Back at a BC Summer Games in the 1980s, Brown’s great-grandfather competed in horseshoes. Now, three decades later, she will continue a sort of family tradition.
Brown first laced on skates at the age of seven, playing for five years before taking a break from the sport. She returned to the ice with a new passion for the sport a few years later.
“I got a little tired of it and had a few other things going on,” she said. “But I missed it after a few years and decided to go back, and I’ve really loved it again.”
The Abbotsford connection to the team representing the Fraser Valley zone is deep. Head coach Paul Payne, assistant coach Sharon Smit, and assistant coach Caitlyn Payne all live in Abbotsford, and Paul is also the coach of Brown’s Fraser Valley Rage U16 ringette team.
Brown attended tryouts at the Abbotsford Centre in November and said she was thrilled to be named to the team later that month.
“It was really exciting,” she said. “It means a lot to be able to represent the region and I’m really proud and happy.”
Brown said the goal for the team is to medal, and the 14-year-old Rick Hansen Secondary student would like to continue her family tradition of excelling at the Games.
“I never met my great-grandfather, but it’s cool because I can kind of continue on from him,” she said.
Another local athlete hitting the ice at the Games is figure skater Chadsey Maria Honig.
The 12-year-old Chief Dan George Middle School student saw the sport as a way to compete and fend off her harsh allergies.
“When I was young, I had really bad allergies and the only thing that made it better was the cold,” she said, noting her hay fever allergy has become more manageable in recent years.
“I kept up with skating because I really like it, and just love doing all the jumps.”
Honig originally was a member of the Abbotsford Skating Club, but joined the Champs International Skating Centre of BC in Burnaby four years ago. She trains five to six days a week for at least two hours, and qualified for the Games after a strong showing at the sectionals earlier this year.
Just two weeks ago, she placed second at the Winter Skate event in Chilliwack, and Honig wants to ride that momentum to a top 10 finish in her division at the Games.
Brown and Honig are two of a handful of locals competing, including:
– Miranda Pinto in archery;
– Inderpal Gill, Sabrina McLean, Mike Palitti and Derek Santema in basketball, Special Olympics;
– Ben Garrett and Carlos Perez in wheelchair basketball;
– Ethan Algra, Jinny Lee, Soyung Park and Thomas Schratz in biathlon;
– Kim Bonneau in curling;
– Jadyn Ansell, Katelyn Cotterell, Jeremy Filiatrault, Micheal Frew, Logan Isfeld, Kris Krunick, Megan MacLellan and Samantha Reitsma in gymnastics;
– Mintaj Brar, Blaze Burgess, Karissa Comeau, Turner Cyr, Payton Harris, Isabelle Harris, Derek Moe, Marco Sidhu, Thane Timmerman and Carter Veenendaal in judo; and
– Bella Bay, Chase Burns and Mathew Yokohama in skiing.
The Games run from Feb. 25 to 28 in Penticton.