Jacket styles have changed since 1979, when the first BC Winter Games were held in Kamloops. Pictured is the board of directors from the 1979 Games. Front row from left are Don Fisher, Dale Janowsky and Lois Cutler. Back row from left are Pat O’Brien, Jim Coke, Neil MacDonald, Jack Hollstedt and Larry Grant

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

–– Kamloops this Week

In 1979, Kamloops was host to the inaugural B.C. Winter Games.

Now, 39 years later, the city is doing it all again, and some of those who helped make it happen the first time will be there to watch — and volunteer.

Back then, Jack Hollstedt was a director for the Games and his wife Lois sat on Kamloops city council.

Jack was charged with providing three things for athletes: accommodation, food and registration. He put athletes up in city schools and fed them in school cafeterias, on top of registering them for all of their events.

Today, these jobs fall to at least three different people.

In 1979, Kamloops was a city 2/3 its modern size and the Games were roughly the same size they are today, with more than 2,000 athletes and coaches participating.

But the city had no trouble filling volunteer positions.

Jack and Lois said they can’t recall Kamloops hosting an event the size of the Games prior, adding it was a challenge putting together something of this size.

READ MORE: Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the Winter Games

“I think what happened back then is that service clubs got involved tremendously. I’m not sure that’s still the case, because there are fewer clubs to be involved,” Lois said, noting there is no longer a Kinsmen club in the city — a club that was a big volunteer contributor back then.

Volunteers have always been a big part of the Games’ success, not only year after year, but in securing them as a permanent fixture for sports in B.C.

Securing volunteers for the Games was vital in showing the provincial government an event of this size can work in a city like Kamloops.

“We were very much under the finger of the provincial government, so we definitely wanted to make sure we did everything just as proper as we could. It was a very large event for Kamloops in those days,” Jack said.

Lois, who will be volunteering at the Games this weekend, said the city is still very much a volunteer community, but things have changed since 1979.

She’s had to pick up a few extra shifts to cover for the positions still unfilled.

“I don’t think the problem is that people aren’t willing — it’s that people are busier,” Lois said. “There are more women in the workplace now than there were then — two people working full-time in families when it used to be just one.”

Making it all come together is something Hollstedt has experience with. Before he helped organize the 1979 Games, he was the president of the Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament.

After the Games, he helped organize the 1996 Brier, the 1998 Ford World of Curling, the 2000 Scott Tournament of Hearts and the Strauss Canada Cup of Curling from 2003 to 2008.

Looking back at the Games, Jack, now 80, said what he still remembers most is all the fun he had making it happen.

“At the time, you don’t think that way, because you’re too busy,”

Jack said.

“So when I look back, we had such a great time. I hope that everyone that’s involved now can take part in that kind of fun.”

Athlete of old

Bob Walton from 2018 would have a few tidbits of skiing-safety advice for 1979 Bob Walton.

No. 1 on the list — wear a helmet.

Walton, 53, is coming full circle along with the 2018 B.C. Winter Games, first held in Kamloops in 1979 and returning to the Tournament Capital this year.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

World Community Film Festival returns to Kelowna

The festival celebrates its 16th anniversary

Line-up for Kelowna Fan Experience 2019 to be announced

The line-up will be announced Feb. 22

2019’s “status quo” budget accepted cautiously by Kelowna Chamber

“(This budget) is to appeal to an NDP base.”

Teresa May talent agency opens in Kelowna

The agency will be holding an all ages open casting event Feb. 24

Niedermayer jersey retirement ceremony a dream come true

Penticton minor hockey players bring home memories of a lifetime from Niedermayer jersey retirement

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Larch Hills junior skiers top Teck BC Midget Championships

Multiple top-five finishes contribute to aggregate team trophy

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

Vehicle fire on Coquihalla near Kamloops

A large plume of smoke could be seen rising into the sky over Highway 5

Pool plans disappoint Shuswap swim clubs

Salmon Arm mayor assures options for city rec centre only preliminary

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Most Read