Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)

New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

The international committee for the Games announced April 6 that the postponed 2022 event set for Wood Buffalo, Alberta has been moved to Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023.

In March, officials said the multi-sport competition, which draws upwards of 2,000 athletes from across the circumpolar north, would be postponed as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt.

The Games happen every two years and were scheduled to take place in Wood Buffalo, Alta. from March 6 to 12, 2022.

It would be the first Games since the 2020 edition in Whitehorse was abruptly cancelled, just eight days before they were to start, due to COVID.

In the April 6 statement, officials with the Games’ international committee said the committee worked in collaboration with the Wood Buffalo host society and participating contingents to secure the new 2023 dates.

“We are extremely delighted to have rescheduled the Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games to a date that accommodates both the host community and host society as well as our valued chefs de mission from participating units,” international committee president John Flynn said. “We truly miss our northern neighbours and look forward to seeing them again in 2023.”

The statement also reads that as part of the Games’ ongoing commitment to safety, the maximum number of coaching positions will be increased. The new positions are expected to enhance the participant experience and protect athletes, coaches and cultural delegates from vulnerable situations. A working group will be formed to come up with an implementation plan for the Games and future Safe Sport initiatives.

The rescheduled Games will not impact the current Games cycle with the 2024 Arctic Winter Games still set to go ahead. The Matanuska Susitna Borough in Alaska has submitted a bid to host the 2024 edition of the Games.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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