Hay River’s representatives at the Canada 55-plus Games in Strathcona County, Alta. returned home this week, bringing with them a silver medal.
Hay River athlete Nancy Makepeace contributed a silver in cycling to the NWT’s tally of 16 medals including 10 gold, three silver and three bronze.
Most of the medals were won in swimming, according to Joan Hirons, a swimmer herself and the director for Team NWT at the Canada 55-plus Games, but the territory had athletes in 12 sports over the three-day period. Sixty participants came from seven communities across the NWT to take part.
“The games were a lot of fun,” Hirons, who lives in Yellowknife, told The Hub Sunday morning. “It was very well organized and I think everyone enjoyed themselves.”
Although the number of medals is lower overall than in 2012 when the games were last held, Hirons said there were a lot of fourth place finishes. The curling team and the 10-pin bowling team each lost in their respective bronze medal games.
Hay River athletes competed in cycling, curling, and golf, but were most notable as a strong presence on the hockey team, with the community sending seven players.
“They were at a serious disadvantage to the other teams,” said Hirons, explaining that other jurisdictions send complete teams who play together all year round. “Our team was more of a pick-up style. They all know each other, but they don’t play together all the time, and they can’t practise in the summer.”
Hirons also noted although the team tends to not score at all while at the 55-plus games, this year was different and they did so early in the tournament.
“That was fun to see,” she said.
The next instalment of the games will be in 2016 in Brampton, Ont. Hirons said she hopes the NWT will send its biggest team ever and that everyone who goes will continue to have a great time.
Tom Makepeace went to the games for cycling along with his silver-medal winning wife Nancy Makepeace and said the experience had been a good one.
“It’s been a great event,” he said.
Tom also said he thinks the event should be promoted more in the North as something that is not only a lot of fun, but could also help seniors keep healthy. He finished the 65-plus 20 kilometre bike race in 28 minutes, landing him fifth place.
“There are lots of neat people who are out to have fun and play the games … it’s been a real positive experience for our first time.”