A major honour
Team P.E.I. receives prestigious John Fletcher Spirit Award during closing ceremonies
TORONTO – Team P.E.I. could not have asked for a better ending to the 2017 North American Indigenous Games.
The 40-member contingent, consisting of athletes, coaches, chaperones and mission staff, was named this year’s recipient of the John Fletcher Spirit Award during Saturday night’s closing ceremonies. The award is presented to the contingent that best demonstrates the spirit of teamwork, respect, fair play and integrity.
“It is a very prestigious award,” said Team P.E.I. chefde-mission Craig MacDougall, who noted the event attracted 4,800 athletes from across North America. “It’s a reflection of both our coaches and athletes.
“When they are recognized from chef de missions from across North America, that says a lot.”
MacDougall described receiving the prestigious award as an “incredible moment.” He continued: “You go to these Games hoping the kids enjoy it and have fun, but when you receive an award like that it is extra special and encourages you to keep doing what you are doing.”
Overall, MacDougall described the weeklong competition as a success for Team P.E.I., which was represented in five sports – badminton, swimming, athletics, 3D archery and rifle shooting. He noted a lot more than final scores and results go into gauging success.
“A lot of kids are leaving with accomplishments they may not have ever thought were possible,” said MacDougall, who noted Team P.E.I.’s athletes registered a number of personal-best performances in all sports. “It’s quite an experience for all of us.”
P.E.I. won three bronze medals – Logen Lewis in 3D archery, Nikeda Sark in under16 singles badminton and Sark and Keely Dyment in under-16 doubles badminton. All three athletes are from Lennox Island.
“Having the kids stand on the podium representing the province and their community was an amazing feeling,” beamed MacDougall. “It was a total team effort, and couldn’t have been done without the good coaching, the work of the mission staff and the support of their families and community.”
“It is a very prestigious award. It’s a reflection of both our coaches and athletes. When they are recognized from chefs de missions from across North America, that says a lot.” Team P.E.I. chef-de-mission Craig MacDougall
MacDougall said one goal for the next North American Indigenous Games in 2020 is to increase the number of P.E.I. athletes.
“We have kids already talking about wanting to come back and win gold, and there are a few who want to coach now,” said MacDougall. “These Games have a very positive effect on the athletes.
“As they grow, they are receiving very good coaching and then they want to continue to be involved and give back.”
MacDougall, who is from Summerside, said Team P.E.I.’s coaches, chaperones and mission staff will meet shortly and discuss what worked and what needs to be changed. Then the preparations for 2020 will begin.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” assessed MacDougall. “We are going to take a couple of days to reflect and then move forward. We are pumped for 2020.”
Team P.E.I. chef-de-mission Craig MacDougall, second left, accepts the prestigious John Fletcher Spirit Award during the closing ceremonies of the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto, Ont., on Saturday night. Also taking part in the presentation are, from left: Michael Cvitkovic, general manager of the North American Indigenous Games host society; Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry, chief executive officer of the North American Indigenous Games host society; Robin Enman, Team P.E.I.’s badminton head coach, and Duncan Crawford, Team P.E.I’s 3D archery head coach.
Members of Team P.E.I. pose for a group shot at the closing ceremonies of the North American Indigenous Games in Toronto, Ont., on Saturday night. Team P.E.I. was named the recipient of the John Fletcher Spirit Award, which goes to the contingent that best demonstrates the spirit of teamwork, respect, fair play and integrity. The P.E.I. representatives arrived home early Sunday evening.