U SPORTS proudly announced Tuesday that Ben Matchett, Director of Athletics for the University of Calgary Dinos, has been appointed as Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Winter Universiade.
After a devastating COVID related cancellation of the Lucerne 2021 FISU Winter Universiade, the Lake Placid 2023 Games are set to debut January 12-22. Matchett, with over two decades of contributions to Dinos Athletics including hosting 13 U SPORTS national championship events, marketing, communications and operations, Matchett is ready to set the tone and lead this Winter Universiade.
“For me, it's a huge honour, as it is, I know, for every one of the athletes who's going to be there,” said Matchett.
“Not a lot of people in North America really know about [the World University Games], but it's one of the few worldwide multi-sport Games that exist and really only second in size to the Winter Olympics in terms of winter multi-sport events so it's pretty exciting.”
With 115 days to opening ceremonies, Matchett returned to Calgary on Friday after a site visit in Lake Placid where he spent the week addressing logistical components such as transportation, accommodation and food and beverage with the organizing committee. “Lake Placid will be relatively decentralized,” said Matchett, one of many components that make organizing an event of this size challenging.
Matchett brings four World University Games experiences including Lucerne 2021 to his appointment as Chef de Mission and that “really helps in terms of understanding when we are putting together the staff and knowing what supports the athletes are going to need and some of the red flags that we have to look out for. Obviously, transportation is a major concern in every game with a huge logistical challenge, and help lets us get ahead of hopefully some of the challenges so that we can remove some of those barriers from the athletes and just let them focus on their competition,” said Matchett.
The first World University Games in North America since Buffalo hosted the Summer Games in 1993, this 11-day international festival and competition in Lake Placid and nearby towns will see athletes across the globe engage in educational and cultural events and compete for athletic excellence. “The state of New York and the organizing committee have done an incredible job with substantial investments into their sport infrastructure and totally revitalizing so many of the 1980 venues,” Matchett explains. It’s an “exciting opportunity for our athletes to compete in a beautiful part of the world with significant history in winter sports.”
Canada will host one of the largest delegations of the championships and with Lake Placid a two-hour drive from Montreal, the XXXl Universiade is proving to be an incredible opportunity for Canadian friends, family and fans to join the action live.
“I would just encourage anyone who is able to follow the Games, however you can, to do that whether it's watching the streams online, on TV or if you are able to get down to Adirondack region in New York, it's going to be a great time and I know our athletes are going to be excited to show what they can do...”
Matchett’s Mission Staff includes current and former U SPORTS Managers, International Games Operations, Alexandra Roy and Mary MacDonald as Assistant Chef de Mission and Operations Manager, respectively. Stéphane Jobin of Université Laval assumes the role of Communications Manager, joined by former Bishop’s Gaiters Digital Coordinator Clare Webb as Communications Coordinator.
The medical staff is led by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janet McMordie of Lakehead and Chief Therapist Nadine Smith of Carleton.
TEAM CANADA MISSION STAFF
|Chef de Mission||Ben Matchett||Calgary|
|Assistant Chef de Mission||Alexandra Roy||U SPORTS|
|Operations Manager||Mary MacDonald||U SPORTS|
|Communications Manager||Stéphane Jobin||Laval|
|Communications Coordinator||Clare Webb||Bishop's|
|Chief Medical Officer||Dr. Janet McMordie||Lakehead|
|Chief Therapist||Nadine Smith||Carleton|
All procedures involving Team Canada's participation in the Games with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic will be determined by the U SPORTS national office, under the guidance and recommendations of U SPORTS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Taryn Taylor, Dr. McMordie and Smith, as well as FISU and the Lake Placid 2023 Local Organizing Committee.
“I'm choosing to be optimistic,” Matchett added in respect to the future of the Games. “The overarching concern here is always going to be health and safety and COVID is still with us” but, “when the Games do happen [and] get all the way through to completion” the priority is to ensure "everybody gets home safely.”