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Let the Games begin – finally


As you are reading this, the opening ceremonies will be a mere 48 hours away, which will signify the 25th Arctic Winter Games getting underway in Fort Smith and in Hay River.

Wren Acorn, left, runs to celebrate Molly Girard's (centre) golden goal in extra time with Katie Hart, right, against a contingent of NWT supporters.
The 2018 Games begin in Hay River and Fort Smith on Sunday. NNSL photo

I’d like to extend a warm welcome to our guests from Greenland, Alaska, Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Alberta North, Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Yamal (Russia) and Sapmi (Norway, Sweden, and Finland). We’re sure you’ll enjoy all the South Slave has to offer from our cultural festivals and marketplaces in each community to the 19 different sporting events to the bison strolling down the highway.

I hope throughout the week of the Games, each and every one of you will be able to look deep within yourselves to “Find Your Power.” This is going to be an amazing week, and I can’t wait to see you all do your very best, make some new friends, and have the most amazing time. On behalf of the 2018 Host Society, I want to wish you all the best of luck. I can’t wait to see gold, silver, and bronze ulus hanging around your necks very soon.

On a related note, the Games aren’t just about athletic ability or cultural talent – they are also about fair play and team spirit. At the closing ceremonies, the team that best exemplifies these qualities will be presented with the Hodgson Trophy. The trophy, a beautiful piece of Inuit art, features a narwhal tusk adorned with a soapstone bear meant to symbolize participants “reaching for the top.” A walrus carved in the soapstone base also wraps around the tusk.

While the actual trophy lives in the Sport Yukon Hall of Fame in Whitehorse, the winning team will receive a framed photo of the trophy along with special Hodgson Trophy pins for each team member.

I’m sure you will all be great ambassadors for your contingents, just as our hosts have been working exceptionally hard to be great ambassadors for the South Slave.

Make sure you thank our many volunteers in their blue jackets for the time and talent they are sharing throughout the Games and if you see me around, come over and we’ll get a photo together.