PEI at the Canada Games
PEI has been sending teams of athletes to the Canada Games since the first set of Games in Quebec City in 1967. Since that time some 4,000 athletes, coaches, managers, officials and mission staff have participated. Canada’s smallest province has won a total of 42 medals throughout the years along with some outstanding success stories and great memories of Games past.
The first Canada Games medal won by an Island athlete came in the second Canada Games in Halifax-Dartmouth in 1969 when Bill MacKinnon won gold in the 100m dash. MacKinnon, who also played for the PEI men’s hockey team in the 1967 Games, became an icon for many young athletes who followed in his footsteps. The 1979 Games in Brandon, Manitoba saw speedskater Nancy White win a gold and four silver medals in one of the most memorable performances ever for an Island athlete. Lisa Devine became one of only two Team PEI members to win a medal in two different sets of Games. She won a bronze in Brandon, 1979 and a gold in Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, 1983 in racquetball. Alicia Wilbert equalled that mark in judo with a silver in Bathurst-Campbellton, 2003 and a bronze in Whitehorse, 2007.
In 1991 the Canada Games were hosted for the first time by Prince Edward Island. In those Winter Games, three boxers won medals for Team PEI. Mark Docherty won gold in the super heavyweight. Trevor MacAdam took bronze in the welterweight and Jerry Ryan won a bronze in the light welterweight. The Sean Matheson men’s curling rink also won bronze. Two years later, in Kamloops, B.C., PEI’s men’s softball team won a bronze medal under coach Kevin Quinn. It was the third Summer Games medal for PEI and first since Katherine Josey won a silver in the 100m freestyle swim in Saint John, 1985. Jared Connaughton won the 100m and 200m track events in the 2005 Games in Regina and became the first Islander to win double gold.
Judo has produced the most medals for PEI in one sport with 12 (1 gold, 5 silver, 6 bronze) with coach & manager John Wilbert enjoying 10 of those medals (7 as a coach, 3 as a manager) including Patrick Knox winning the gold in the 100 kg division in 2007, Whitehorse. Five of the judo medals came in the 2003 Games.Team PEI won a total of 8 medals that year, the most in one set of Games.
Six Team PEI alumni have gone on to compete in the Olympics for Canada. Five of them competed for PEI in athletics (track and field) including Dave “Eli” MacEachern who won a gold medal in the two-man bobsleigh in 1998, Nagano. He competed for PEI in soccer, 1985 and athletics, 1989. Connaughton was a Team PEI member, twice in 2001 and 2005 and competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Kara Grant, a 2004 and 2008 Olympian in the modern pentathlon, competed for PEI in 2001. Heather Moyse, another bobsledder for Canada in 2006 was in the 1997 Games and qualified for 2001 but could not compete due to recovery from minor surgery that summer. Anna Pendergast-Stammberger competed for Canada in basketball in 1984 and was a 1977 Team PEI member. Kathryn MacDougall-Johnson was a member of the 1981 PEI field hockey team and competed for Canada in Seoul in 1988.
Team PEI has won the Centennial Cup as most improved province in 1971 and the Jack Pellech Award for sportsmanship and performance three times in 1991, 2003, 2005. PEI’s best overall finish was ninth place in the 1975 Winter Games in the final point standings. Team PEI was ninth in medals won in 2007.
Canada’s smallest province can certainly be proud of its involvement in Canada Games since 1967. PEI has won its share of medals and many athletes have recorded “personal bests” over the years and all PEI athletes have carried the spirit of the Island into each set of Games. No matter what the outcome, we can be proud of their efforts and their role as goodwill ambassadors for Prince Edward Island. They have represented our Province with pride and given their best effort.