Grande Prairie will not be able to host 2022 Arctic Winter Games. On Wednesday, the Arctic Winter Games International Committee announced they would instead be hosted by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

In a statement released by the city, Bid Committee Co-Chairs Owen Lewis and Jodi Winnicky expressed their disappointment at the decision but thanked everyone involved.

“It was an honour to showcase our welcoming, diverse, and inclusive city to the International Committee… We feel we submitted a thoughtful bid and a powerful tour, and although are disappointed in the International Committee’s decision, we wish the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo well as they prepare to host the 2022 Arctic Winter Games.”

Both Grande Prairie and the Wood Buffalo Region were the last two places in the running when the selection committee came here on January 14th. Grande Prairie last hosted the games in 2010, Wood Buffalo had them in 2004. Site Selection Committee Vice-President and Chair John Rodda said it was a tough decision in the end.

“It was a difficult choice, both communities have the facilities, spirit and motivation. The Site Selection Committee was impressed with the diversity, engagement and support exhibited in both communities.”

The games are an international sporting competition and Indigenous culture showcase held every two years. They bring together athletes from northern Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, the Yukon, Nunavik, Quebec, Alaska, Greenland, the Sapmi region that includes northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwestern Russia, and the Yamal region of Russia.

The Wood Buffalo Region will be signed in as the official host at a later date.