Monday, March 10, 2008

Arctic Winter Games

The 2008 Arctic Winter Games kicked off yesterday in Yellowknife and will run until March 15. Think of these as a northern version of the Olympics. The competition features traditional sports such as basketball, hockey and volleyball as one would expect but adds a Northern twist with sports that are not that well known in the "South" such as snow snake, knuckle hop, high kick and airplane.

Naturally, I am keeping an eye on the competition to see how Team Nunavut and Arctic Bay athletes in particular, make out. Team Nunavut is sending 262 athletes and if I have counted correctly, Arctic Bay's contribution is 15 athletes. One student is going for basketball and others are competing in traditional Inuit sports. We are also sending a team to compete in Dene Hand Games. Dene Hand Games are unique for us because Arctic Bay is the only Nunavut community sending athletes to this particular sport. Dene Games are not indigenous to our part of the arctic but they have really caught on in our community due in no small part to the unbounded enthusiasm of our recreation director. At the 2006 Games, Arctic Bay athletes took gold in Dene games so I'm very interested to see how the team fares this year.

In 2006, Team Nunavut garnered 75 medals. Perhaps this year they will break 100. And yes, I do have a few predictions. Team Nunavut will pick up at least one gold in boys badminton and I'm confident that our indoor soccer teams will all reach the podium (the junior boys team from Iqaluit is very solid). My team played against them back in November and Iqaluit had a phenomenal team. In most of the other age divisions, the soccer teams are coming predominantly from Rankin Inlet, a major powerhouse from the Kivalliq Region. I'm also predicting that Arctic Bay's contingent in Dene Games will repeat their 2006 gold medal performance. Arctic Bay athletes will also put in medal-winning performances in the Inuit sports as well. Competition kicked off earlier today so I will be checking the results frequently. (Go to Its going to be an exciting week.

Out of curiousity I decided to check out the NWT page on the Arctic Winter Games website to see if I recognized any names from my days in Fort Smith. Turns out a few names rang a bell. Of course, it was hard to recognize faces since it's been 8 years since I lived there. I did teach at least a couple of them back when they were perhaps 12 or 13. I also recognized the young NWT athlete who read the Athlete's Oath during the opening ceremonies as a former student of mine from my first year of teaching. Dang, they all look so grown up now. I feel old!


Rob, Tina and the boys said...

It kills me that I am so close but yet am not able to get in to see any of the games. Rob is away and there is no way a toddler would sit still long enough for any of it. Though, when we were in WalMart yesterday there were many team jackets, and we did see some Team Nunavut ones!