Canada Games torch re­turns to P.G on Satur­day

The Prince George Citizen - - Local - Ted CLARKE Ci­ti­zen staff [email protected]­i­t­i­

Was that re­ally four years ago Prince Ge­orge hosted the Canada Win­ter Games?

We’ve nearly reached the fouryear mark since the 2015 Games, and the heat of the flame that passes through our city on Satur­day with the ar­rival of the 2019 MNP Canada Win­ter Games torch re­lay will serve as a re­minder.

The first-ever coast-to-coast torch re­lay is al­ready un­der­way and it will even­tu­ally lead to Red Deer, Alta., site of the 2019 Win­ter Games Feb. 15-March 3.

For fig­ure skater Justin Ham­pole, a bronze medal­ist at the 2015 Games in Prince Ge­orge, that mem­ory is still fresh in his mind and it stands as one of the high­lights of his ca­reer as a mem­ber of the North­ern B.C. Cen­tre for Skat­ing.

Ham­pole, who just re­turned from the Skate Canada Chal­lenge in Ed­mon­ton (see story on page 9), is among 12 torch­bear­ers se­lected for the Prince Ge­orge re­lay. He will carry the flame for the fi­nal seg­ment which leads back to the Civic Cen­tre.

“I just loved the Canada Games, it was one of the best ex­pe­ri­ences of my life so far and I’m just su­per-ex­cited to be part of the next Games, even if it’s just a tiny role,” said the 17-year-old Ham­pole, who was just 13 when he soared to the medal podium de­spite the pres­sure of com­pet­ing in front of a home­town au­di­ence at Kin 1, then known as Lake­wood Den­tal Arena.

“It was al­most a sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence. It was just in­sane to be in front of my home crowd and skate the way I did. I just have re­ally fond mem­o­ries at­tached to Canada Games and I’m ex­cited to make a few more on Satur­day.”

The whole city is in­vited to the cel­e­bra­tion at the Prince Ge­orge Con­fer­ence and Civic Cen­tre at Canada Games Plaza. The torch re­lay starts at 11 a.m. and runs through down­town, re­turn­ing to the Civic Cen­tre at 1:30 p.m.

The re­lay started Oct. 4 in Ot­tawa with the light­ing of the Roly McLen­nan torch from the Cen­ten­nial Flame on Par­lia­ment Hill. From there it went to Hal­i­fax. Mon­treal, St. Catharines, Lon­don, Thun­der Bay, Win­nipeg, Regina, Saska­toon, and Vic­to­ria. It was in Kelowna last week­end, the last stop be­fore it ar­rives in Prince Ge­orge on Satur­day.

Alyson Gour­ley-Cramer will start the re­lay Satur­day at 11, fol­lowed in or­der by Joel McKay, Prince Ge­orge-Macken­zie MLA Mike Mor­ris, Cather­ine HansenMcCarthy, Dar­lene McIn­tosh, Cari­boo-Prince Ge­orge MP Todd Do­herty, Ted Clarke, Mayor Lyn Hall, Mandi Gra­ham, Tony Ca­ble, Myrna Ca­ble and Ham­pole.

From Prince Ge­orge the torch will be flown to New­found­land for an un­sched­uled stop in St. John’s at the re­quest of New­found­land and Labrador premier Dwight Ball for one more tour un­til it hits Al­berta, Jan. 5.

Thir­teen Al­berta cities are on the torch re­lay route to Red Deer. It to­tal, 48 com­mu­ni­ties will see the torch pro­ces­sion.


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