Tim Breadman thought the worst when his phone started ringing last Saturday.
The 55-year-old St. Catharines native had just wrapped up a week as the mountain bike lead at the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games where everything went extremely well, so he wasn’t quite sure what the call could be about.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” said Breadman, who quickly found out the call was to inform him he was the recipient of the Paul Flaherty Volunteer Appreciation Award. “I thought we were completed with what we had to do and then there were some phone calls and stuff like that. I was wondering what was going on now but when we made the phone call back they told us what we had won.
“Myself and our group are extremely happy to be awarded something like that. It was great.”
Breadman was thrilled to share the award with several dozen volunteers from the Niagara Trail Maintenance Association (NTMA).
“It was great to see we had our NTMA people out there as well. It belongs to them as well for all the work that has been done out there,” he said.
Breadman and the NTMA volunteers worked countless hours to ensure the trail at 12 Mile Creek at the bottom of Hydro Hill was ready for the competition which saw three mountain bike (MTB) competitions held: a cross-country event (male/female), a sprint event (male/female), and a relay event (male/female).
Breadman said it was satisfying to see all the hard work pay off.
“It was great and it was great to get feedback from the other teams and coaches, to hear them say this course rivalled a lot of other national courses throughout the country,” he said. “What made it the most satisfying was for all of our volunteers who spent countless hours out there working on this trail to be able to use it for a national event like the Canada Summer Games.”
The course made an impression across the mountain biking community.
“Overall, it was a great course and great week of events,” Cycling Canada Events Manager Jolene Dupuis said. “Tim and his crew did a fantastic job and the teams really enjoyed themselves for the races. It was easy to see the dedication and commitment that the NTMA had in making the course live up to national and international standards.”
Team Ontario women’s mountain bike coach Roxy Slotegraaf appreciated the attention to detail.
“The course was great. We did a training camp in early July with all the Team Ontario riders and we were able to give them some feedback on it and they took every single consideration we had and put so much work into it. They were super open to different thoughts on the course. It was great.”
Slotegraaf also noted how conscientious the volunteers were all week.
“The volunteers were out on the course every morning making sure there were no branches down and making sure the course was in perfect shape for the day so that was pretty cool to see as well,” she said.
Breadman feels the races will help promote the sport.
“With the publicity of the Canada Summer Games and seeing all the people out there, you could see the people and how in awe they were of what these athletes are capable of,” he said. “It gets people out there cycling and at the end of the day, I suppose that’s part of the legacy of the CSG, not only the mountain bike trail we developed, but people getting out and using all of them and getting out and riding a bike.”
He would love to continue to oversee the trail.
“Hopefully we’re working towards being the stewards of the trails. That’s our long-term goal, to be able to look after the trails. We all hope that’s what we are able to do.”
Paul Flaherty was a member of the Board of Directors for the 2007 Canada Winter Games and went on to become a member of the Board of Directors for the Canada Games Council from 2009-2018.
Breadman was the first winner of the award given in recognition of the volunteers who are at the very heart of the Canada Games. The award is given to an outstanding Host Society volunteer at the end of each week of the Games.
Provincial/Territorial Teams, Canada Games Council staff, Host Society staff, National Sport Organization representatives as well as Canada Games volunteers will be provided the opportunity to submit nominations for the Paul Flaherty award.
Nominations are submitted to the Canada Games Council and reviewed by a Committee consisting of individuals from the Canada Games Council and the 2022 Canada Games Host Society.