16 different summer sports. 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the Canada Games.
At the 2017 North American Indigenous Games held in Toronto, Ontario, Team Sask came in a close second in team standings after British Columbia, earning a total of 166 medals. Assistant Chef de Mission Marc Okihcihtaw reflected on his team's successes, saying that "I like to look at success not in how you place, but where you're going to be in 10 or 20 years. Opportunity and unity go hand in hand. I believe if you give any kid a chance to participate in any sport that's going to give them an opportunity to excel, then they're going to show their true colours."
During the Legislative Assembly later that afternoon, Minister Makowsky introduced each individual athlete, coach and staff member in attendance.
Team Sask's next appearance will be at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta from February 15th - March 3rd, 2019.