Third generation of McKinnons to represent P.E.I. at Canada Games
Zachary Wall will have a special piece of family and Island history with him at the Canada Games this summer in Winnipeg.
The 17-year-old Stratford native is a small forward with Team P.E.I.’s men’s basketball squad. Monday, his grandfather, Bill McKinnon, gave him the Island flag he carried into the closing ceremony of
the 1969 Games in Dartmouth/ Halifax, N.S., after winning the province’s first medal at the multi-sport competition.
“It’s pretty cool. It’s a nice piece of history I will be able to share with my team,” Wall said.
It’s not the first time the flag has made it back to the Games.
Wall’s father, Kris McKinnon, took it to the 1997 Games in Brandon, Man., while Kris’ brother, Shawn, had it at the 2001 Games in London, Ont. They both played soccer.
Kris said his team’s manager, Jim MacPhee, made sure the flag was hanging behind the team’s bench each day as they played to a fifth-place finish.
“It was pretty neat to be able to share that story with the rest of the team,” Kris explained of the flag’s origins.
“We carried it to every event we went to. We were waving it in the stands. To have a little piece of the Team P.E.I. history there with us was a little bit of good luck as well.”
Bill said he is proud to have a third generation of the family competing in the event.
“It makes you pause and reflect,” he said, “about how good the concept of the Canada Games (is) with regard to promoting young people being active in sport.”
He added the event promotes nationalism and has opened doors to athletes from across the country to make national teams.
“I give a lot of the credit to the development of the Canada Games,” he said.
Kris is going to the Games this year as an assistant coach with the men’s soccer team. They will compete in the second week while his son and the hoops squad are in action during Week 1.
Kris, his wife, Tammy Wall, and their daughter, Alexis, will be attending the Games, watching Zachary and his teammates play, but also to cheer on other Island athletes and enjoy the culture aspects that come with the Games.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Kris said. “It was a pretty big accomplishment for (me and my brother) to go as a second generation. For Zach to do his own thing in a different sport and . . . now to take the flag to the Games is pretty neat for our family.”
Zachary is looking forward to playing the game he loves and spending time with his teammates while competing against the best players in the country. The Island squad went to Winnipeg last year for nationals but team members know the multisport event will make this year’s competition different.
Island athletes will get a sense that they are part of something bigger than their own sport tonight when the Island delegation of more than 300 athletes, coaches, managers and mission staff gather for the rally.
“To be able to take a group of 20 athletes and let them experience the Games and have a chance to compete in a mini Olympic setup is pretty awesome,” Kris said. “The boys are really looking forward to it. They’re starting to really understand that this is a pretty big event.”
CLEARING THE RECORD
Prince Edward Island defeated New Brunswick 4-0 to win bronze at the Bell Aliant Atlantic under-14 girls’ soccer championship Sunday at UPEI. Incorrect information appeared in Monday’s edition of The Guardian. Keanna Ryan, Elly Dobson, Emma Langley and Bianca Boutilier scored for P.E.I.
Zachary Wall will be the third generation of his family to compete at the Canada Games when this year’s competition begins later this month. From left are Wall, grandfather Bill McKinnon and father Kris McKinnon.