Sibling rivalries are burning fires inside most families. On a rare occasion, we see family come together on a team. The Vancouver Canucks had the Sedin twins, and the Milwaukee Bucks have the Antetokounmpo brothers. However, the Newfoundland & Labrador Wheelchair basketball team has even more family ties.
Team N.L. had not one, not two, not three, but four different family ties on their squad. Twin sisters Julia and Kayla MacKinnon, brothers Elliot and Jack Sampson, brothers Alex and Jack Kennedy and finally the mother-son duo of Raeleen and Gavin Baggs.
The athletes came together to celebrate their support systems after a hard-fought game against Saskatchewan. Each athlete gifted a Canadian Tire Family Pin to one of their loved ones as a token of appreciation for their help and support in getting them where they are today. The team also received Sport Chek gift cards as a thank you from Canadian Tire.
“It can be a little stressful and other times encouraging honestly. It’s nice to have a member of your family on the team so you have that real opinion and person you need close to you,” said Gavin Baggs. “It does put a little stress on though because she knows what I should be doing and if I don’t reach the expectation she’ll help me through it. It is nice to have her on the bench.”
Gavin’s mother Raeleen is the manager of team N.L. and assured me they try to separate the mother-son connection come game time.
“It’s great. We try to really separate the mother-son thing when we’re on the bench. It’s nice though, I can always give him a sentimental text to say make sure you’re doing this make sure you’re doing that, more of a mom and outside of the manager,” said Raeleen.
Alex Kennedy played on the Wheelchair basketball team for N.L. at the Canada Games in Red Deer in 2019. This Canada Games, however, he got to share the experience with his brother Jack.
“It’s really cool. To be able to see my youngest brother on the court with us, it’s a really cool feeling as an older brother,” said Alex.
Jack Kennedy knows how special it is to appear at the Canada Games, being able to do it with his brother brings it to the next level for him though.
“It’s great, it’s not bad at all, it’s really special. It’s my first Games, Alex’s second, and being here for the first time is one thing but being here with Alex is another, it's been surreal,” said Jack.
The support for N.L.’s Wheelchair basketball team was a sight to behold. As a team, you can only have five players on the court at a time, but with the support they had, it was like having a sixth player beside them.
“It’s electric man, it’s so cool. We’ve had family and friends come out, we’ve had athletes from other sports come out and it really brings up the vibe in the room, in the gym and on the bench. It’s really special and we want to thank everybody for being here,” said Alex.
Jack Kennedy couldn’t agree with his brother more.
“Man, it’s been unreal. It’s the first time I’ve experienced a crowd like this, it’s great. We’ve been down almost every game we’ve played but it has never felt like that. Our family is behind us, our friends are behind us and our province is behind us. It’s been truly great,” said Jack.
Gavin Baggs was also extremely appreciative of the love and support shown during their games.
“It’s really encouraging. These are people who know that we’re a team who will fight no matter what the score is. If we’re leading or trailing, if we win or lose, we still know they will be behind us every step of the way. It’s really nice just having them here supporting us,” said Gavin.
Team N.L.’s bond didn’t stop on the court either. The Wheelchair basketball team took in Newfoundland & Labrador’s Men’s hockey team games to show their fellow Newfies’ support. The hockey team was also in attendance for the basketball games. The two squads were actually roommates in the athlete's village.
After 16 incredible days, the 29th edition of the Canada Games will officially conclude tonight with the Closing Ceremony from Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown at 7:30 PM AST.
There have been records smashed and countless debuts made by athletes here at the 2023 Canada Games, but yesterday, history was made when female boxing got underway on P.E.I.
Curling in Canada is rich in history, with the first curling club established in Montreal in 1807. This morning, 216 years later, another first in Canadian curling history took place as Mixed Doubles Curling made its Canada Games debut at the Montague Curling Club.
Women’s hockey at the Canada Games returns to P.E.I. where it made its original debut in 1991. In the tournaments since then, numerous Canadian hockey idols have laced up and begun their glorious careers at the Canada Games.
In just six contests this Winter Games, McKenna recorded 29 points including 14 goals, smashing a Canada Games record that stood for 28 years. The previous record for points in a tournament was 27, set by Francois Methot of Quebec in 1995 and tied by Kelsey Tessier of New Brunswick in 2007.
With the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games officially underway, the Canada Games Council (CGC) and the 2023 Host Society are thrilled to celebrate the nation’s top young athletes and their families and friends with the launch of Canada Games House, presented by Canadian Tire.
Let the Games begin! Reminiscent of an Island kitchen party, the athletes were all smiles and a capacity crowd was brought to its feet during the Opening Ceremony of the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games.
After many years of planning, the town of North Rustico reached a historic milestone today with the opening of Eliyahu Wellness Centre at Canada Games Place.
The PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society is ready to give a warm Maritime welcome to over 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches as they descend on PEI’s friendly shores for the 29th edition of the Canada Games.
It’s only fitting that boxing occurred during Week Two of this year’s Canada Winter Games, coinciding with Women’s History Month, which runs the month of March.
Team Alberta’s figure skater, Lia Cho, is this year’s youngest athlete at Canada Winter Games. She is only 10 years old and stands just over four rulers high.
For the first time in Canada Games history, medals will be awarded in mixed doubles curling. The event made its historic debut this week at the Montague Curling Club.
On day 13 of the 2023 Canada Winter Games, the host province, Prince Edward Island, landed on the podium for the first time. Lucas Macdonald of Stratford, claimed the silver medal in the Men’s +81 kg Judo division Thursday afternoon.
Chants of “Novaaa Scotiaaa” echoed throughout Chi-Wan Young Sports Centre in Charlottetown as proud fans watched Ritu Shah and Thomas Ashton add two silver medals to Team Nova Scotia’s growing medal count.
When people speak of the legacy of the 2023 Canada Winter Games the conversation usually focuses on two things, the lifelong memories people take away from the Games and the new sports facilities the Games leave behind.
At the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta’s Evelyn Beaton took home a gold medal for the individual female - 44 kg Judo division.
Sport and competition often draw metaphoric comparisons to life. For PEI’s Crawford family, it’s remarkable how a sport with a tiny target has brought life’s bigger picture into clear view.Sport and competition often draw metaphoric comparisons to life. For PEI’s Crawford family, it’s remarkable how a sport with a tiny target has brought life’s bigger picture into clear view.
Sporting bright green and blue uniforms, the PEI 2023 volunteers are a dedicated and committed group, intent on making sure the Games provide the best possible experience for the young athletes representing their respective provinces and territories.