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"We Did It!": Wood Buffalo to host the 2022 Arctic Winter Games

RMWB Council and Arctic Winter Games committee members celebrate the awarding of the 2022 Arctic Winter Games to Wood Buffalo at Macdonald Island on February 8, 2019. Photo taken by Phil Wood.

It’s “officially” official. Wood Buffalo will host the 2022 Arctic Winter Games.

Dozens gathered at Macdonald Island for the official announcement.

Mayor Don Scott thanked John Rodda of the Arctic Winter Games International Committee, councillors and bid committee members for their effort and looked forward to the Games being a “big success”.

“I see this as more than a success for the region. I see this as sending away ambassadors, creating a great opportunity for the young people of our region, and for young people abroad.”

Over 2000 young athletes from Alaska, Yukon, N.W.T., Nunavut, Nunavik Quebec, Northern Alberta, Greenland, Yamal (Russia), and Sapmi (Indigenous peoples of Scandinavia) are expected to come to Wood Buffalo and participate in the Games with most between the ages of 12 and 18.

Wood Buffalo eeked in front of Grande Prairie, Alta., in the final decision process. John Rodda explained what put our region over the top in the final vote.

“The community spirit was outstanding, the facilities are outstanding. Bringing youth in the fold at young ages and teaching the youth what it means to volunteer and be part of the community; that was very impressive as well.”

Finally, co-chair of the bid committee Kim Rizzi thanked the many sponsors and supporters, and then issued another challenge.

“We’re going to need volunteers, we need 3000 people to sign up and get trained, so when these kids come to our community, we show them the best of Wood Buffalo and that’s important.”

The Games should take place on Mar. 13-19, 2022.

What happens now?

Council’s next meeting will take place on Feb. 12, 2019.

The vote to remodel Shell Place into an enclosed facility should be top of mind.

A temporary indoor structure cost the Municipality $1,000,000 to build when Wood Buffalo last hosted the Arctic Winter Games in 2004.