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Sometimes there truly is a silver lining hidden in those storm clouds.

Community Government and Services Minister Lorne Kusugak found one of those silver linings when his plane flew over Rankin Inlet when he was trying to get home for a meeting of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities and the grand opening of the community’s new state-of-the-art arena in December.

Wayne Kusugak sharpens a pair of blades at the Rankin Inlet arena. Naujaat will be receiving a much needed skate-sharpening machine lin January of 2020 donated to the community by Overlabder Sports in Yellowknife in December 2019. Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Kusugak said he ultimately ended-up in Yellowknife for a few days and decided to pay a visit to his old friends, Sandra and Bill Sterling, who are the owners of Overlander Sports in Yellowknife.

He said as all old friends always do, they began chatting it up and the conversation soon turned to the new arena being opened in Rankin Inlet.

“Once we began talking about the arena, and hockey in general, they mentioned to me they had purchased a new skate-sharpening machine,” said Kusugak.

“Then they told me about their old machine, which is in the $30,000 to $40,000 range and still in great condition.

“They asked me if a community in the Kivalliq could use it if they donated the machine and paid to transport it to its new home.

“Really, I knew almost every community in the Kivalliq could use it, but then I came across Rodney Taparti from Naujaat and I thought what better place?”

Kusugak said the gesture from Overland Sports deserves to be recognized by the region.

He said Taparti told him it would be quite welcome in Naujaat.

“It’s always nice to see a business make a gesture like this to help out a community, especially one that loves hockey as much as Naujaat.

Community Government and Services Minister Lorne Kusugak found a new home for a much needed skate-sharpening machine in Naujaat in December 2019. Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

“I’m sure the skate sharpener will be a valued piece of equipment in the community for many years to come.”

Taparti, Naujaat’s recreation co-ordinator, said he had gone out for a quick shopping trip when he ran into Kusugak.

He said there was no way in the world he’d turn down an offer like that for the community when Kusugak presented it to him.

“We have one person in town people take to sharpen their skates, but this will be much better as a machine like that should do a better job on the blades and it will housed on-site at the arena,” said Taparti.

“We have a workout room at the arena that nobody really uses, so we’ll move that equipment to the community centre and put the skate-sharpening machine at the arena.

“It will be a lot better having it there, especially when players are in from out of town when we’re hosting the Arctic Circle Cup senior men’s tournament.

“We can’t thank Overland Sports enough for this machine and it will be appreciated in Naujaat for many years ahead, I hope.”

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Darrell Greer

Darrell Greer is Editor of Kivalliq News

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