It was a busy weekend at the Midnight Sun Complex Oct. 24 to 27 as the Inuvik Regional Hockey School took to the ice, bringing a record number of athletes from around the Beaufort Delta out to sharpen their skills and steady their shots.
On top of that, the fourth local Girls World Hockey Day was celebrated Oct. 26, bringing over 20 girls of all ages out for an hour of conditioning.
“I’m hoping to learn a harder shot,” said Amber Lennie-Ipana, who has been playing hockey since she was nine. “I’m actually pretty excited.”
Noting the school has been held for at least two decades, Inuvik Minor Hockey Association President Carolyn Hunter said 133 kids came out to the camp, making the trek from Aklavik, Tuktoyaktuk and Fort McPherson in addition to the local talent. Jerseys were delivered by Manitoulin Transport in spite of the rough road conditions and she expressed her thanks to the driver.
Such a high turnout, she added, showed hockey is picking up speed among the Beaufort’s youth.
“Breaking a record has been really exciting and makes the hard work worthwhile,” she said. “I hope it means we’re doing the right thing and kids are feeling engaged and welcomed. We try to make this organization very inclusive.”
With Inuvik hosting the Arctic Winter Games bantam trials for Team NWT Dec. 12 to 14, the association also took the opportunity to help coach the local athletes on good sports nutrition, improving flexibility and getting a night of good sleep to be ready to try out for the team.
Among the nutritional tips were recipes on making healthy fruit smoothies and power pucks – grains held together by honey and sweetened with a dose of chocolate.
Lucas Pokiak, 12, who has been on the ice since he was three, said he was planning to take the knowledge he learned back home to practice.
“I’m definitely going to make power pucks – those are good,” he said.
Bantam player Charlie Snowshoe, on his sixth year, said he was looking forward to getting on the ice and practicing his slapslots.
“I’m having lots of fun,” he said, adding he was still deciding if he was going to try for the Arctic games or not.
Other players were more interested in getting into the more rough and tumble aspects of the game.
“I’m looking forward to learning hitting,” said six-year veteran Ariana Keevik.