Jason Doyle, a police officer with Victoria Police in Australia, poses with medals he won at the 2014 Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games. He
Jason Doyle, a police officer with Victoria Police in Australia, poses with medals he won at the 2014 Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games. He will compete in the York Can-Am Games in July. (submitted)

As its name implies, the Can-Am Games are geared toward first responders from the U.S. and Canada.

But that hasn't stopped athletes from other parts of the world from signing up for the games that will be held in York County in July.

Jason Doyle is literally coming from half way around the world to compete in events that include the 5K run and golf.

"I hope to have an incredible experience at the games, having a beer or two with new friends, winning a medal maybe, building my hat collection and whatever else comes along," said the highway patrol officer with Victoria Police in Australia.

Doyle previously took part in the Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games, an event similar to the Can-Ams, but for Australians, New Zealanders and other first responders from parts of the Pacific Rim.

Rich Reincke, deputy sports director of the games and a York County Sheriff's deputy, said he's received inquires from athletes from Ukraine, Brazil and India to take part in the games.

The games: The 2014 games, to be held July 13-20, will feature more than 50 events, including traditional athletic competitions, such as swimming, softball and ice hockey, as well as profession-specific events such as SWAT and toughest firefighter alive.

More than 20 venues will be set up across York, Lancaster and Dauphin counties.

The games are open to police, fire, EMS and corrections personal and their families.

The games get underway with the opening ceremony at the York Expo Center starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 13.


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Organizers of the York games anticipate more than 3,000 athletes will take part.

But having first responders from beyond North America allows for a "more diverse and enriched atmosphere," said William Merrylees, detective superintendent of the London (Ontario) Police Service and CEO/president of Can-Am Games.

"It is also very interesting to sit down and talk about job related differences and challenges that we face around the world." Merrylees said. "Many of the competitors that attend from outside North America perform at a high skill level, which provides for great competition."

Ready to compete: While he's not coming from outside the continent, John McNitt, a state prison correctional sergeant, will have a hefty journey when he makes the trek from California to York.

He said it will be his first time at the Can-Am Games, where he'll compete in judo, but he did take part in the 2013 World Police and Fire Games held in Northern Ireland.

"I hope the experience of the Can-Am games will be similar to the World Games with the chance to meet people from many different areas and make new friends," he said.

Mishawaka (Indiana) Police Cpl. Jeffrey Price will also take part in his first Can-Am Games this year when he competes in the Olympic triathlon, 5K run and various swimming events.

"I'm really excited and looking forward to the events and even more excited to be competing in these events with fellow police officers and first responders," said Price, who's traveling with a colleague to compete in York.

Travel partner: York is a little closer to home for Dave Atkinson, a retired sergeant with Halton Regional Police Service, which serves an area just southwest of Toronto.

Since 2004 he has traveled to parts of the U.S. and Canada to compete in the games and will do the same this year to take aim at a gold metal in the shotgun events during the York games.

Like all the other times he's been to the Can-Ams, Atkinson said he'll be traveling with his wife, Ginny, to York.

"When the games are over, we will do all the touristy things that your area has to offer," he said.

For Doyle, the trip to the U.S. isn't all play and no work.

His month-long stay includes a job development opportunity with the Columbus Police Department in Ohio and spending sometime with the New York City Police Department.

"Which will be useful for my work in Australia and, hopefully, when I go for promotion," he said.

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.