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The GOOD Games

Catch the Action in Guelph: The GOOD Games to Draw Crowds with Sports and Festivities

The GOOD Games are on the calendar for July 6 and 7 at the University of Guelph, with organizers eager to spread the word.

“I just want to get people here,” said Helen Stoumbos, president and CEO of the GOOD Games. “I want people to come see this and experience it.”

She emphasized that increased attendance not only benefits this year’s event but also builds a foundation of support for future events. Hosting this multisport event could establish Guelph as a prominent location for sports and tourism, Stoumbos suggested. “It’s a win-win for everybody.” 

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The event comprises two main elements: the sports competitions and a community festival, both intended to encourage local engagement and reflect the GOOD Games’ mission: Get. Out. Out. Do.

The sports lineup includes top-tier beach volleyball with former Olympians, the freestyle soccer Canadian championship, competitions from the Canadian National Pickleball League, women’s 50+ soccer, and numerous Indigenous sports and cultural events.

The festival offers a range of fun, interactive activities such as three-legged races, tug of war, obstacle courses, dodgeball, and road tennis, all free of charge.

Stoumbos noted that the festival would feature live music, food trucks, a BBQ, a beer garden, and even a dance party.

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“The best way I would explain our games is we’re kind of like the Calgary Stampede, where you have a rodeo, but a lot of people just go there for the experience,” Stoumbos explained.

Despite the cancellation of the 2020 event due to COVID, the inaugural games in 2022 drew 300 athletes, a number that increased to 600 in 2023.

This year, expectations are set for 1,500 athletes to participate, with many registrants traveling to Guelph accompanied by family and friends, some of whom are planning extended stays.

Stoumbos also highlighted her outreach efforts, particularly with the Caught in Guelph (and Area) community, Guelph’s largest online community, which has shown enthusiastic support for the games in past years.

Managing such a significant event has underscored the value of teamwork for Stoumbos, a Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame athlete, who is focused on keeping the momentum going.

“I’m a team sport person. So, I love teams and I love working together,” she stated.

Her goal is to secure substantial support to maximize the event’s impact, though she noted it’s challenging when city support is lacking.

Recently, Stoumbos and Chief Marketing Officer Mike F. Jean approached the Guelph City Council seeking support and funding for the GOOD Games. Planning began in 2019 with some initial support and involvement from the city.

“Originally we had two people from Guelph Tourism on our team,” Stoumbos recalled. She continues to seek any possible support from the city, including potential funding through the municipal accommodation tax (MAT), though she has yet to receive a response.

Without the collaboration with the University of Guelph, accommodating the influx of attendees would be difficult. She also praised their sponsors and a dedicated team of volunteers.

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Stoumbos’s primary aim is for attendees to thoroughly enjoy the games. “It’s a really cool experience for families,” she mentioned.

Stoumbos shared how her own passion for soccer began in her backyard, leading her to eventually score Canada’s first World Cup goal for the National Soccer Team in 1995.

“Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of inspiration for somebody to find the thing that they fall in love with,” she said, hoping to inspire attendees in a similar way.

So be sure to mark your calendars and head on out to The GOOD Games on July 6-7, 2024 at The University of Guelph!

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