Six Abbotsford athletes have been selected to represent the province at the Canada Winter Games next week.
The event, which runs from Feb. 15 to March 3 in Red Deer, Alta., is a multi-sport event featuring many of the top athletes representing their individual provinces from all across the country. The previous Canada Winter Games occurred in Prince George in 2015.
Abbotsford athletes on Team BC include hockey players Graham Sward and Jake Chiasson, alpine skiers Chase Burns and Justin Johnson, wheelchair basketball player Benjamin Garrett and gymnast Michael John Frew. Curtis Smecher will also be attending the game as an apprentice coach for archery.
Sward and Chiasson were named to the team back in December, and both players were selected in the 2018 WHL bantam draft. Chiasson went 15th overall to the Brandon Wheat Kings, while Sward went 17th overall to the Spokane Chiefs.
Sward, a defenceman, has been a key part of the first-place Fraser Valley Thunderbirds of the British Columbia Major Midget League this season. He has recorded 20 points in 25 games for the team, and previously spent two seasons with the Yale Hockey Academy.
Chiasson, a forward, leads the Yale Lions midget prep team this season with 58 points in 29 games and is tied for eighth in league scoring.
Burns, who trains with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, was one of seven males named to the alpine ski team. He will compete in Super-G, giant slalom, slalom and ski cross at the Games.
Johnson, a sit-skier, will compete in the same four events in the para-alpine skiing division.
Frew, who trains at Twisters Gymnastics Club in Abbotsford, made headlines with seven medals at the 2016 Penticton BC Winter Games. Since then, he’s excelled on the local, provincial and national stage in gymnastics.
Garrett is one of three returning players on the Team BC wheelchair basketball team that finished seventh in 2015. He helped lead Team BC to a fifth place finish at the 2018 junior national championships.
For more on the event, visit canadagames.ca.