SIGA makes big donation to First Nations Games

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Andrew Schopp
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The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority presented the 2014 Saskatchewan First Nations Winter Games council with a donation of $125,000 on Monday in a press conference at the Prince Albert Travelodge. Heading into it’s 40th year, the Winter Games will showcase the province’s First Nations athletes from 13 regional teams in six events including hockey, badminton and basketball. Herald photo by Andrew Schopp 

With a price tag of more than $1 million dollars to host the 2014 Saskatchewan First Nations Winter Games in Prince Albert, a sizable donation from the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority is a good start. 

During a press conference on Monday at the Prince Albert Travelodge, SIGA presented the games council with a donation of $125,000 to support the Games running April 21-25. 

Heading into its 40th year, the Winter Games will showcase First Nations athletes from 13 regional teams across the province competing in six events including hockey, curling, volleyball, broomball, badminton and basketball. 

Games manager Mel Mercredi said SIGA’s donation will be used to support all facets of the event including accommodations, meals, nursing services, officiating and entertainment.

“To host a major event like this you are looking at millions of dollars,” Mercredi said of the Games, which will host more than 4,000 athletes and coaches. “Meal services alone you are looking at $200,000 and all sporting events are about $100,000 each to host.” 

With a cost of more than $50,000, Mercredi also noted the Game’s opening ceremonies, taking placing at the Art Hauser Centre on April 21. 

“A lot of it is audio and visual effects,” Mercredi said of the opening, which will feature a series of cultural performances. “Because we need the facility one day ahead to get it all ready, we have to cover the cost of the extra day as well, so it adds up.”

Since SIGA was founded 17 years ago to manage and develop the First Nations gaming industry in Saskatchewan, the organization has donated more than $1.7 million to the Games.

Prince Albert Mayor Greg Dionne was on hand to give his thanks to SIGA, sharing his thoughts towards the authority and their contributions to the community. 

“Not only do they (SIGA) bring jobs to our community, they sponsor events and put Prince Albert on the map,” Dionne said. “They have made Prince Albert a better place to live not only for their own people but my people as well.” 

Prince Albert last hosted the Games in 2001 and in April will host the event for the sixth time.

Of the 13 regions participating in the event, two are from Prince Albert and area.  

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