Executive Council
Children, Seniors and Social Development
June 26, 2018

Premier Ball Names 2019 Labrador Winter Games Board of Directors

Today, at an event in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with the Honourable Lisa Dempster, Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development, officially announced the 15 members of the Board of Directors for the 2019 Labrador Winter Games.

The board will be chaired by Ernie McLean of North West River. Mr. McLean will be joined by board members John Andersen, Janice Barnes, Eugene Hart, Randy Letto, George Russell, Pauline Russell, Mary Winters and Todd Winters.

Ex-officio members of the board are Andrew Battcock, Jackie Compton-Hobbs, Rex Goudie, Michelle Healey, Michelle Watkins and Lt.-Col. Andrew Wedgewood. Lt.-Col. Stéphane Racle will assume Lt.-Col. Wedgewood’s position on the board following a change of command ceremony at 5 Wing Goose Bay in July. Biographies of the board members are provided in the backgrounder below.

The Labrador Winter Games are held every three years, typically in March. More than 300 participants from communities across Labrador are invited to participate. The official dates for the 2019 games will be determined by the board in the near future.

Budget 2018 allocated $500,000 for the 2019 Labrador Winter Games.

The Labrador Winter Games supports commitments in The Way Forward to deliver better services and better outcomes for residents. The Way Forward outlines all actions the Provincial Government is taking to achieve a strong, diversified province with a high standard of living, and can be viewed at thewayforward.gov.nl.ca External Link Icon.


“The Provincial Government has been a strong and committed supporter of the Labrador Winter Games since its inception in 1983. This event is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the rich, diverse culture of Labrador while promoting the benefits of competitive sport and healthy active living. This board of directors shares a passion for sport and community involvement and will provide strong leadership to ensure the 2019 Labrador Winter Games are a resounding success.”
Honourable Dwight Ball
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“As a Labradorian and a past participant in the Labrador Winter Games, I’m especially pleased that we’re moving forward with the preparations for this event, which brings Labradorians together every three years in the spirit of friendly competition and fair play. I always look forward to the games, and I thank the board members for volunteering their time and expertise to make the 2019 games a success.”
Honourable Lisa Dempster
Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development

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Learn more
Labrador Winter Games - www.labradorwintergames.ca External Link Icon
Follow us on Twitter: @GovNL External Link Icon and @CSSD_GovNL External Link Icon

Media contact
Jason Card
Office of the Premier

Gina MacArthur
Children, Seniors and Social Development
709-729-3768, 730-2977


Biographies of 2019 Labrador Winter Games Board of Directors

John Andersen has served for many years as Makkovik’s Recreation Director and was Team Makkovik’s Coordinator for five Labrador Winter Games. Mr. Andersen sits on the Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Circle Provincial Board and is chair of the Torngat Recreation Commission.

Janice Barnes has been a volunteer in Labrador West for many years and serves as President of the Labrador West Employment Corporation. She was the first female Deputy Mayor for the Town of Labrador City, a position she held until she was elected Mayor in 2009. Ms. Barnes holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Dalhousie University and earned her master’s degree in the same discipline from the University of Guelph. Ms. Barnes is Executive Director, Labrador Affairs Secretariat, and resides in Labrador West.

Andrew Battcock taught physical education at the junior high and high school level for 22 years and is currently the School Health Promotion Liaison Consultant for the Labrador Region of the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District. Mr. Battcock was Provincial Director of the Canadian Intramural, and Recreation Association for three years, Provincial Intramural Student Leadership Chairperson for four years and has coached numerous school and community teams to provincial championships. He previously served on Boards of Directors for 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2016 Labrador Winter Games.

Eugene Hart has been Chief of the Sheshatshiu Innu First Nation since 2015. In the late 1990s he became a classroom assistant at Peenamin McKenzie School, beginning a 16-year career with the Innu Education system in Sheshatshiu. During this time he held a number of key positions including Guidance Counsellor Assistant, Community School Liaison, and Innu Vice Principal. Mr. Hart has also worked as a manager at the Charles J. Andrew Youth Treatment Centre and as a community service worker with the Department of Children, Youth and Family Services. He was elected to the Innu Nation Board in 2012 and 2014 where he served as Chair of the Finance committee.

Jackie Compton-Hobbs was raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and has been volunteering in the community for over 20 years, sitting on the executive of many sports organizations in the region. Ms. Compton-Hobbs is a councillor for the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and has been a strong advocate and voice for the enhancement of recreation, quality of life and wellness within the community, chairing the town’s Community Services and Recreation Committee. She is a recipient of the 2015 Public Service Award of Excellence, the 2017 Labrador Distinction Award, the 2017 Wayne Earle Memorial Award, and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Award for her volunteer work.

