01/23/2014 08:51 EST | Updated 03/25/2014 05:59 EDT

GTA residents lending a hand at Sochi Olympic Games

A couple of Olympic volunteers from the GTA have their bags pack for Sochi where they’ll be an integral part of the behind-the-scenes action.

Oakville father of three Mike James coaches teenage hockey players here at home and will assisting at the medals venue.

“And at night time it turns into a concert venue,” said James, who first got the Olympic fever after hearing stories from a volunteer at the Vancouver Games. “So from what I understand it’s the place to be at nighttime.”

James will also be celebrating his 50th birthday while in Russia.

“I think that’s going to be a great gift I can give myself,” he said. “I won’t be alone; I’ll have 25 thousand new family members.”

180 Canadian volunteers

Shanti Suppiah's Olympic dreams go back much further.

“I was a competitive figure skater and I always dreamt of going to the Olympics as a figure skater,” she said. “That never happened but to me going to the Olympics as a volunteer is the next best thing.”

Suppiah has volunteered at many big figure skating events and initially thought she hadn’t been picked for Sochi.

“I hadn't heard after about six or seven weeks and I thought, they picked their team and I wasn't on it,” she said.

Then a few months ago, the email came through.

“I had to close my office door and kind of compose myself and then there was a bit of jumping up and down,” she said.

In total 180 volunteers from Canada are going to Sochi as part of a volunteer squad that will include 25,000 people from around the world.