The Meijer State Games of Michigan has announced that it will stage its inaugural winter games in 2014. The event will be held February 14–16, 2014 in the greater Grand Rapids area and is expected to host more than 2,000 athletes in its first year.

“This signature event put on by the West Michigan Sports Commission evokes such a strong sense of community and state pride in its participants, as well as the thousands of spectators who attend,” said Doug Meijer, co-chairman of Grand Rapids-based retailer Meijer. “We’re excited to sponsor this event as it gives spirited athletes another opportunity to build character and practice sportsmanship in the inaugural 2014 Winter Games.”

The inaugural sports lineup and confirmed venues include:

Basketball at various venues across Grand Rapids; indoor BMX at Thrifty Acres Indoor BMX in Greenville; bowling at Northfield Lanes in Grand Rapids; ice hockey at Griff’s Icehouse in Grand Rapids, Georgetown Ice Arena in Hudsonville, Kentwood Ice Arena in Grand Rapids, Southside Ice Arena in Byron Center and Walker Ice & Fitness Center in Grand Rapids; speedskating at Eagles Ice Center in Grand Rapids; skiing and snowboarding at Cannonsburg Ski and Ride Area in Belmont; snowball softball at Huff Park in Grand Rapids; and wrestling at Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids. Venues for fatbike mountain biking, racquetball, indoor rowing and snowshoe trail running will be announced at a later date.

“The Winter Games will provide year round incentive for Michigan residents of all ages and abilities to stay active,” said Eric Engelbarts, executive director of the Meijer State Games of Michigan. “Hitting on the mission of the West Michigan Sports Commission, the inaugural event is expected to draw over 2,000 athletes and contribute at least $500,000 in direct visitor spending to the greater Grand Rapids area.”

The Opening Ceremony will be held at Cannonsburg Ski and Ride Area and contain a parade of athletes, a torch light parade (featuring the ski patrol), fireworks and a “Big Air” exhibition with professional skiers and snowboarders.

In 2013, the Meijer State Games of Michigan – Summer Games offered 34 sports, bringing more than 6,500 athletes from 73 Michigan counties to West Michigan. An independent economic impact survey revealed that Meijer State Games of Michigan participants spent an average of $483 per family and injected more than $2.7 million into the local economy, according to the West Michigan Sports Commission.