Lynn Hamilton
3/5/20

Spotlight on: Lynn Hamilton

It seemed a forgone conclusion Lynn Hamilton would wind up with an important role for the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games.

The 57-year-old St. Catharines native’s path was pretty much mapped out when husband Doug Hamilton was named Chairman of the Games last year.

“I tease that I got my arm twisted,” said Hamilton, who has taken on the role of Sport Chair and sits on the Games Services Committee. “I’ve been living this since the bid process right from Day 1.”

Hamilton said former Brock Badgers head coach Chris Critelli was offered the role, but declined.

Enter the former Lynn Polson, who has more than her share of impressive credentials, including playing basketball for Canada at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where the Canadian team placed fourth. She then represented Canada at the 1986 FIBA World Championship for Women, where the team finished third and won a bronze medal.

“We thought of some other people and I think I was No. 6 or 7, or 8, or 9 or 10,” she joked.

Hamilton’s resume became even more impressive recently when she was named one of the top 100 female basketball players for the last century by U SPORTS. Critelli was also named on the list.

“It was a great honour,” she said. “It was a great four years of my life and I wouldn’t trade that four years of my life for anything. Great teammates. We had a very successful team. We won two national championships and finished second two years so everything about that was great.”

In her role, Hamilton is responsible for finding volunteer leads for the 18 sports which will be held at the Games in August 2021.

“I have 25 volunteers because some sports need two people because it’s over two weeks,” she explained. “It’s essentially people from Niagara who are basically helping to design what we’re going to be doing and plan each event.”

Hamilton said her contingent of volunteers will be responsible for making sure each event is properly run and that athletes have everything they need.

“I just worry about officials, announcers, thinking mostly about the athletes as they play their sport and what they need,” she said. “It doesn’t seem complicated but once you get into the middle of it, you need people for all of these things.”

Hamilton said so far, so good.

“We’re great. I’ve got 25 people from all across Niagara so it’s not just St. Catharines-based,” said Hamilton, a graduate of Governor Simcoe and Bishop’s University. “It’s everybody. A lot of people who have put together events before like at the Flatwater Centre or at the Henley. 

“We’ve got a lot of good people in place. We’re using their experiences to help run the events.”

Hamilton has already seen progress overall.

“We have a staff of 35 and we started with just volunteers, so it’s really nice to have just seen the growth in here,” she said from the Games offices on Martindale Road. “It is coming together. We have great people, great hires and the volunteers we’re bringing in are great people, too.”

Hamilton is excited for the Games.

“Obviously, what we’re getting is legacy but the legacy starts now,” she said. “Kids will start to hear about the Canada Games and they’ll start hearing about the sports. We’re getting youth involved, we’re getting 30-year-olds involved. Just like the Meridian Centre came along and helped our city, the First Ontario PAC helped our city, I think this will help bring us up another level.

“We’re also helping unify Niagara. Sport is a way to bring people together. We should all be working together. We’re trying to transform and unify all of Niagara.”

With a husband who was a former Olympian and two sons who played in the NHL — Dougie is a defenceman for the Carolina Hurricanes while Freddie is now retired and attending Brock — it’s no surprise sports is at the forefront of the Hamilton household.

“It’s our life. All four of us can’t see us not having sports,” she said. “It’s not like we forced our children into sports. You don’t see my children in the NBA, they’re playing hockey which my husband and I never even played.

“It seemed to have been a passion in our household.”

Hamilton said she even managed to get her sons involved in the Games — Dougie was brought in to give his feedback on the Games mascot, Shelly the Turtle, while Freddie wrote the sponsorship strategy as part of his program at Brock.

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