Open letter to Sue Hylland, president and CEO of Canada Games Council:
The Canada Winter Games have great value, but some players and teams need more training in how to win or lose respectfully.
Congratulations to the Manitoba mens’ hockey team — silver medal winners.
I was very impressed with the play and spectator support for both teams. The officiating during the game was also well done.
Being lucky enough to have tickets for the gold-medal hockey game, I looked forward to the award ceremony.
However, I was disgusted by the lack of respect shown by the gold medallists.
During the presentation (while the silver medals to Manitoba were being presented), the gold medal winners left their presentation positions to gather and yell their cheer.
I couldn’t believe it. Expressing my disgust to a friend following the game, he said the losers of the bronze-medal game refused to shake hands with the winners at the end of that game.
Although this small performance disgusted me, I like hockey and continue to enjoy playing it.
Earlier in the week, while volunteering for archery, I watched that sport’s medal presentation.
The mutual respect and friendship shown by opponents was truly touching. We all expressed (some with tears) our sincere appreciation of the event.
Building mutual respect and friendship, as I understand it, is a major purpose of high-level athletics.
Winning is the goal, but how to win or lose, showing mutual respect for the opposition, is of ultimate importance in Canada and the world.
I hope many of these athletes will someday be on the world stage and present themselves respectfully.
Winning medals is exciting for the athletes, but I’m hoping during the rest of the Games and during future athletic events, we will witness only mutual respect and friendliness over and above the excitement or disappointment of the Games.
Dave Brekke, concerned spectator/volunteer, Whitehorse
Sue Hyland responds
I want to take this time to thank you for expressing your concerns about the behaviour of some of the athletes in the men’s hockey tournament.
Had I seen or heard what you did, I believe my reaction would have been like yours.
I want you to know that I will share your comments with the teams concerned.
These Games, and sport in general do, as you say, build mutual respect and understanding amongst individuals.
I truly believe, from the comments I have heard from volunteers working in and around the village operations, that the majority of the young athletes here are showing the respect you refer to in your letter.
What you saw the other day seems to have been an isolated incident. I believe however, it is still worth raising with the appropriate people.
The continuing education of our young on appropriate behaviour is important.
Thank you, again, for expressing your views. Also, thank you for the time you and all volunteers are giving to these Games — you are making the experience positive for everyone!
Sue Hylland, president and CEO, Canada Games Council, Whitehorse