Sharpen your skates, chalk your cue, dust off your bowling shoes—regional playoffs are about to begin for the Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games.

The main meet for the Games will be April 7 – 10 in Edmonton, with skiing events (Nordic and alpine) to be held in February while there’s still good snow. The Lakeland Senior Games Association (LSGA) will qualifying playoffs early in the new year.

The LSGA represents Zone 7 of the Alberta 55 Plus organization, a large geographical area that includes Cold Lake, Bonnyville, and St. Paul.

LSGA president Kay Hauer said participants are excited to get the playoffs going in their respective sports.

“We have a lot of pickleball players that are really interested, and curling,” Hauer said. “And we’re also having sturling. We’ve tried for a couple of games to get that in and we managed it this time.”

Hauer said people have expressed an interest in bowling as well as in men’s and women’s hockey.

The full slate of events also includes floor curling, duplicate bridge, snooker, darts, and scrabble. 

Alberta 55 Plus hosts winter and summer games in odd-numbered years, with participants qualifying to go on to national-level Canada Games in even-numbered years. 

The 2020 Canada Games were to take place in Kamloops, BC, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic they were postponed to 2021 and then eventually cancelled. Kamloops has been awarded the next Canada Games, which will be held in September 2022.

Meanwhile the 2021 Alberta Winter and Summer Games were postponed to 2022. After the Winter Games in April, attention will shift to the Peace Region for the Summer Games in June. With the Canada Games in September, there will be three major meets within a six-month span.

Hauer expects Zone 7 to send 80 participants to Edmonton. 

“Unfortunately, some people are being cut out,” she said. “Our organization does not have any restrictions about vaccination, but most of the facilities that the playoffs are held in do.”

Still, she said, she’s pleased that playoffs are going ahead.

“I’m looking forward to having playoffs. Some of our past games it was just, if you were interested, apply and then you got in,” she said. “It’s much more interesting if we can get people together for playoffs.

“It’s going to be good to get together again and participate. We hope everything can go as planned.”

Sturling has been added to the Alberta 55 Plus Winter Games. Playoffs are January 7 and 8 in Lloydminster. JEFF GAYE