A look back at the Halifax 2011 Canada Winter Games

The delegation from the 2015 Canada Games Host Society takes a look back at the 2011 Canada Games in Halifax.


Rod Black Essay – Halifax 2011 Canada Games

TSN’s Rod Black shares his final thoughts on the Halifax 2011 Canada Games.

A great legacy for synchronised swimming in Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Synchronized Swim Team

Halifax, February 26, 2011 – The 2011 Canada Games synchronized swimming events have only just come to an end, but in Nova Scotia, thoughts are already focused on the Games’ legacy for the sport in Nova Scotia..

There is of course the physical legacy, which includes the construction of a new pool and the purchase of a new sound system. But there is also the potential to develop a future Olympic medallist.

“From a promotional point of view, our sport was presented in front a full crowd every day”, said provincial head coach Colleen Aird. “We did a good job promoting the event among the general population and our hope is now that the young people who watched the events will come forward and contact clubs.”

Aside from engaging new athletes, there is also the challenge of retaining those who have been involved in the sport for a long time and those who are just getting started, according to Synchro Nova Scotia’s Executive Director, Pam Kidney. “This week, they saw athletes that can inspire them”.

“The Canada Games are a great opportunity for our athletes, parents and officials to witness a high-level competition, here in Nova Scotia”, added Colleen Aird. “It’s something that you don’t often have a chance to see in the Maritimes.”

“The goal now is that our athletes who participated in the Canada Games continue to compete. They had the opportunity to talk to other athletes about training hours, objectives, etc. It was very inspiring for them. We hope that these athletes, who were only in their second year of training at the national level, will be more comfortable in future national competitions and will continue to progress no longer for a one-time event, but on the long term.”

All in the Family

For team manager Kim Masson and her family, badminton was an unknown sport prior to moving to Nunavut, as volleyball, was the family’s passion until 5 years ago.  The Masson family then moved to Iqaluit to take advantage of a teaching opportunity.  Fast forward a few years, and Kim Masson along with two, Chantal 19 and Britney 16, of her 3 daughters are at the 2011 Canada Winter Games representing the Territory of Nunavut and playing one of the world’s most popular sports.

Chantelle stated that it was very nice for her to have her sister and mother present to lean on, and as these were her second Canada Winter Games, she explained how these games were a better experience for her, crediting team chemistry.

Talking to Britney, she explained that she has only been playing badminton for 3 years and that she will have the opportunity to play for Nunavut at the 2015 games, due to her age.  As per Britney: “I am so glad I came”.  

When asked how Kim felt living such an experience with her daughters she replied: “I am very fortunate, not many mothers can experience these games with their daughters”.  The Masson sisters played Women’s Doubles together and as Britney indicated, when things do not go well, we know to just walk away and give each other space on the court.

All three credit Calvin Holoboff for Nunavut’s performance at these games and the team chemistry that has developed.

An Inspiration to a Province – and the Nation

By: Chris Surette

Jerry Zhang had his sights set on competing at the 2011 Canada Games.

The 17-year old Badminton player from Fredericton, NB was ranked in the top-5 for men’s doubles in Canada and top-10 singles for under-16 in 2010.

Zhang was vying for a spot on Team New Brunswick for the Canada Games, but was diagnosed with cancer a week before selection camp began on December 27th, 2010.

After a successful year competing in the under-16 category, he moved up to under-19 this past year and competed in a Junior Elite tournament in Toronto in November. He looked strong at the tournament, competing in men’s singles and making it the quarter finals in doubles, with his partner from British Columbia.

But after competing in a tournament in New Brunswick on the weekend of December 18th, Zhang was diagnosed with a Gem Cell Tumor and started chemo therapy December 20th at the IWK in Halifax.

Zhang has been in Halifax ever since, receiving multiple chemo therapy treatments on his way to recovery.

Zhang is here at the Canada Games Centre to cheer on his New Brunswick teammates as the team competition got under way. His presence alone is an inspiration to his teammates.

Table Tennis’ Legacy at the 2011 Halifax Canada Games

Every sport participating at the 2011 Halifax Canada Games is left with a legacy.  For table tennis, that legacy is the equipment, valued at $20,000, which will be used at the Halifax Mainland Commons.  The equipment is 14 brand new tables and surrounds.

A local group of volunteers will manage the club.  The Halifax Mainland Common Table Tennis Club (HMCTTC) will start on Monday, March 14th and will be open from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. every Monday after that until June 27th. 

Clayton Park, where the Halifax Mainland Commons is located, is a diverse community so the club is hoping to attract many new members.  In addition, this gives the Nova Scotia Table Tennis Association elite training opportunities for able body and paralympic athletes and host national and international events.

Table Tennis is receiving tremendous exposure at these games.  Every day, media outlets such as TSN, Global, CBC, Globe and Mail and APTN have been doing stories on table tennis.  This has provided for an increased interest in the sport from Halifax residences.

Peter McDonald, one of the local organizers for the HMCTTC has said “we have received 8-9 emails already of people that watched the table tennis event looking for more information or wanted to come to the club.”  Initially, most members will come from the Halifax Table Tennis Club, located at the Saint Theresa’s Church on North and Dublin.  This club will continue to stay open.  Peter says “we will keep it open and focus on starting a junior program there.”  The times and days of the week are still to be determined.

For more information regarding the Halifax Mainland Commons Table Tennis Club, contact Vincent Pothier at vop@ns.sympatico.ca or Ali Beg at iftikhar.beg@gmail.com

For more information about the Nova Scotia Table Tennis Association, go to http://www.freewebs.com/nstta/

To watch the live feed of table tennis at the 2011 Halifax Canada Games, go to http://canadagames.bellaliant.net/live.php?y=2011&m=02&d=24

A Boy amongst Men

Although Gabriel Denis was ineligible to win a medal in his first two races, this young athlete has shown outstanding Sportsmanship throughout these games and life in general.

Gabriel Denis is 17 years old from Matheson Ontario, a small town outside of Timmins.  Denis started cross country skiing three years ago and has improved dramatically during that time. Born with cerebral palsy, Gabriel’s balance and speech are affected.  Since Balance is such a crucial component of cross country ski technique, it makes his efforts so much more remarkable.

Denis is competing in the Paranordic Standing competition.  Unfortunately, he only has two other competitors and both are double his age. Because there are less than four in his category, when finishing in third place, he is ineligible to receive a medal.  Gabriel Denis has finished 3rd in both races he has competed in here at the Canada Winter Games.  In Tuesday’s Sprint Qualification round, he did have the 2nd fastest time, but finished 3rd in the final head to head competition.

Not to down play the efforts of his two competitors, as their efforts are equally remarkable with each of them with a story of their own. However, Gabriel has not allowed the Canada Games technicality to get him down. You can always find him with a smile, a joke to share and a positive comment.  He is a positive role model for the whole Ontario Cross Country contingent and is respected by his coaches and peers for his outstanding “sunny” attitude.  When at home in Matheson, Gabriel volunteers with his community Volunteer Fire Department along with jumping in to help his community in other ways as well.

Gabriel Denis dreams of qualifying for a future Paralympics after finishing college.  I have no doubt that if positive attitude and a great work ethic are the recipe to success, then this young man will achieve his goals.

If the Canada Games gives out Sportsmanship awards, this young man should be first in line.