After years of planning, the York Can-Am Games got underway Sunday with a bit of pomp and bagpipes during an opening ceremony at the York Expo Center.

But with the planning over, now comes the time to actually host the games, which couldn't happen without the help from over 400 volunteers, said Wes Kahley, York City Police chief and an organizer.

"There's a lot of volunteers who are putting a lot of effort into this," he said. "Hopefully all the athletes will have a good time."

The games run through Sunday, July 20 andh kicked off with a triathlon at the Susquehanna River near Wrightsville early Sunday morning.

More than 50 events, which are free to attend, will be held at 20 venues in York, Lancaster and Dauphin counties. Events include traditional athletic competitions, such as swimming and ice hockey, as well as profession-specific events such as toughest firefighter alive. The games are open to police, fire, EMS and corrections personal and their families.

Great travels: William Merrylees, detective superintendent of the London (Ontario) Police Service and CEO/president of Can-Am Games, said first responders from across the United States and Canada, as well as a few from Australia, India and Ukraine, made the trek to York for the games.

"There are no boundaries when it comes to making friends," he said.


Rob Haffner, with the Calgary (Alberta) Police Service, said he's been attending Can-Am and World Police and Fire Games since 1997.

"It gives you a chance to travel and get to meet people from all over the world," he said. "It's a great time to network."

While in York, Haffner said he'll complete in the 5K and 10K runs.

Welcome: The opening ceremonies included a demonstration by members of the state police mounted unit and a parade of first responders and their apparatus from York County and the surrounding area.

After the parade, which was led by the Kiltie Band of York, attendees had the chance to inspect the vehicles and speak with first responders.

The meet and greet aspect of the games were a focal point of many of the dignities who spoke during the ceremony that was topped off with a torch lighting.

"What we're really here for is the competition, the camaraderie and, most importantly, the fun," said Doug Hoke, a York County commissioner.

Can-Am Games events

Here's a look at what's happening at the Can-Am Games today:

Golf: Regent Glen Country Club, 1000 Golf Club Drive, York, at 8 a.m.

5k run: Canadochly Elementary School, 100 Abels Rd, Wrightsville, at 8 a.m.

Archery (target): York Archers Inc., 550 Gun Club Road, York, at 9 a.m.

Bench press: York Barbell, 3300 Board Road, York at 9 a.m.

Deadlift: York Barbell, 3300 Board Road, York at 9 a.m.

Karate: Central York High School, 601 Mundis Mill Road, York, at 9 a.m.

Mountain bike: Codorus State Park, Hanover, at 9 a.m.

Power lifting: York Barbell, 3300 Board Road, York, at 9 a.m.

Billiards: Red Rose Restaurant and Lounge, 5370 Lincoln Highway, Hellam, at 4 p.m.

Bowling (10 pin): Suburban Bowlerama, 1945 S. Queen St., York, at 4 p.m.

Some streets in York City will be closed Wednesday for a cycling in the area of Kiwanis Lake and Noonan Park, York City Police said in a news release.

Parkway Boulevard from Newberry Street to Pacific Avenue, Atlantic Avenue from Parkway Boulevard to Noonan Street, Wood street from Pacific Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue from Noon Street to Willis Run Road will be closed during the event.

The streets will be closed starting at 7:30 a.m. until as late as 4 p.m. and parking will be restricted starting at 7 a.m., according the release.

- Reach Greg Gross at