The U16 soccer team from B.C., which included two female players from Hazelton, placed first at NAIG 2017. (Contributed photo)

Smithers and Hazelton well represented at NAIG

Local atheletes are coming home from the games in Toronto with some hardware.

Local athletes are heading home with some hardware from the North American Indigenous Games 2017. The games took place last week in Toronto.

Athletes that went included swimmers Travis Pete and Monica Joseph — both from Smithers, Hailey MacDonald from Hazelton and Amber Wells of the Gitxsan Nation were part of the U16 soccer team, and Paolo Rubinto went for volleyball. Also in Toronto, Eric Joseph coached the U16 male softball team and Carlene Dingwall was the assistant coach for the swim team. Telkwa councillor and executive director of the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre Annette Morgan went to the opening ceremony on July 16.

“As president of the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, a proud partner of ISparc and the 2017 NAIG games, I was invited as an honoured guest,” she said.

At the event, the two swimmers from Smithers made a big splash in the pool. Eighteen-year-old Travis Pete won three bronze medals and one silver for various swimming events. Seventeen-year-old Monica Joseph took home bronze for the 4x50m medley relay.

Hailey MacDonald and Amber Wells won first place with their team. Wells said it was an awesome experience.

“It felt amazing, everyone was so happy with the win,” she said.

“My favourite part was being on the soccer field and when the other soccer teams from B.C. came to support us, they brought drums and sung for us and that made me feel like I could play better and harder.”

She hopes she can go again in the future.

“It was an amazing experience and the feeling that I got when I scored the last goal in our final game, it was amazing.”

Hailey’s goal in the final:

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Amber Wells from the Gitxsan Nation and one of the youngest players on the U16 soccer team shows off her gold medal. (Contributed photo)

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