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Winter Empire State Games join forces with new foundation

Jim McKenna, ESG alum Tucker West and Sandy Caligiore speak to media as they announce a new partnership between the winter games and the Empire State Sports Foundation.

Jim McKenna, ESG alum Tucker West and Sandy Caligiore speak to media as they announce a new partnership between the winter games and the Empire State Sports Foundation. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— “I give all the credit to ESG for my continuing in luge,” West, 17, said. “It was great practice for the youth olympics. It was a great atmosphere to compete in and meet other athletes.”

Empire State Sports Foundation has taken over the planning, promotion and organization of the summer games thanks to a recent agreement signed with the New York State Parks Department.

At a press conference announcing the creation of the Foundation, Stephen Gionta, an ESG alum and current National Hockey League (locked out) player, talked about his experiences.

“I played in the Empire State Games, and I loved it,” Gionta said. “It was one of the most memorable moments of my young hockey career. To play against the best in the state, to play for my region, to play for a gold medal – nothing compares. I hope all alumni join me in lending their voice and helping to bring back the Empire State Games.”

The foundation has also received support from former summer games athlete and U.S. women’s soccer star Abby Wambach as well as Michael G. Carey, the son of former state Gov. Hugh L. Carey, who founded the games in 1978. Due to the fiscal reasons, the state funding was cut in 2009, and the games were permanently discontinued in 2010. The Winter Games continued thanks to the work of Lake Placid and all the communities of the Adirondack region.

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