Even before floor hockey matches start at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex, the venue is filled with excitement.

Three rinks are set up to host multiple games each day for the 2024 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games.

On Day 2, Team Alberta took on New Brunswick in its first game, losing 6-2.

"They wanted the puck and whatnot, but we were just forcing them to battle the puck in the corner," said Chris Dary, who wears number 91 for Team Alberta.

"It was a hard battle, it was a good game."

Dary says he has been playing floor hockey for close to 10 years, and enjoys meeting competitors from all across the country.

"I go out there, try to do 110 per cent of what I can do," he said. "I just keep focused and try to stay confident."

Team Alberta won two games on Day One.

Dary says has family from Fort Saskatchewan in the stands cheering him and Team Alberta on.

"It's amazing how you see family up there with the 'Go Alberta' sign," he said. "It's all signed with everybody's name on it, so it just feels great to have support."

Dary says Shelly Frew, his sister-in-law, is one of the loudest spectators.

"I liked the sportsmanship," she said. "We cheer for everybody and they get pretty crazy, but it's so much fun, it's a lot of fun."

Debbie Rice serves as Mission Staff for Team Alberta's floor hockey team and oversees the athlete's needs at the games.

She says they all received provincial pins to trade with others when they're not competing.

"It's a big thing and they want to trade pins, they want to collect them all," she said. "All the provinces have to come up with their own pins, it's quite the thing."

Norm Hurley is a volunteer referee who's officiating in his last national games. He's been at it for 36 years.

"My son originally was a special Olympian, so that's why I got involved," said Hurley. "He said, 'You're my dad, you can't be my coach,' so I had to become a referee."

Even though it's a 'non-contact' sport, there is a lot of bumping and pushing happening on the rink.

Hurley says in some games, the athletes need to be reminded to avoid hitting other players.

"Sometimes we have to have a timeout," he said. "They don't realize that there's no body-checking, but bodies do collide and so if they get upset, we get the coach to calm them down."

Hurley says the players give it their all on the rink and that means the referees have to be up to the task.

"When I teach referees, I say we have to give them 100 per cent because these athletes are giving 100 per cent," he said. "They want to go to the nationals, they want to go to internationals meets, if they could give 110 per cent, so should we."

Egan Keir and his sister Isla were at the Seven Chiefs Sportsplex on Thursday to watch their uncle Kaleb play for Team Saskatchewan. The 11 and seven-year-olds live in Calgary and say they like how close floor hockey is to ice hockey.

"I think it's pretty cool, I like how they play the same positions in hockey but use ringette sticks," said Egan. "I think that's pretty cool."

Agnes Northeast is one of the 1,500 volunteers at the Calgary games.

She's tasked with access control and making sure people get to where they need to be without interfering others or the matches.

"Being around all the volunteers, it inspires me to do more," she said. "The families that support these athletes, I just think it's so wonderful, they're so happy and so involved and engaged and it's just amazing to see them be part of the community and having so much fun."

Northeast is getting time off from her employer, who's also a sponsor of the games, so she can volunteer and she's loving every minute of it.

"I texted my husband how it makes my heart so happy to see this," she said. "It's just amazing how everybody is enjoying themselves and having a great time."

The games run through March 2.

To learn more about the event, you can visit the Special Olympics Canada Winter Games website.