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Invictus Games founder Prince Harry invited to visit Surrey's Veterans Village

2025 Invictus Games bring competitors from 20 nations to Vancouver in February

Opening ceremonies for the 2025 Invictus Games in Vancouver/Whistler will be held at BC Place Stadium next February, and event organizers have pledged to bring Games founder Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, to Surrey that week for a tour of Whalley's groundbreaking Legion Veterans Village.

News of those two happenings drew applause Thursday (June 20) during a Surrey Board of Trade luncheon where CEO Scott Moore drummed up support for the Games, a multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans.

In 231 days, as of Friday, the 2025 Invictus Games will welcome more than 500 people from 20 nations to compete in adaptive sports, including winter sports for the first time.

Moore said the "official" announcement of the opening ceremonies will be made Monday (June 24).

"It's a challenge, a wonderful challenge," he said, "because in November when the Prince was here, he saw that the original plan was to have the opening ceremonies at Vancouver Convention Centre, and he said it's not big enough.

"We had to find a little bit more money (in the budget)," Moore continued, "but it's still the right idea because our vision is that on February 8th, 550 athletes, participants from around the world who have served their nations, will come out to a record crowd of between 30,000 and 50,000 people who will be completing that circle of inspiration, who've been inspired or will be inspired by the participants as they go through the Games."

Tickets will go on sale in September, Moore told the luncheon crowd at a Sheraton hotel ballroom in Guildford.

"You can register for tickets now or, as a business, we'd encourage you to think about buying a block of tickets for school kids, for First Nation groups, for military members who might not otherwise be able to attend," he said.

"We have hospitality packages that you can be involved in, and we are still looking for some sponsors, although I would say we are very, very grateful to the Province of British Columbia, the federal government and to our two major sponsors Boeing and ATCO and many others, including all five banks. We're thrilled to say that we have all five banks supporting us."

So far, Invictus Games have been held in London 2014, Orlando 2016, Toronto 2017, Sydney 2018, The Hague 2022 and Dusseldorf 2023.

Moore, former South Surrey resident with wife Becky, was president of Sportsnet from 2010 to 2018 and a veteran of several Olympic Games before taking on the job of Invictus Games CEO in Vancouver/Whistler.

"Invictus Games is not a sporting event, it's an event that uses sport for its transformative power to heal," Moore said. 

"The more I get to know about the military culture, how much help our veterans need, the more I realize that this is a cause that, late in life… that cause found me. I'm an evangelical now about getting support for these Games, because these Games will leave a legacy. We've committed to leaving a minimum of $5 million legacy for veterans issues (in) British Columbia, across the country and internationally, for adaptive sport and to create community and 12-month-a-year adaptive sport to allow people (a) way to heal."

He said many of the people who participate in Invictus Games have injuries that most others will never see.

"Many of them have had significant brain injuries or trauma and many of them end up in their basements for months and months and can't face the world, and they could get the opportunity to be here. And we hear many times from former athletes and their families, thank you for giving me my father back. Thank you for giving me my sister back. Thank you for giving me our family back.

"And if you doubt any of that," he continued, "fully 15 per cent of participants have told us that without a cause like the Invictus Games to motivate them, they would otherwise have committed suicide. So while I've been fortunate in my career to be part of 11 Olympic Games, Olympic Games change lives and Invictus Games save lives."

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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