Arctic Winter Games organizers announced Tuesday that the next edition will now take place in early 2023. A one-year postponement occurred because of the Covid 19 measures. The last Arctic Winter Games were held in Hay River and Fort Smith in 2018. The Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games (AWG), in the Canadian state of Alberta, have now been rescheduled for January 29 to February 4, 2023. The announcement was made by the Arctic Winter Games International Committee (AWGIC).
The delay means a five-year hiatus between the 2018 Arctic Winter Games and the 2023 Wood Buffalo Games. The Whitehorse edition of the Arctic Winter Games, which should have taken place in 2020, was cancelled entirely at the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic.
“The International Committee has undertaken a collaborative process with stakeholders to ensure that newly planned Games that work against full sporting event calendars, active venues and busy teams are achievable,” said John Flynn, President of the International Committee for the Arctic Winter Games.
“We are extremely pleased that the Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games have been rescheduled. We really miss our northern neighbors and look forward to seeing them again in 2023.”
Nearly 2,000 athletes, coaches and cultural delegates from northern Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon and the Nunavik region of northern Quebec participate in the international competition each year. Athletes from parts of Norway, Finland and Russia will also compete. Athletes compete in 20 different sports, including skiing, figure skating, gymnastics, snowboarding, and speed skating.
Melissa Blake, co-chair of Wood Buffalo’s host society, said she is “confident in the planning so far” and looks forward to “providing a world-class safe experience here at Wood Buffalo.”
Holding it in late January and early February is partly an attempt to avoid a conflict with the 2023 Canadian Winter Games, which are scheduled to be held on Prince Edward Island in February and March 2023.
Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal