New Brunswick Tribune

Saturday, December 9, 2023

For the first time since 2019, the East Coast Games are returning

For the first time in 2019, the East Coast Games are returning.

Key Takeaways:

  • McPherson, the co-chair of the East Coast Games, is thrilled to see organized sports return after a two-year hiatus due to the epidemic.
  • Gary Crossman is the president of Saint John Metro Ball Hockey as well as the vice-president of the New Brunswick Ball Hockey Association.

Dave McPherson is ecstatic to see young athletes back on the field and parents in the stands.

McPherson, the East Coast Games co-chair, is overjoyed to see organized sports return after two years of pandemic limitations.

“It’s great to see youngsters back in action, on a pitch playing football behind us, we’ve had tennis, softball, and lacrosse going on today, and it’s a Sunday morning at 10 o’clock,” McPherson remarked as he stood by Emera Field in Saint John.

His excitement will only grow as the East Coast Games return in June, which haven’t been held in Saint John in nearly three years.

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“All of a sudden, in January through February, we’re looking at the reports and saying, ‘hey, we have to try this and also see what happens,’ and of course, the other problem we ran into is that an awful lot of sports haven’t done anything in two years,” McPherson explained.

From June 10 to 12, over 1,600 athletes will descend on Saint John to compete in Atlantic Canada’s largest annual multi-sport event. Depending on the sport, the games will feature participants of various ages, from children to seniors.

Several locations have been reserved to suit various sports, according to McPherson. The 2022 East Coast Games will feature 13 sports, including ball hockey, one of the newest.

Gary Crossman is the president of Saint John Metro Ball Hockey and the New Brunswick Ball Hockey Association’s vice-president. Crossman, a fervent supporter of the sport, said he is always pushing for ball hockey to be included in major competitions. When he initially heard about the East Coast Games, he was ecstatic to see his favorite sport included, only to have his expectations dashed by the epidemic.

Crossman returned with a new strategy to engage young athletes this time.

For the first time in 2019, the East Coast Games are returning.
For the first time in 2019, the East Coast Games are returning. Image from The Rink Live

“I contacted all high schools and asked if we could get them engaged, and eight schools responded,” Crossman said.

Participants from 8 local high schools will compete in a tournament at the BGC Greater Saint John in its first appearance at the games.

According to Crossman, ball hockey in the games will be helpful to everyone.

“[Players] will begin telling their friends, and their friends will join ball hockey.” Our grownups will go watch the games and be enthralled by them, and they will want to participate as well. It’s significant for the East Coast Games, but it’s also crucial for the growth of our sport of ball hockey.”

According to McPherson, the East Coast Games began in 2015 and have since welcomed 10,000 athletes. While it was originally intended to bring together various events and sports for a weekend, it has subsequently evolved into an unexpected economic generator for the Saint John region.

According to McPherson, it has had a $1 million economic impact.

“You know, you get the little ones, and guess who’s coming?” Mom and dad, grandma, and grandpa are coming, and they’ll be sleeping in hotels, dining at restaurants, and doing whatever else they want. Someone who comes in on the weekend is spending a considerable amount of money.”

Source: Global News

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