You had to know that on home soil, Team NT would come ready to be at the top as many times as possible.
The team was just that as the 2018 Arctic Winter Games came to an end on Saturday with the closing ceremonies at the Hay River Rec Centre.
As of March 23 press time, the team had scored itself 86 ulus – 19 gold, 35 silver and 32 bronze.
Veronica McDonald of Fort Smith was the star of the show in Arctic sports as she won herself three gold ulus in the open women’s division, winning the kneel jump, arm pull and triple jump, where she set a new record of 8.61 metres.
Agnes Krengnektak of Tuktoyaktuk was also a gold uluit in Arctic sport as she won the junior girls Alaskan high kick while speedskating was good to the Inuvik duo of Dalton McLeod and Braeden Picek. McLeod won gold in the junior boys 777-metre race while Picek was golden in the junior boys 1,000-metre.
The juvenile girls hand games team took gold as did Hay River’s Trey Beck as he won the junior co-ed seven-dog 13-kilometre dog mushing event.
The Games started up with the opening ceremonies on March 18 with TJ Kaskamin getting the honour of carrying the territory’s flag into the arena.
Impressed with host towns
Doug Rentmeister, Team NT’s chef de mission, said he was impressed with what he saw right from the get-go.
“Hay River and Fort Smith have certainly shown their best,” he said. “I love it when it comes back to the community roots and that’s where you get the small-town enthusiasm. It’s genuine when you go down the streets and people are waving at you.”
The best thing that could have happened to Team NT getting to the Games was that everyone got in on time, he added.
“All of our charters were on schedule,” he said. “It makes my job as chef de mission that much easier.”
The bantam boys hockey team got to christen the new arena in Hay River and did so by beating Nunavut, 6-1, on March 19.
The day was a special one but even more so for the Hay River duo of Declan Munro and Kaden Beck, both of whom have been without a hometown arena for two years.
Munro said it was a mixture of excitement and relief to finally get to play.
“We were happy it got finished in time for the Games but seeing what they’ve made here is really nice,” he said.
For Beck, he was just relieved.
“The old arena was way different,” he said. “This one is much nicer.”
In a nice touch, their coach, Shawn Talbot, let Munro and Beck lead the team out for the warm-ups and they both started the game with Munro on defence and Beck at forward.
“I just thought it would be nice for them especially,” said Talbot. “They’ve been waiting a long time for this and letting them go out first seemed like the right thing to do.”
See the next edition of News/North for the full recap of Team NT’s performance.