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St. Albert youths medal at Alberta Winter Games

Podium appearances for local badminton, ringette, moguls, and hockey players
SILVER BOLTS — Members of the St. Albert Raiders Bolts show off the silver medals they won in at the 2024 Alberta Winter Games in Grande Prairie on Feb. 19, 2024. They were some of the 36 St. Albert athletes at the event. KEVIN BALUK/Photo

Some St. Albert youths brought back silver medals from Grande Prairie this month after taking second place at the Alberta Winter Games.

Thousands of coaches, parents, and young athletes were in Grande Prairie from Feb. 16-19 for the 2024 Alberta Winter Games. Held every two years, the games see some of Alberta’s finest athletes aged 11-16 compete in 18 sports for fame and medals.

About 36 coaches and athletes from St. Albert were at the games participating in artistic swimming, badminton, figure skating, hockey, judo, ringette, skiing, and volleyball.

Silvers and bronzes

St. Albert athletes brought back 18 medals from the Games, 13 of which were captured by the St. Albert Raiders Bolts female hockey team.

Bolts captain and Richard Fowler student Whitney MacMillan said this was her first time at the Games, which saw the Bolts play against teams from across the province and sleep overnight on mattresses in a local school. The opening ceremonies saw the team stand alongside hundreds of other athletes at the Bonnetts Energy Centre with thousands of people in the stands.

“It was pretty awesome,” MacMillan said.

MacMillan, 12, said the Bolts went into the gold medal game against the Lloydminster Western Financial Steelers with a serious handicap: two players benched with injuries and two, including herself, sick. The Steelers were also a very competitive team that had gone undefeated against the Bolts this year.

“We were up 2-1, and we just kind of fell apart after that,” MacMillan said, losing 7-2 to the Steelers and settling for silver.

Also at the Games was badminton player and Paul Kane student Vina Basu, 16, who took silver in the mixed doubles competition and bronze in the team event. She teamed up with her old partner Zoyi Chan from Sherwood Park for the mixed doubles.

“When we heard we’d be partners for the Winter Games, we were very unprepared,” Basu said, as the two of them had been playing with different partners for the previous year. Training was also a challenge, as Chan lives in a different community.

Basu said she and Chan had a lot of good matches but sometimes struggled because of lack of practice and fatigue from playing four days of games.

“Personally, I think I could have played a little better,” she said, as she was nervous for her first time at the Games, but she was happy overall with the result.

Basu said the Games were a great bonding experience that helped her meet new people and learn about other sports. Her next goal was to reach the Alberta junior provincials in April.

While Basu has now aged out of the Games, Whitney said she hoped to make it to the next Games in 2026. She also hoped the Bolts would get a rematch against the Steelers in this year's playoffs.

“It’s honestly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Whitney said of the Games.

“It’s really cool.”

Other St. Albert medallists at the games were Alice and Ivy Boddez (bronze, ringette) and Isla Mitchell (bronze, U14 female moguls).

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Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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