Team Alberta athletes bring 'lucky loonie' tradition to P.E.I.
Canada Games athletes from Alberta are doing their part to spread good luck at the games — by hiding specially-made loonies in areas where they are set to compete.
The "lucky loonie" tradition started in 2002 at the Salt Lake City Olympics, when an ice-maker from Edmonton planted a loonie beneath the ice surface — and Team Canada went on to win a gold medals in both men's and women's hockey.
More than two decades later, a new generation of Albertans is bringing the tradition to P.E.I.
"It's a symbol of luck for Canadian athletes," said Cody Cyman, a trampolinist from Alberta.
"We placed them in the trampolines and around the gym and it just so happened to work out, I got a bronze medal and everything."
He said it's not just just about personal gains — the lucky loonies are conversation starters, and help athletes get to know one another.
"It definitely helped out with connecting and talking and having a lot more fun with not just my teammates but other teammates as well," said Cyman.
'Part of a bigger movement'
Dave Hurta, mission staff member for Team Alberta's trampoline team, said the loonies help build comradery, and help young athletes appreciate the bigger picture of being a part of the Canada Winter Games.
"I think it's really important, because they come here as individuals ... but they also come to realize that they're part of a bigger organization, that being Team Alberta, and also the entire Canada Games," said Hurta.
"For some of them — this being their first multi-sport Games experience — they get a real flavour for what it's like to be part of a bigger movement."
For Team Alberta, the lucky loonies have helped build team spirit — and offered some added confidence to all those competing.
"The athletes believe that it has been an added symbol of success for them," said Cam Berwald, Team Alberta's chef de mission. "They've been very creative about where they're hiding these lucky loonies across P.E.I. at different venues."
She's hopeful it's helping the athletes make memories they'll keep for years to come.
"The Canada Games are more than just about medals," said Berwald.
"It provides an opportunity for all the participants to learn about our provincial and territorial neighbours and gain appreciation for different perspectives and cultures. And it also provides a tremendous opportunity to see another part of Canada."