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Team Alberta mittens garner mixed reviews at Canada Winter Games

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Team Alberta mittens garner mixed reviews at Canada Winter Games​
WATCH: Team Alberta's mittens will definitely catch your eye at the Canada Winter Games this year. They chose a design they think represents our province. For some, the message is a little worn out and others say it fits like a glove. Lisa MacGregor reports – Feb 18, 2019

The mittens Team Alberta athletes are wearing at the Canada Winter Games this year are making a bold statement and bringing in mixed reviews.

One mitt of the pair has, “Oil Oil” written on it accompanied by an oil rig design. The other features a cartoon cow with a speech bubble reading, “Beef! Beef!”

For some, the message is a little worn out, while others said it fits like a glove.

Team Alberta told Global News it chose the design which it feels represents the province.

“We were looking to do something fun for Team Alberta and our mitts were the perfect opportunity to do that,” said Pat Lechelt, chef de mission for Team Alberta.

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The mitts are part of this year’s Team Alberta uniform and the slogan printed on them stems from an old chant, the same as what’s printed on the mittens.

“One of our teams from the 2017 Canada Summer Games had a great cheer and the kids all got on board,” Lechelt said.

Calgary artistic swimmer Camryn Hooey said she’s a fan of the mitts she’s wearing to represent Team Alberta.

“I thought they were amazing,” Hooey said. “I think they’re super cool and I really like that they’re unique… no one else has them.

“I would say that oil and beef is a big part of our economy. I think that they’re just trying to show what Alberta’s known for — or one of the things Alberta is known for.”

Hooey’s teammate, Rosemary Stuart, said they generally represent Alberta.

“I was really excited to wear them for opening ceremonies,” Stuart said.

But for one athlete’s mother, Marlies van Dijk, the mitts aren’t the right fit.

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Van Dijk’s said in her daughter’s opinion, the design doesn’t represent the Alberta she knows.

“She sees Alberta as something much more than this and she was hoping for probably something that would make her very proud,” van Dijk said.

Van Dijk said the mittens “felt like propaganda” to her.

“It feels that the gloves are tone deaf to the event that’s occurring,” she said. “It’s a sporting event with youth but we’ve politicized it by asking the kids to wear these gloves.”

Lechelt said she’s only heard only positive reactions from Team Alberta parents and athletes when it comes to the mittens.

“This is the first question I’ve had about them being political because certainly, that was not our intent,” Lechelt said. “They’re just supposed to be fun and light and very humourous.”

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley showed her support for the mitten message, tweeting on Monday that she loved them.

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