Accounts Payable Supervisor for the City of Swift Current, Lisa Hagen, has returned to the prairies after representing Saskatchewan at the 2023 Canada Winter Games.
Hagen, who took on the position of the manager for the team Saskatchewan fencing team during the games in Prince Edward Island, said that the athletes brought their A-game to the competition.
“We saw some really great fencing from our athletes,” she stated. “The results were a little bit varied: we had two ninth-place finishes, two eighth-place finishes, and two seventh-place finishes.”
In the team event, Team Saskatchewan placed seventh out of nine teams.
Hagen noted that P.E.I. was extremely welcoming and helped ensure the athletes felt supported.
“Team P.E.I. fencers became friends with Team Saskatchewan and helped us out a little bit when we went into our team event as the PEI parents started to cheer for Team Saskatchewan when we weren't fencing their team,” she elaborated. “In the team event, we very much had a home stadium feeling.”
She added that all members of the team learned valuable skills and poured their hearts and souls into the competition.
“We had a relatively young crew that we took with us,” she stated. “So, the fact that they stayed in there, and they didn't give up, we were very happy and proud of the kids for that.”
While the majority of time was spent en guard, the team did have some time to enjoy their surroundings.
“We had a day and a half where we had free time, so, I did get the kids to downtown Charlottetown,” Hagen explained. “They had, it was called Canada Games House, it was downtown and there was some Islander foods, and music, and they had Olympians come in, and there were different things that the athletes and their parents could do downtown. So, I took the kids down there and we did a little bit of touring.
As far as a personal highlight of the trip, the experienced fencer said it was phenomenal to watch the young athletes support and motivate each other.
“The highlight for me was just seeing how well the team gelled, how well they got along,” she continued. They hung out with each other outside of the event, and when they went into the team event, they were so supportive of each other, constantly cheering and trying to help motivate their teammates when they were competing.
“Even in the individual event, the kids that didn't compete, they came down and they cheered on, they were there to help support their teammates as best they could, and it was really nice and reassuring to see that. It was a great atmosphere.”