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Team NT opportunities for the seniors at 2024 Canada 55-Plus Games

Prema Manickum, left and Krish Manickum were Team NT’s representatives in lawn bowling at the 2022 Canada 55-Plus Games in Kamloops, B.C. Tourism Kamloops/Brenda Clark photo

Team NT travels to several sporting events around the country, giving athletes a chance to take on the best of Canada.

Those travels extend to seniors through the Canada 55-Plus Games, a national event which happens every two years. It’s a chance for those 55 years of age and older to play in the sport or activity of their choice in the appropriate age category.

There are 15 mandatory events which must happen at every Games and they range from hockey to darts to curling to golf. Seven other optional sports can be held at the discretion of the organizing committee, meaning there could be badminton, cycling and even lawn bowling.

Joan Hirons has been looking after most of the matters when it comes to organizing Team NT, a job she’s held for several years.

She said preparations for this year’s Games in Quebec City in August are going quite well at the present time.

“Around 75 potential participants (have expressed) interest in becoming members of our organization,” she said. “There is still space in most events, although the men’s hockey team is fully subscribed. The actual registrations will begin around the end of February.”

Anyone who wants to take part must be an active member of the NWT 55+ Games Association, which people can sign up for on either an annual or biennial basis.

As of now, Hirons said there are potential participants from Fort Smith, Fort Simpson, Hay River, Inuvik and Yellowknife and there is the chance to break the territory’s attendance record of 80. That number was set at the 2022 Games in Kamloops, B.C.

“Keep in mind, though, that these Games are further away than Kamloops, and that we only receive partial funding for travel,” she said.

Table tennis is the optional event that was chosen for Quebec City this year and Hirons said there will be players who will be taking part in singles competition, though there is the option for them to play doubles.

Unlike similar events, doubles teams can be made up of players from different jurisdictions.

Some of the more popular events over the years for Team NT have included cribbage, but Hirons said that won’t be the case this year, as is the case with curling as well possibly due to a lack of sheets to play on.

But pickleball seems to be picking up steam, she added.

“In 2022, there were two players, but this year there are already at least six,” she said.

The NWT 55+ Games Association does receive support from the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs and NWT Lotteries, while Sport North helps out with registrations and sending a representative to manage the team while on the ground.

“In the past, they have helped with selection of our walk-out uniforms, and the organization of our team meeting,” said Hirons.

The preparations will continue with a virtual meeting of the Canadian Senior Games Association board next week, she added, where the provincial/territorial directors will get plenty more information from the host committee.