Team Nunavut putting finishing touches on 2019 Canada Winter Games preparations

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The 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., are now little more than a month away and with that comes the job of making sure everything is in good order for Team Nunavut.

That job falls to Mariele DePeuter, the team’s chef de mission, and she said the planning stages are going about as well as could be expected.

Leo Kaludjak, left, seen during the Arctic Showcase tournament in Yellowknife in December, will be part of the first Nunavut boys hockey team to play at the Canada Winter Games.
NNSL file photo

“We have our uniforms and our pins ready,” she said. “Our people are ready and everything is good right now.”
What the uniforms and pins look like are still a closely-guarded state secret but DePeuter said the uniform will be unveiled at the legislature on Jan. 31.

The flag bearer is also a mystery but that’s only because one has yet to be chosen, she added.

“We’re going to be opening up nominations shortly,” she said.

The deadline to get choices in is Jan. 23.

This year’s team will consist of around 60 athletes, coaches and mission staff, said DePeuter, with 10 members of the Youth Ambassadors Program also making the trip to serve as volunteers on the ground.

Because the Games are a two-week affair, the sports are being divided up with week one for Nunavut featuring boys hockey, speed skating and table tennis and week two seeing badminton and judo.

Getting to the Games will also be a new feature this time as there are no charter flights for the team. The Canada Games Council decided to have the athletes all arrive on scheduled flights, all paid for by the council.

DePeuter said most of the teams will be at camps in advance of the Games and will take off from wherever they are.

“The boys hockey team will be at camp in Ottawa, the table tennis team is gathering in Kugluktuk and will be leaving from Yellowknife, the badminton team will be in Vancouver and the speed skaters are gathering in Iqaluit,” she said.

No matter where they come from, DePeuter said everyone will be arriving in Red Deer on Feb. 14, the day before the Games begin.

“It’s basically steady as she goes right now for us,” she said. “I’m excited to see Nunavut in hockey for the first time and hope they’ll come out the way they did at the Arctic Winter Games.”

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