Yellowknife squash player Sofia Ardiles will lead out Team NT at the 2023 Canada Winter Games opening ceremony in Charlottetown on Saturday.
Prince Edward Island is hosting two weeks of competition between Canada’s top youth athletes. The Northwest Territories is sending 95 athletes in 11 sports.
Ardiles said she was “really excited” to lead out the team in a Saturday opening ceremony inside Charlottetown’s Eastlink Centre that will be screened live from 4:30pm MT.
“My goodness, wow, I get to carry the flag for all of Team NT. It’s crazy,” she said.
“I got inspired by one of my old teammates that graduated. When I was younger, I was playing squash and she was coaching me and I was like, maybe I can do that one day and honour the NWT.
“She gave me some pins that she collected at her last Canada Games that got me a little more inspired. At school, in one of our classes, we got to make anything we wanted – and I decided to make Canada Games pins.”
Forty-three coaches and support staff will attend the games for Team NT.
Ardiles’ coach, Jeff Hipfner, said: “Sofia is definitely one of our up-and-coming squash players in our program here in Yellowknife, and our strongest female junior in the Northwest Territories.
“She’s been getting better at every tournament that she’s been going to with the experience that she’s been getting. She’s very dedicated to the sport. She’s helping out with Sunday squash with our next generation of squash players, and so she’s a fantastic advocate for the sport here in the North.”
Other sports in action during the games’ first week are karate, female curling, male hockey, speed skating and table tennis.
Week two brings female hockey, archery, badminton, cross-country skiing, male and mixed curling, figure skating and snowboarding.