About 14 competitions will be held this year to prepare for the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
The sporting events are needed to determine if the venues used for the games need any changes.
“We want to see how things work and make sure we have everything set up and the field of play established how it should be,” said Scott Robinson, 2019 Canada Winter Games CEO.
“We need to identify if there are any changes we require … and that’s an important part leading into the Games. If we tested things closer to the Games there would be less time to change anything we may need to change.”
The events are also being held to train officials in sports less common to the area, such as biathlon, Robinson said.
There is no biathlon club in Red Deer and Robinson said he wants to train local officials on everything they’d need to know, such as how to time the competitors.
Not every venue will see a test event because the planning for certain sports, such as hockey and curling, is pretty straight forward, Robinson said.
New venues, like Setters Place in Great Chief Park, and the new moguls run at Canyon Ski Resort, will have test events for sure, he added.
One of the first test events is Jan. 20, when speedskaters step on the ice at Setters Place on its opening day.
These test events will be held by local and provincial sports groups at venues to be used at the Games.
“We aren’t running these events … but we are working with the organizers to learn about how to use the venue and how to set things up there,” Robinson said.
It’s possible test events are held in the fall for indoor sports. Those tests can be done closer to the Games because any changes that need to be made aren’t as complicated to fix as outdoor sport venues.
Test events at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, where short-track speedskating will be held, will have to wait until fall when the building opens.
Testing for transportation, volunteer services and more will be completed later in the year as well, said Robinson.
“We aren’t ready to host today, but we’re confident we’ll be ready come Games time. Things are moving along quite well. There’s always bumps along the road, but there hasn’t been anything major,” he said.
The Canada Winter Games’ major volunteer recruitment will launch next month.
More details on next year’s Canada Winter Games can be found at www.canadagames.ca/2019.