On the eve of the Opening Ceremonies, it was a big day for Team Canada at the 29th Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk.
Earlier in the day, the flag raising ceremony occurred as athletes looked as the maple leaf was flown proudly ahead of the Games. A Canadian delegation of 121, including 87 student-athletes, sixth largest at this Universiade, in alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, curling (women & men), hockey (women & men) and snowboarding.
More than 1,700 of the world’s best university student-athletes from 58 countries will compete through 12 days in 11 different sports in the heart of Sibieria - Krasnoyarsk.
Then in the afternoon, the Canadian women’s hockey team started the Games with a resounding 10-0 victory over China to begin the competition in earnest.
At the end of the day, the Canadian delegation celebrated the accomplishment of being selected to represent their country at a team reception just before the Opening Ceremonies. In addition, Alberta Pandas curling alumna Danielle Schmiemann talked about being recently announced as Canada’s flag bearer for this FISU Winter Universiade.
”It’s an honour to be the flag bearer and be proud of being here and receive congratulations on your honour to represent Team Canada," stated Schmiemann at the evening’s reception. “I was shocked to hear the news but humbled and honoured to be the flag bearer in Krasnoyarsk. I would like to say to you athletes to take a chance to look around and soak in the Universiade experience. I hope everyone has a great two weeks!”
Every sport that will compete for Canada filled the reception room as Jean Lambert-Pagé, Counsellor for Embassy of Canada to the Russian Federation commented about the gathering.
“We are very happy to host in Krasnoyarsk and have a strong number of Canadians here at this international event. This will be a great experience for the athletes to be in the part of the world with one of our closest neighbours. I hope they make the most of the Universiade and enjoy the Russian hospitality.”
This Universiade will have both Canadian curling (women’s and men’s) squads looking to be medal contenders, as the women's squad will aim to defend its FISU title, along with both hockey (women’s and men’s) teams aspiring to win Universiade medals during the 29th edition of the Games. There could also be several chances early in this World University Games as Canada has some opportunities in the snowboard cross event that commences on Sunday, March 3.
At the reception, Chef de Mission Roger Archambault from the University of Ottawa led the team into a battle chant of En Garde! He talked about why this tradition continues.
“At the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Chef was Jacques Cardyn and he was an Olympian for Canada in 1984. He started the chant to rally Team Canada as he came from a fencing background. At the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, Olympian Curt Hartnett used the same chant. He called me two days ago and said to use it here. It was a nice gesture for him to reach out and want to keep this going. I’m glad we did the rally cry again and had a chance to get the team together before this international competition.”