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Wood Buffalo will host the 2022 Arctic Winter Games

(Fort McMurray, AB – February 8, 2019) – The Arctic Winter Games are coming to Wood Buffalo. John Rodda, the vice president of the international organizing committee, made the official announcement that the RMWB will be the host region for the 2022 Games at a press conference at MacDonald Island Park this morning. 

Mayor Don Scott, Ricardo Miranda the Alberta Minister of Culture and Tourism and Kim Rizzi a Co-Chair for the Wood Buffalo 2022 Arctic Winter Games Bid Committee joined John Rodda at the press conference to share their excitement for the region’s successful bid. RMWB Councillors, Bid Committee members, Alberta Sport Connection and community supporters were in attendance to celebrate the Arctic Winter Games returning to Wood Buffalo. 

“I’m excited that our region will be hosting a major international event and welcoming thousands of visitors to our community,” said Mayor Don Scott. “It’s an opportunity for Wood Buffalo to showcase our world-class facilities, enthusiastic volunteers and incredible community spirit and diversity. I’d like to thank the Arctic Winter Games International Committee for choosing Wood Buffalo, the Bid Committee for their hard work and our residents for their support.” 

The Arctic Winter Games are the largest northern multi-sport and culture event in the world. Athletes from the circumpolar north will travel to Wood Buffalo to compete in traditional arctic sports, Dene games and other popular winter sports over the span of seven days. In addition to sports, the Games will feature cultural and social events throughout the week to celebrate our diversity, heritage and promote an exchange of values between residents and visitors.

“The Arctic Winter Games place a large focus on the cultural component of the Games and I believe this is a key reason why our bid was successful,” said Kim Rizzi, Co-Chair of the Wood Buffalo 2022 Arctic Winter Games Bid Committee. “Our rural and Indigenous communities were included in our bid and will be involved in the Games, as we showcase and celebrate our cultural diversity.” 

Wood Buffalo’s bid to host the 2022 Arctic Winter Games was led by a bid committee, which was comprised of a diverse group of community stakeholders. The committee created a comprehensive bid package and planned a bid tour to showcase our community to members of the Arctic Winter Games International Committee. The bid tour was held on January 15, 2019 and included a community pep rally, cultural performances and a tour of the proposed facilities in Wood Buffalo’s bid. 

“Today is a great day for Wood Buffalo,” said RJ Steenstra, Co-Chair of the Wood Buffalo 2022 Arctic Winter Games Bid Committee. “Our region has the energy, experience and excitement to make these Games exceptional, and I can’t wait to share our community with guests, coaches and athletes. Winning this bid was a team effort and we could not have done it without the strong commitment of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Mayor and Councillors, the business community, social profit sector, residents and the countless number of volunteers.”

Over 2000 athletes from Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Northern Alberta, Nunavut, Greenland, Yamal (Russia), Nunavik Quebec and Sapmi (Indigenous peoples of Norway, Sweden and Finland) are expected to participate in the 2022 Arctic Winter Games. The majority of athletes are twelve to eighteen years old. 

A host society will now be formed to manage and stage the Games. Council will appoint the 2022 Arctic Winter Games Board of Directors, who will oversee the staging of the Games. The host society will also include a games manager, coordinators and volunteers. A finalized budget for the Games will be presented to Council by the host society. 

For more information about the 2022 Arctic Winter Games in Wood Buffalo, please visit the RMWB webpage here, the Bid Committee’s webpage wbgamesbid.ca or the Facebook page here

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