Hay River’s Ben Sivertz arena was the hub of action on Monday, as the community gathered to celebrate its squad of Olympic representatives in an Olympic Pep Rally.
Put on by the Town of Hay River and a few dedicated citizens, the pep rally was centered around celebrating Brendan Green’s name on the roster for the men’s Canadian biathlon team.
Skaters and mascots sailed across the ice waving the Canada flag as hundreds of people poured in to the arena doors, each with a small Canada flag of their own. Wally Schumann’s Smart Car sporting Brendan’s name was parked on the ice, as were the volunteers chosen to go to the Olympics to represent the NWT.
With community members from the reserve, Enterprise, and Hay River travelling to the Olympics this month, there will be representatives from all facets of the community.
“It’s an honour to have our people going to the Olympics,” said chief Roy Fabian. “Congratulations to Brendan Green. Get lots of medals, and put Hay River on the map.”
Mayor Kelly Schofield took the opportunity to point out Green’s example to others in the community.
“He has achieved quite a feat,” said Schofield. “He is a shining example. He stayed tobacco free, alcohol free, and drug free. That’s how he got to be number one. Stay the course!”
Although MLAs Jane Groenewegen and Paul Delorey were in session at the time of the pep rally, they sent their congratulations via video message for the whole community to see.
“The North is a spectacular place to live, and you, Brendan Green, are more than spectacular,” said Delorey in his message.
Green’s hard work and achievements were summed up in a short video clip. The beginning showed him as a young boy jumping hurdles in his back yard, skating, and golfing. Present-time clips showed Green on grueling climbs during training, summating a mountain in Italy, and overcoming competition in World Cup races.
Because of his lifetime of dedication to sports and his achievements as an athlete, the Hay River Ski Club announced their decision to name a trail after Brendan. Bob White presented Bruce and Marilyn Green with a trail sign reading Brendan Green Olympic Trail, a duplicate of which will be erected on the trail itself.
Bruce Green spoke to the community, acknowledging Brendan’s coach, Pat Bobinsky.
“You don’t get a world class athlete without a world class coach,” said Green. After thanking the community for its unending support, Green reverted back to his teacher ways to derive a lesson from his son’s example.
“The lesson here is to dare to dream,” said Green. “Dare to dream big dreams. They can take you a long way.”
Emcee Kevin Wallington closed the pep rally with a final cheer for Brendan.
“Brendan can’t be here today, but I think we can cheer loud enough that he can hear Hay River from wherever he is,” he said, sparking hundreds of people to roar for Hay River’s Olympic athlete, Brendan Green.
A video of the pep rally will be available within weeks, for those who were unable to attend.