Nine athletes from the Oceanside area are gearing up for the B.C. Winter Games in Mission, which begin February 20 and run until the 23.
Ashlee Barner, Katy Downey and Blair Paddock, all from Parksville, are heading to the games as part of the U-16 girls hockey team for Zone 6 (Vancouver Island and the Central Coast). The girls cracked the lineup out of the 60 girls that were trying out for the team. Both Downey and Barner, forwards who play together here in Parksville, are making their first appearance on the team while Paddock, a goaltender who plays out of Comox, is returning for her second time with the team after making the team last year.
Archery will also have some Oceanside content, as four from the area will be competing with their bow. Jordan Trill, from Errington, Gabrielle Courturielle, Devon Harach and Max Watson, all from Parksville, will be competing. Courturielle, 16 years old from Parksville, has reached the expert level in just her second year as an archer.
Olivia Bau and Kennedy Lavertu will be showcasing their stuff in the figure skating competition. Bau, who recently turned 12 and calls Nanoose Bay home, competes in the Juvenile Ladies U–14 and is a member of the BC/Yukon prospect team.
Lavertu, who calls Port Alberni home, trains with Bau at the Sandy Shores Skating Club out of Parksville. Shannon Light, a long time member of the Sandy Shores Skating Club and former Pre Novice Challenge Champion and National Competitor, coaches both Bau and Lavertu.
Chris Raduy will be on the slopes in the alpine skiing event. It’s been a bit of a slow winter in terms of snowfall for Raudy, who is a member of the Mount Washington Ski Club. The lack of snow on Mount Washington hasn’t stopped Raduy, who’s been on the mainland training and competing in preparation for the Winter Games.
The host city of Mission has been preparing for the last 18 months for the Winter Games, the first time they’ve been held in the city. Over 2,000 volunteers will help make the event run as smooth as possible as there will be over 1,800 participants, 1,300 of which are athletes who range in age from nine to 17 competing in 18 different sports.
The timing of the B.C. Winter Games this year is particularly exciting as it coincides with the final weekend of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Ten B.C. Games alumni are competing for the Canadian Olympic Team including 2010 Olympic gold medalist Maëlle Ricker (snowboard), 2011 World Champion Kelsey Serwa (ski cross), NHL star Carey Price and former track and field standout turned bobsleigh driver, Justin Kripps.