By Sarah Tone, Communications Coordinator
Ottawa – January 12, 2023 – The Canada Games Council is pleased to reveal the five phenomenal alumni who will be inducted into the Canada Games Hall of Honour at the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games in February. The Class of 2023 features decorated Olympians Marc Gagnon, Heather Moyse and Sami Jo Small, trailblazing builder Vicki Keith, and distinguished alum Dr. Heather Morrison.
“We are thrilled to welcome this esteemed class of remarkable alumni into the Canada Games Hall of Honour,” said Evan Johnston, Chair of the Canada Games Council. “Marc, Heather, Sami Jo, Vicki and Dr. Morrison have all sparked greatness throughout their illustrious careers in sport and beyond, and it is a privilege to recognize their outstanding contributions to the Canada Games Movement.”
“We are truly honoured to be able to recognize these astonishing Canada Games alumni at the PEI 2023 Games,” said Wayne Carew, Board Chair, 2023 Canada Games Host Society. “Our Host Society takes tremendous pride in celebrating the incredible accomplishments of Marc Gagnon, Sami Jo Small, Vicki Keith, and PEI’s very own Heather Moyse and Dr. Heather Morrison – who all have their own unique ties to the Island.”
The Hall of Honour induction ceremony will take place on February 17, 2023 in Charlottetown, on the eve of the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island. Established in 2007, the Hall of Honour recognizes exceptional Canada Games alumni and individuals who have sparked greatness by distinguishing themselves during the Canada Games and beyond, while contributing to the growth of the Canada Games Movement.
Athlete – Marc Gagnon (Chicoutimi, Que.)
A legend in short track speed skating, Marc Gagnon represented Quebec at the 1991 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island. He is a five-time Olympic medallist, including three gold, and a member of the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. He continues to make an impact on the ice as an assistant coach with Canada’s short track men’s and women’s national teams.
“The Canada Games are the best thing that can happen to a young athlete,” said Gagnon. “It is not only one of the greatest events they will ever participate in, but it also prepares them emotionally for the Olympic stage. Personally, and this is no lie, outside of the Olympics the Canada Winter Games are the best competition I have ever been a part of. I was crying at the end when they put out the flame. And honestly, for those that live this and don’t get to go participate at the Olympics, it is a very satisfying alternative.”
Athlete – Heather Moyse (Summerside, P.E.I.)
Heather Moyse represented Prince Edward Island as a sprinter at the 1997 Canada Games. A multi-sport athlete who excelled at rugby, track cycling and bobsleigh, Moyse made her mark by winning back-to-back Olympic gold medals for Canada in bobsleigh in 2010 and 2014. She also starred with the Canada’s National Rugby Team, and was the first Canadian woman to be inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2016.
“To be recognized by the Canada Games in such a way is truly an honour,” said Moyse. “The Canada Games value the development of individuals and teams, and, without me realizing it at the time, that experience was a stepping stone that helped with the success in my athletic career many years later.”
Athlete – Sami Jo Small (Winnipeg, Man.)
A three-time Olympic medallist and five-time world champion in hockey, Sami Jo Small represented Manitoba at three Canada Games – first in hockey in 1991 and then in athletics in 1993 and 1997. The 1997 Games took place in Brandon, Man., where she won a gold medal in javelin and a silver medal in discus en route to carrying Team Manitoba’s flag at the Closing Ceremony. An ambassador for girls and women in sport, Small is
currently the President of the Toronto Six of the Premier Hockey Federation.
“This is such a huge honour that is both humbling and exciting,” said Small. “The Canada Games have meant so much to me over my career and shaped me as both an athlete and a person. My all-time favourite sporting moment was having the honour of carrying the Manitoba flag into a home Canada Games in 1997 in front of friends and family.”
Builder – Vicki Keith (Kingston, Ont.)
A swimming coach for Team Ontario at the 2009 and 2017 Canada Games, Vicki Keith is a prolific marathon swimmer who holds 16 world records and has raised over $1 million to support children with physical disabilities. The first person to swim across all five Great Lakes, Keith was appointed as a member of the Order of Canada and was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2019. For much of her life, she has dedicated herself to coaching and empowering young athletes with disabilities through sport.
“As a coach at the Canada Games, I was tremendously aware of the excellence and professionalism inside the Games environment in all levels of participation, from the athletes through the coaches, support staff and volunteers,” said Keith. “To be recognized as a leader within this group is humbling and fulfilling.”
Distinguished Alum – Dr. Heather Morrison (Charlottetown, P.E.I.)
Dr. Heather Morrison competed for Team Prince Edward Island in field hockey at the 1989 Canada Games, and returned as the team manager in 1993. As P.E.I.’s first female Rhodes Scholar, she completed both a Master’s and Doctorate degree at the University of Oxford. After completing her medical degree in Canada, she went on to become the Chief Public Health Officer of P.E.I. and has guided the province through the pandemic. A
leader and a role model who has unselfishly served all Islanders, Dr. Morrison continues to practice emergency medicine in addition to her role with public health.
“The Canada Games experience highlighted the importance of hard work over a long time, the essential part of teamwork and learning to rely on your teammates, and how to lead on and off the field,” said Dr. Morrison. “These are all the skills I try to emulate in my career in medicine and in my community. Thank you Canada Games.”