About 500 young players took to the field this past weekend in the annual Elks Outdoor Soccer Tournament in Hay River.
Teams came from a number of communities in the NWT, including Yellowknife, Fort Simpson, Fort Liard, Fort Resolution, Fort Smith and the host community.
“There are about 10 different schools,” said Phil Goguen, a teacher at Diamond Jenness Secondary School and one of the event organizers.
The tournament, held from Sept. 20-22, is the biggest such event in the NWT each fall.
“It’s a good way to get together with friends and compete together, and try to win a banner,” said Goguen.
The Super Soccer tournament in Yellowknife takes place in the spring.
While 500 players is a large tournament, Goguen noted that was a lower number of participants than in previous years.
“There’s a couple of schools that have new staff, and they were just overwhelmed with the start of the year,” he said of schools which had participated in the past, but did not send teams this year. “But they told me they’re confident that they’ll be back next year.”
Goguen noted the tournament normally features between 600-700 players.
The other organizers were Peter Beaton, also a teacher at Diamond Jenness, and Pat Morris, a teacher at Princess Alexandra School.
The team categories were Grades 4/5, Grades 6/7 and Grades 8/9, which is junior boys and girls, and the senior players of Grades 10, 11, and 12.
The senior games were played at the Diamond Jenness field, while the juniors played on the Princess Alexandra field.
Initially, it had been planned to play games on the ball fields at the Keith Broadhead Memorial Twin Park, but that site wasn’t required because of the lower than expected number of players.