Team NT tying up the loose ends in advance of Canada Winter Games

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On Jan. 15, there will be exactly 30 days to the start of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

That means Bill Othmer’s days will get busier – not that they aren’t already.

Sam Skinner of Inuvik, seen during the 2018 Arctic Winter Games bantam boys hockey tournament, will be part of the boys hockey team that will compete at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., next month.
Sam Skinner of Inuvik, seen during the 2018 Arctic Winter Games bantam boys hockey tournament, will be part of the boys hockey team that will compete at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., next month.
NNSL file photo

Othmer is Team NT’s chef de mission for the 2019 Canada Winter Games, which get underway in Red Deer, Alta., on Feb. 15.

With a little more than a month to go before the big show begins, it’s all about making sure the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed.

“All of our teams have been picked so that’s one big thing out of the way,” he said.

With the Games being a two-week affair, the sports are split into week one and week two. The territory will have athletes in both weeks with biathlon, gymnastics, speed skating, table tennis and boys hockey playing in the first week. Week two will be busier as archery, badminton, skiing, curling, figure skating, judo, squash and girls hockey take over.

“We have 71 total going for the first week and 54 for the second,” said Othmer.

You’ll notice those numbers don’t exactly add up to 159 and that’s because some athletes are coming from outside the territory, specifically those who are either going to school or who are training at academies outside the NWT, added Othmer.

The first wave of athletes will arrive in Red Deer on Feb. 14 but the flying arrangements will be much different this year. The Canada Games Council and Sport Canada have booked scheduled flights for everyone this year for the first time, a big change from the charter flights that the territory’s athletes are used to.

“It’s something new the council and Sport Canada are doing this year,” said Othmer. “The best part about it is the participants aren’t on the hook for any charges when it comes to flying so that’s a big positive.”

It’s the same deal for those athletes who are flying in to meet the team in Red Deer, he added.

The uniform is in and while Othmer wouldn’t spill the beans of what it looks like, he said the colour scheme will match what it’s been for past Canada Games – a mixture of navy and sky blue, the territory’s colours.

“It needs to match the official colours of the territory as outlined by the council,” he said.

The next steps for Team NT include meetings with the mission staff, which will happen on a weekly basis now that the time is drawing nearer, said Othmer, and there will be coaches meetings as well.

“It’s all about making sure everyone is informed and everyone knows what’s going on,” he said.

More than anything, Othmer is just hopeful the athletes can put on a good show.

“We’ve been raising the bar the last couple of Games,” he said. “I don’t want to put any pressure on the athletes but there are a couple of sports where we think good things can happen and I think people may know those sports, if they’ve been paying attention. I just hope we’re prepared and ready for Red Deer.”

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