B.C.’s female hockey team after winning bronze at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer. Cloverdale-area resident Jenn Gardiner is pictured in the top row, fourth from left. (Photo: twitter.com/BCHockey_Female)

Medal-winning Surrey athletes brought the heat in Canada Winter Games deep freeze

Record medal haul for Team B.C. in Red Deer during a record-setting cold snap

Surrey-area athletes will have some warm memories of the 2019 Canada Winter Games despite a record cold snap in Red Deer.

The Alberta city was in a 40-year-low deep freeze for much of the athletic competition, held from Feb. 15 to March 3.

Team B.C. earned a record 30 gold medals during the Games, along with 28 silver and 29 bronze – a total of 87, good for fourth overall in the medal haul among provinces and territories.

Sixteen Surrey-based athletes, coaches and staff were named to Team B.C., along with six from Delta and two from White Rock.

Table tennis player Fiona Nie, a Grade 8 student at Semiahmoo Secondary in South Surrey, won two gold medals – one in the team event and one in doubles.

In curling, Surrey’s Dawson Ballard, as second, won gold with Team B.C. after recording a five-ender in the seventh end to break open a tight game and earn a 7-2 victory over Ontario’s Daniel Del Conte. It was the first gold medal in men’s curling in Team B.C. history at the Canada Winter Games.

Also on the ice, Cloverdale resident Jenn Gardiner, 17, won a bronze medal with B.C.’s female hockey team, following a 5-4 victory over Ontario. It was the first medal for the women’s Team B.C. program at the Games since they won a silver medal in 1991.

On March 5, Gardiner was named the Female Midget AAA League (FMAAA) Player of the Month for February, after scoring nine points in three games.

Over her three-year career with the FMAAA’s Greater Vancouver Comets, Gardiner has shattered every individual player record in the league, including all-time goals (99), assists (87) and points (176), along with three “most in a season” records for 2018-19.

“Wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything these past 3 years without my coach Mark Taylor and my unbelievable teammates who inspire me to become a better person and hockey player every day,” Gardiner tweeted on March 6.

In January, Gardiner was among Team Canada’s golden girls after winning the International Ice Hockey Federation’s U18 Women’s World Championships in Japan. Next season, she will continue her hockey career at Ohio State University.

In Red Deer, Team B.C. included a delegation of 349 athletes, coaches and support staff.

“Though B.C. recorded 88 medals with home-field advantage at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, the 30 gold medals was a record that most didn’t see coming as the temperature plunged throughout the two weeks of competition,” noted a Team B.C. release on Monday.

“Though British Columbia comprises 13% of the population in Canada, Team BC won 17% of the medals at the Games.”

Outside of the field of play in Red Deer, Team B.C. donated more than 600 pairs of mitts to the Mitts for Many project, in support of the city’s Mustard Seed organization.

Up next, Team B.C. will take part in the 2021 Canada Summer Games in Niagara.

• RELATED STORIES:

Team B.C.’s Canada Winter Games list includes 24 from Surrey, White Rock and Delta.

VIDEO: Here’s what B.C. is wearing to the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Cloverdale curler headed to Canada Winter Games.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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