The 2019 Canada Winter Games are officially underway in Red Deer, Alta., with the opening ceremony having taken place the evening of Feb. 15.
Nunavut joined in with the 12 other provinces and territories in marching on the colours into the Red Deer Centrium. The flag bearer for Nunavut this year was Max Joy of Iqaluit, captain of the inaugural boys hockey entry.
Joy said he couldn’t have been more excited to have been carrying the flag.
“It’s such an incredible honour to get to hold that flag and walk it in,” he said. “I’m so grateful because I never thought I would get the opportunity to do this.”
Joy was notified about being chosen after his parents received an e-mail from Mariele dePeuter, Team Nunavut’s chef de mission, shortly before the Games began.
Nunavut doesn’t get going in boys hockey until Sunday when they take on Yukon at 9 a.m. MST and the feeling still hasn’t really sunk in for Joy and the rest of the team yet, he said.
“It’s so incredible the amount of work that our coaches have done to make this possible,” he said. “There were a few rumours going around that a team was going to be formed but now we’re here and it’s real. It’s incredible.”
The team had a three-day camp in Ottawa, which Joy described as a way for the team to get re-acquainted with each other, before taking off for Red Deer on Feb. 14 and Joy said the energy of the whole experience is in the air.
When the team hits the ice, however, the plan is to take things one shift at a time – literally.
“The goal for us is to win shifts,” he said. “We’re not looking to win a period or a game right off the bat. We want to win 60 shifts in 60 minutes, if we can. If we win enough shifts, then we’ll start looking at winning a period, then winning games. It’s small steps for us.”
This will be the first and only time Joy and his teammates will get the chance to play hockey at the Games and he said it’s all about enjoying the experience.
“It’s the first time for all of us so we’re going to go out and enjoy it and soak it all up,” he said. “If we’re up 10 or down by 10, it’s all about having a good time and being as confident as we can be.”
That confidence extended to walking out with the flag – Joy wasn’t worried about messing up at all.
“I had a good group of people with me and they’d have made sure nothing happened, no trip-ups or anything like that,” he said.
Team Nunavut at the Canada Winter Games
Here is the full roster of athletes, coaches and mission staff that are in Red Deer for the 2019 Canada Winter Games:
Mariele dePeuter, Baker Lake, Mission Staff
Jeff Seeteenak, Baker Lake, Mission Staff
Dave Penney, Baker Lake, Mission Staff
Kyle Mullins, Chesterfield Inlet, Hockey
Malcolm Ranta, Clyde River, Mission Staff
Chase Harron, Coral Harbour, Hockey
Owen Angootealuk, Coral Harbour, Hockey
Kyshton Kalai, Coral Harbour, Table Tennis
Derrick Akeeagok, Grise Fiord, Badminton
David Joy, Iqaluit, Hockey
Keelan Buckler, Iqaluit, Hockey
Felix Choquette, Iqaluit, Hockey
Bradley Nowdlak-Fraser, Iqaluit, Hockey
Tiivi Jr. Ipeelie-Qiatsuik, Iqaluit, Hockey
Nahshon Thomas, Iqaluit, Hockey
Josie Kilabuk-Cote, Iqaluit, Hockey
Ryan Eegeesiak-MacIntosh, Iqaluit, Hockey
Kaj Magnus Sandbakken, Iqaluit, Hockey
Maxwell Joy, Iqaluit, Hockey
Brayden Uluqsi, Iqaluit, Hockey
Inuuki Burke, Iqaluit, Hockey
Deion Ipirq-Pearce, Iqaluit, Hockey
Wanda Joy, Iqaluit, Hockey
Rebecca Biggers, Iqaluit, Hockey
Kyle St. Laurent, Iqaluit, Speedskating
Charlene Lavallee, Iqaluit, Speedskating
Hayden Hickey, Iqaluit, Speedskating
Alex Hejnowicz, Iqaluit, Speedskating
Olivia Ashley, Iqaluit, Speedskating
Emma Carpenter, Iqaluit, Speedskating
Taryn Lavallee, Iqaluit, Speedskating
Akutaq Williamson Bathory, Iqaluit, Speedskating
Marie-Claude Grenier, Iqaluit, Judo
Gianni Rocco Canil, Iqaluit, Judo
Amber Aglukark, Iqaluit, Badminton
Shawna Kyak, Iqaluit, Badminton
Jamie Savikataq, Iqaluit, Mission Staff
Mandy Hickey, Iqaluit, Mission Staff
Lee Hodgers, Iqaluit, Mission Staff
Gary Wong, Iqaluit, Mission Staff
Sonja Lonsdale, Iqaluit, Mission Staff
Saumik Darehshoripour, Iqaluit, Aboriginal Apprentice Coaching Program (badminton)
Attila Csaba, Kugluktuk, Table Tennis
Maria Csaba, Kugluktuk, Table Tennis
Daniel Nipatantiak, Kugluktuk, Table Tennis
Caleb Bolt, Kugluktuk, Table Tennis
Kimberly Hokanak Kugluktuk Table Tennis
Mackenzie Demerah, Kugluktuk, Table Tennis
Layla Demerah, Kugluktuk, Table Tennis
Jane Nakashuk, Pangnirtung, Badminton
Megan Kilabuk, Pangnirtiung, Badminton
Leo Kaludjak, Rankin Inlet, Hockey
Luke Kusugak, Rankin Inlet, Hockey
Xzavior Kubluitok, Rankin Inlet, Hockey
Isreal Maktar, Rankin Inlet, Hockey
Lisa Kresky, Rankin Inlet, Women in Coaching (Gymnastics)
Mina Mannuk, Sanikiluaq, Badminton
Sappa Cookie, Sanikiluaq, Badminton
Davidee Kudluarok, Sanikiluaq, Badminton
Joanasie Daryle Iqaluq, Sanikiluaq, Badminton
Mike Kavik, Sanikiluaq, Badminton
Calvin Holoboff, Vancouver, Badminton
Garren Voisey, Whale Cove, Hockey
Brandon Biggers, Iqaluit, Hockey
Conor Fudge, Nova Scotia, Hockey