Seven teams from five countries have arrived in Burnaby for the 2019 World Ringette Championships. In advance of the competition which starts on Tuesday, November 26, organizers have revealed the world championship medals designed by Wes Antone, X.ex.elles. During the opening ceremony on Monday, the medals were presented with an honour song by members of the Kwantlen First Nation.
Antone is a respected Elder of the Kwantlen Nation who lives in Fort Langley. His traditional name X.ex.elles means “likes to draw,” a fitting name for this self-taught carver who specializes in masks and prints, some of which have sold internationally. A recent public art installation, snəw̓ eyəɬ: Nature’s Gods (Nature’s Teachers), is on the exterior of the Surrey Nature Centre.
He chose to create the heron design for the custom medals 2019 World Ringette Championships because, to the Kwantlen, the heron teaches patience. Antone recalls watching the bird stand and wait for just the right moment to strike its prey and feels that this Kwantlen teaching applies well to the game of ringette: athletes need patience and the ability to strike quickly.
“Because of what the crane means to us,” Antone noted, “I hope it means as much to you, the athletes who are part of the games.”
Antone’s heron designs are also the featured art on athlete and VIP gifts at Championships.
Seven female teams from Canada, the U.S.A, Finland, Sweden and the Czech Republic are seeking junior and senior titles during the championships. In addition to the international tournament, local teams from the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan are also competing in friendship matches. The championships feature 179 athletes and 56 coaches and team officials. The Bill Copeland Sports Centre is the feature rink hosting the round robin and medal games. Round robin play begins on Tuesday with finals on Sunday, December 1.