Erika Vermette was introduced as Team Manitoba’s Flag Bearer Tuesday morning and will lead our province’s athletes into the opening ceremonies of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games in Southern Ontario.

“I feel so honoured,” said the 21-year-old from Morris who will be competing in beach volleyball with her partner Valeria Gonzalez. “Honestly when I received the news I kind of teared up just because I feel like, especially in the past two years, it’s been so long with the pandemic and so much hard work has been put into it for not competing. You were just training and trying to see the light at the end of the tunnel and you really didn’t know where that was. Now to actually be nominated as a flag bearer and compete at the Canada Games, it’s such an honour and I’m so excited.”

The opening ceremonies will take place Saturday, August 6th at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Vermette said. “I am really looking forward to meeting everyone and being that leader. Definitely going to be stepping out of my comfort zone for sure but I’m so excited to take on the challenge and motivate the others and inspire and just share what I know from my competitions going to Junior Olympics and Worlds. I’m really excited.”

The beach volleyball competition for Vermette and Gonzalez starts Monday, August 8th.

“We’re obviously looking to medal,” noted Vermette. “We’ve been working really hard and working out, getting all of our physio, acupuncture appointments and trying to prepare. It’s been a lot of hard work and I really hope it pays off once we’re there.”

Team Manitoba Chef de Mission Drew Todd says it feels amazing to be one step closer to the Summer Games in Ontario after Tuesdays media conference to officially announce the roster, the opening ceremonies flag bearer and the unveiling of the team uniforms.

“It feels amazing. We’ve been planning for this event for a long time especially with the extra year as the postponement. We’re six days away from going out to Niagara. The team is named. We see so many athletes and coaches in attendance here for the first time, really come together. It’s starting to feel real. We’re just starting to think about the competition coming up and the experience. It’s going to be an absolute blast. We can’t wait.”

370 athletes, 59 coaches, 20 managers, 11 technical staff and 25 mission staff will make the trip to Southern Ontario and Team Manitoba athletes will compete in all 18 sports.

Athletes who will be competing at the Summer Games include Alex Buhler (Steinbach) Athletics; Matt Jolicoeur (Ste. Anne) Athletics; Nico Lepage (St. Adolphe) Athletics; Joshua Suelzle (Ste. Adolphe) Athletics; Baily Purse (St. Adolphe) Athletics; Katrina Stefaniuk (St. Adolphe) Athletics; Cody Wielgosh (Beausejour) Baseball; Emma-Lynne Green (Ile des Chenes) Box Lacrosse; Mason Harmatiuk (Oakbank) Box Lacrosse; Seth Klepatz (Cooks Creek) Box Lacrosse; Sophie MacDonald (Steinbach) Cycling; Emma Oude Voshaar (Kleefeld) Rugby Sevens; Benjamin William Cox (Poweview-Pine Falls) Sailing; Sam Fuss (Steinbach) Soccer; Senuth Edirisinghe (St. Adolphe) Swimming; Nicole Hildebrand (Mitchell) Volleyball & Jordy Heppner (La Broquerie) Volleyball.

Team Manitoba’s official roster for the 2022 Niagara Canada Summer Games