This was a winter games they’ll never forget. That’s according to three of the 24 athletes who recently represented Grande Prairie at the 2019 Special Olympics Alberta Winter Games. James Thompson picked up a bronze medal in floor hockey. While this was his fourth times at the winter games and fourth bronze medal he says these games will be something he’ll remember for a long time.

“I’d say this is actually one of my favourite medals that we have ever won… I’m definitely gonna remember in the bronze medal game how Cole [Jarvie] scored four goals. That’s going to be fun to remember for a long time.”

The games ran from February 8th to 10th in Calgary. They are the largest sport event for individuals with intellectual disabilities in the province. Around 800 athletes from 64 communities across Alberta came together to compete in 7 different sports. Another one of those athletes was Shannon Thissen. This was her first time at the games and despite an injury before the curling semi-finals, her team brought home a bronze medal.

“It felt amazing. Even though I fell on the ice [and] kinda got a concussion. My team did wonderful and I couldn’t be any more proud of them.”

At the age of 54, athlete Doug Hutt also brought home a bronze medal in floor hockey. He says it means a lot to him to still be able to play after all these years.

“At age 54 I’m still playing. It’s hard to explain but it’s a really good achievement saying any age doesn’t matter. As long as you work hard and you work as a team and play as a team you can accomplish any team sport.”

The games were a qualifier to see who will make it onto Team Alberta for the 2020 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay, Ontario. That selection is expected to be made near the end of April.