Randy Letto resides in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and has been Executive Director of Destination Labrador for 11 years. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economic Geography from Memorial University and has 25 years of experience in community economic and business development, and 22 years of experience in the tourism sector. Mr. Letto has a proven track record of award-winning and innovative approaches to community and tourism development and has managed numerous innovative projects. He is a volunteer with the Great Labrador Canoe Race, a member of the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Rotary Club and a member of the Project Steering Committee for the Red Bay Visitor Experience Plan.

Rex Goudie was born and raised in L’Anse-au-Clair where he graduated from Mountain Field High School. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a Bachelor of Commerce from Dalhousie University. Mr. Goudie served as Assistant Deputy Minister with the Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs and as the Coordinator of the Comprehensive Labrador Agreement. He has been involved in community activities in Labrador since the 1980s and is chair of the Grenfell Foundation (Labrador East Chapter) and a director with the International Grenfell Association.

Ernie McLean is a former Member of the House of Assembly for Lake Melville District, and Minister of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs who currently resides in North West River. He is President of the Labrador Heritage Society, served two terms as Mayor of North West River and is a Director of the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce and the Goose Bay Airport Corporation.

Michelle Healey is Director of the Healthy Living, Recreation and Sport Division with the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development. Prior to her role with government, she was Director of Varsity Athletics at Memorial University. Michelle has extensive multi-sport games experience, and served as Chef de Mission for Team NL at the 2011 and 2013 Canada Games.

Lt.-Col. Stéphane Racle joined the Canadian Armed Forces as an Aerospace Engineer in 1996. His diverse career has taken him across Canada and overseas in a variety of operational and technical roles. He holds a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada, master’s degrees in Business Administration and Defence Studies, and is a graduate of the Empire Test Pilots’ School in Boscombe Down, United Kingdom. He is an avid squash and competitive dodgeball player. Lt.-Col Racle will assume command of 5 Wing Goose Bay in July 2018.

George Russell is a native of Williams Harbour and has been living in Happy Valley-Goose Bay since 2001. He is the Environment and Natural Resource Manager with NunatuKavut and has more than 20 years of experience working on Environment, Community and Indigenous Initiatives in Labrador. Mr. Russell has a strong connection to community, sports and recreation and has been involved with the Labrador Winter Games since 1992, primarily as a competitor but also as a volunteer. He has been the president of the Men’s Softball League in Goose Bay since 2008, helps organize sporting events in the area and coaches minor sports.

Pauline Russell is a long time community volunteer who served as community coordinator for eight Labrador Winter Games from 1989 to 2010. She has also held several positions on the Mary's Harbour Recreation Committee and served as chair of the Mary's Harbour Crab Festival. Ms. Russell was a school board trustee with District #2 (Northern Peninsula / Labrador South) and volunteers with the Kids Eat Smart Program, the Circle of Friends Resource Centre and Harbour View Manor. Ms. Russell has also served for 20 years as an Anglican licensed lay minister.

Michelle Watkins is Director for the Labrador Affairs Secretariat. She has served in various volunteer capacities in Labrador since the 1990s including President of the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce and President of the Melville Mantas Swim Club. Ms. Watkins also served as Arts and Culture Chair and volunteer for past Labrador Winter Games. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and a Master of Business Administration Degree.

Lt.-Col. Andrew Wedgewood has been Commander of 5 Wing Goose Bay since 2016. He enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1991 and graduated from the Royal Military College in Kingston with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering in 1995. He completed his Aerospace Engineering Officer training in 1996 and was posted to Ottawa where he worked as a navigation and communication systems engineer. Lt.-Col. Wedgwood was posted to 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg in 2009 before being selected to attend the Joint Command and Staff Programme in Toronto in 2011. During that period he completed his Masters in Defence Studies and was promoted to his current rank. In 2012 he was posted back to the Ottawa region and in 2014 he was posted to Trenton, Ontario.

Mary Winters was born and raised in North West River, Labrador. She volunteered for many years in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay area, including with minor softball and minor hockey. She was also a dedicated volunteer with the Labrador Winter Games from 1986 to 2016 where she served on the Northern Star Newspaper, the Labrathon, and most notably with the VIP Hostess Committee. Ms. Winters is also an accomplished athlete, having won awards in broomball and softball. She was the first woman to umpire at the Canadian Men's Slo-Pitch Softball Nationals which were held in Marystown in 1987. Ms. Winters has been honoured in the builder category for the Happy Valley-Goose Bay Community Awards and has been awarded the Labradorians of Distinction medal.

Todd Winters was born and raised in Happy Valley-Goose Bay where he participated in multiple sports including softball, broomball and ball hockey. He continues to be involved in sport in his community as a volunteer coach for minor soccer and minor softball, a program that he initiated in 2015. Mr. Winters has been the Executive Director for the Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Circle NL since 2007 and has been involved in the Labrador Winter Games since its inception in 1983. He is also President of the Lake Melville Minor Ball League, Regional Director for Labrador with Recreation NL and a member of the Eat Great and Participate stakeholders committee.

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