Last year, it was all about N.J. Macpherson School and its dominance in the Grade 4-5 Yellowknife Soccer Tournament.
This year, they had to make way for some new winners.
Two new champs were crowned on Sunday at the Fieldhouse as St. Joe’s came out on top over Range Lake North in the girls division by a score of 4-2 in the final and, for the first time in tournament history, a team from Nunavut left with the boys banner as Kugluktuk defeated Weledeh in the final, 6-3.
Alexis Young was part of the St. Joe’s squad that won gold and she said she was thrilled to have won.
“It’s my first gold medal in soccer,” she said. “I’m so excited to have had this opportunity.”
St. Joe’s actually had more than one team in the girls division and combined their efforts in the final, something that wasn’t lost on Young post-game.
“Without my teammates, I probably wouldn’t have gotten it,” she said.
On the boys side, not only was Kugluktuk the first Nunavut team to win but they were the first team from the territory to play in the tournament, which was a surprise to Joe Acorn, the tournament’s organizer.
“I don’t know how they found out about the tournament,” he said. “I had been concentrating on getting teams in from Behchoko and Hay River but they called me and asked if they could come so I said sure.”
This was the seventh annual hosting of the tournament at the Fieldhouse with 23 teams in total contesting this year’s championships, he added.
“We had 14 boys teams and nine girls teams, which is down slightly but that’s because we didn’t have teams come from Behchoko or Hay River, as we’ve had in past years,” he said. “To be honest, we could have had more girls teams. N.J. Macpherson had enough to make two girls teams, I think, and J.H. Sissons had two girls teams for the first time.”
This was also the first year the tournament wasn’t held under the banner of J.H. Sissons School.
Acorn said the first years of the tournament had it held under the school’s name to help give it some credibility but it’s established now on the soccer calendar.
“It’s now being run under the Yellowknife Bay Soccer Club banner,” he said. “The only complaint I’ve had is from the kids when they realize they have to go from the Fieldhouse to gym floors for Junior Super Soccer. They play two years on the big floor and then going to gym floors is a bit of a letdown for them.”