Hamilton set to host 63rd CANUSA Games this summer. Here's how you can get involved
As Hamilton prepares to pitch to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games, the city will be hosting another international athletic competition this summer.
The 2020 CANUSA Games will be held this August 7 to 9, in Hamilton and organizers are hoping to attract more athletes, spectators and supporters this year.
“Our goal every year is to bring in more kids, attract more athletes to the friendship games,” said CANUSA Games Hamilton’s volunteer media director, Sheila Drury.
“We just want people to know we’re still here and this is a great event for the city.”
This year marks the 63rd that Hamilton and Flint have faced off in the Games — and the 32nd time Hamilton has hosted — and while the years have seen some significant changes one thing has remained the same: the friendships.
Drury, who herself competed in the games as a youth in the 80s, said watching the friendships form between all of the athletes is by far the most magical element of CANUSA.
“We’ve heard of kids being in each others’ weddings,” she said. “I still have friends that I played with at CANUSA. The friendship part of the games — and getting to see friendships formed — is the best part of the CANUSA weekend.”
This year, the Hamilton CANUSA contingent is looking to attract more local athletes to the games, remember there are sports for adult athletes too. Athletes of all ages and abilities are encouraged to come and try out; if you run Track or play soccer for your school, then there is a spot for you.
Track and Field, Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Pickleball, Darts, Bowling, Golf and Gymnastics are just some of the CANUSA sports athletes can compete in.
“We only have tryouts when there are too many players,” Drury said. “We haven’t had to disappoint kids in a long time because we adapt to get everyone involved. If we have to add a team or age group, we’ll do everything we can to make that happen.”
Drury says they welcome athletes looking to try different sports than they’re used to, as well as athletes who live within a 30 to 45-minute drive from Downtown Hamilton; so Caledonia and Grimsby athletes are definitely welcome.
“When you try out, it’s better to bring a friend,” Drury said. “It makes it less intimidating and it’s a lot of fun especially when you’re hosting and you can all do things together.”
Entry fees for athletes are quite reasonable too. Registration is $60 for most sports, $70 for golf, and $80 for hockey. The fees go up for golf and hockey due to extra jersey fees, Drury said.
Tryouts won’t get underway until the spring but Drury says they want to put the Games on everyone’s radar ahead of time so that involved families can plan around the event.
“For many kids, this is the only international competition they will ever compete in,” Drury said. “And we’re the only International games left in the area.”
“We really just want to get everyone in the city involved if we can,” she said. “We need the community’s support to make the Games happen. We have a lot of volunteers — the Hamilton CANUSA Games is entirely volunteer-run — but the venues can get expensive.”
The organization hosts a golf tournament every year, July 9th 2020, at King’s Forest and that certainly helps with costs, but sponsorships are needed to help cover other expenses. The Keg on Upper James has been a long-time supporter of CANUSA and continues to play a robust supportive role, Drury said.
The city of Hamilton's Recreation Department also provides a lot of support for the Games and its competitors, Drury said.
“Ultimately, we want the community to know that the CANUSA Games are still a great family experience,” Drury said. “We need more athletes and everyone’s support. Come out and 'Experience the Friendship.'"
Photo courtesy CANUSA Hamilton’s Facebook page.
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