This Family Day long weekend will provide a healthy dose of a sports smorgasbord for Prince George athletes, teams, volunteers and fans.

I am not sure I can remember another weekend that offers so many high profile events that have P.G. connections.

The much anticipated World Para Nordic Skiing Championships have landed in Prince George.

The Prince George Cougars and Cariboo Cougars are home, the P.G. Spruce Kings take their battle for first place on the road, the UNBC women’s basketball team travels into unchartered territory, the national Scotties is at the other end of the country with Prince George personnel on the B.C. team, and the Canada Winter Games (remember them?) will open in Red Deer.

P.G. has been home to many memorable events but history is about to be made.

The Para Nordic Skiing Championships mark the first world championship held in Prince George.

The City of P.G. was awarded the event on December 9, 2016.

Since then Kevin Pettersen (Chair of the Local Organizing Committee) and his team have done a top-notch job making sure these Championships at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club run smoothly.

Spectacular Opening Ceremonies are planned for tonight at 7:00 at the Prince George Civic Centre.

The competition runs on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 am.

Tuesday and Friday are training days.

A more detailed schedule is here.

118 men and women athletes from 19 countries compete in four cross-country skiing and four biathlon events.

Canada is represented by 11 athletes (three from B.C.) and three guides.

They are:

Collin Cameron – Sudbury ON
Derek Zaplotinky – Smokey AB
Brittany Hudak – Prince Albert SK
Emily Young – Kelowna BC
Mark Arendz – Hartsville PEI
Kyle Barber – Lively ON
Yves Bourque – Benancour QC
Ethan Hess – Pemberton BC
Jesse Bachinsky – Kenora ON
Natalie Wilkie – Salmon Arm BC
Brian McKeever – Calgary AB

Graham Nishikawa (guide) – Whitehorse YK
Russell Kennedy (guide) – Canmore AB
Simon Lamarche (guide – Quebec City

The athletes are grouped into three classes: sitting, standing, and visually impaired.

It has been nearly five weeks (Jan 12) since the PG Cougars last win.

The Cougars will have plenty of opportunities to end their losing streak (currently 13 games) when they
host the Victoria Royals tonight and Saturday plus the Everett Silvertips Monday and Tuesday.

The P.G. Spruce Kings have won nine straight but so have the Chilliwack Chiefs.

The Spruce Kings have the second-best record in the Mainland Division and the entire BCHL, five points behind the Chiefs with four to play, three of them against Chilliwack.

This weekend the Spruce Kings visit Chilliwack Sunday and Surrey Monday before hosting the Chiefs on Feb. 22nd and 23rd.

The Cariboo Cougars are heading to the homestretch.

The 3rd place Major Midget Cougars host the 9th place South Island Royals Saturday afternoon at 4:00 and Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. at Kin 1.

The UNBC women’s basketball has never played in the Canada West quarterfinals.

This will change when they visit the heavily favoured Calgary Dinos in a best of three series. tonight, Saturday and if needed on Sunday.

Calgary is riding a 15-game win streak, finishing the regular season 17-3.

This has been the best season ever for the Timberwolves, who are coming off their first Canada West women’s basketball playoff victory 80-78 over the Trinity Western Spartans in Langley.

Remember the green jackets that were proudly worn by the hundreds of volunteers that helped make the 2015 Canada Winter Games highly successful in PG?

Yes, that was four years ago (with much better weather at that time).

It is Red Deer’s turn to host the Canada Winter games starting with opening ceremonies tonight.

Nine Prince George athletes will compete.

Ewert Joel Athlete Wheelchair Basketball Prince George
Gibson Charlotte Athlete Alpine Skiing Prince George
Graham Colby Athlete Snowboard Prince George
Hanson Kieran Athlete Speed Skating Prince George
Kamstra Kimiko Athlete Judo Prince George
Miller Craig Athlete Speed Skating Prince George
St. Rose Keanan Athlete Speed Skating Prince George
Young Lochlan Athlete Judo Prince George
O’Rourke Steven Coach Hockey Prince George
St.Rose Lorelei Coach Speed Skating Prince George
Swan Duane Manager Speed Skating Prince George
Orlowsky Eric Athlete Speed Skating Prince George

This is the best time of the year to enjoy curling.

The National Scotties Tournament of Hearts will begin Saturday and run through until February 24th in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

B.C. is represented by skip Sarah Wark of Abbotsford and her rink that has ties to Prince George.

Third Kristen Fewster Pilote is a former Prince George resident who now lives in Squamish.

Her sister Jen Rusnell of P.G. is the lead.

Rick Fewster of Prince George (dad of Pilote and Rusnell) is the coach.


The Para Nordic Skiing Championships may be the first world championship held in Prince George but it won’t be the last.

In fact, P.G. has already started to prepare to host the 2020 World Women’s Curling Championship in March of next year.

Yes, this appears to be an unprecedented time to watch and enjoy high-level sports with a Prince George flavour.

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This is Week 20 of ‘Hartley’s Cat Scan.’

The podcast, introduced in September, predominately features the Prince George Cougars.

My guests this week are the voice of the Prince George Cougars Fraser Rodgers and the former voice of the PG Cougars “Dapper” Dan O’Connor, who is now the voice of the Vancouver Giants.

Fraser and Dan both say that play-by-play is just a minority part of their job.

You can also find this podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, and TuneIn.


FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

Rocco Mediate admits to drinking on the course during competitive rounds; which makes it ironic that his playoff
against Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open ended on the 19th hole.

*Comedy writer Jim Barach http://jokesbyjim.blogspot.ca/

Donald Trump has installed a $50,000 Golf Simulator in the White House. It is a large screen that you hit balls at. It is the only screen in the WH that isn’t showing “Fox News” 24/7.”

*Comedy writer Tony Chong

Florida is the best state for singles, according to WalletHub.com. Oh, yeah? Ichiro Suzuki hit only 194 of them there — and 2,069 in Washington.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

Saying ‘We believe in giving second chances’, Cleveland Browns GM John Dorsey announced that the team has signed Kareem Hunt. So who’s he bringing in to give the next pep talk, Liam Neeson?

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

The Cleveland Browns signed Kareem Hunt. Well, Baker Mayfield had a least a few months of being part of a feel-good story.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

The Toronto Raptors prepared for the stretch drive by trading for Marc Gasol. You might say they pressed on the Gasol peddle.

*Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

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Hartley Miller is the sports director and morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT.
He also is the 94.3 radio colour commentator for P.G. Cougars home games.
His column appears Fridays on myprincegeorgenow.com.
Send along a quote, note, or anecdote to hmiller@thegoatrocks.ca.
Follow him on Twitter: @Hartley_Miller
Listen to him on his weekly podcast: Hartley’s Cat Scan.