There’s still 223 more days until the 2023 North American Indigenous Games begin in Halifax, Nova Scotia but preparations are already underway for Team Saskatchewan’s wrestling program.
Team Sask is hosting an ID camp this weekend at the Prince Albert Wrestling Club with three sessions running on both Saturday and Sunday.
Team Saskatchewan Wrestling Coordinator Eric Honetschlager says the camp this weekend is to scout potential athletes.
“It’s not a tryout. After this camp, the regular season starts for these kids, club and high school. From then, we start scouting other kids from there as well as these kids. We develop training plans for these athletes, both nutrition and strength development. The long training starts and the final team selection will be after nationals about the third week of April.”
The crowd of athletes at Saturday’s event featured around 20 athletes, mostly from around Prince Albert and area with one athlete traveling from La Ronge. Honetschlager says it’s nice to see a northern athlete represented.
“It’s a lot tougher for the kids up north since they don’t get the competition the southern kids do. I consider Prince Albert a southern community since they travel a lot”
The NAIG draws crowds from all over North America for a whole variety of sports including but not limited to box lacrosse, wrestling, canoe/kayak, archery and baseball.
Honetschlager says the opportunity to attend such a huge event is huge for Indigenous youth.
“For the kids, it’s a great experience. Nationals are great, but you need to experience a multi games experience at least once in your life because it’s phenomenal. For a lot of these kids, that might be their only one shot at opening ceremonies. It’s really great at the games whether they win or lose, to watch the faces on them when they are at the ceremonies to realize they got thousands of people cheering for them.”
The North American Indigenous Games take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 15-23, 2023.