Skip to content

Calm Air extends hockey tournament sponsorship until 2030

Terence Tootoo Memorial has had airline's support for past decade
Calm Air representative Tammi Olson, from left, Terence Tootoo Memorial committee member Troy Aksalnik and Calm Air president and chief executive officer Gary Bell are all smiles after extending Calm Air's sponsorship of the Terence Tootoo Memorial senior men's hockey tournament in Rankin Inlet until the year 2030.

Calm Air and the Terence Tootoo Memorial (TTM) committee have had a strong relationship for about a decade now, and it was recently announced that Calm Air's sponsorship of the TTM hockey tournament has been extended until 2030.

The TTM is one of the most revered senior men's hockey tournaments across Nunavut and beyond.

TTM committee member Troy Aksalnik said Calm Air's sponsorship of the tourney had expired this past March. After that, he put in a request to meet with Calm Air in-person, because he believes the talks are more fair face-to-face.

“We were able to set up a meeting and they gave us their thoughts and I gave them mine,” said Aksalnik. “They offered this and I countered with something else and that, pretty much, was it.

“It was just typical negotiations between us.

“The back-and-forth stuff only took about five minutes, really. And, at the end, we were both happy.”

Aksalnik laughed as he said the negotiations went petty well, considering he's no longer a union man, having moved into a management position in his career.

He said the airline's sponsorship is a big deal for both the TTM and the airline.

“With the sponsorship, Calm Air gives discounts to players and fans. They also give us $500 in free freight for any merchandise we may want to bring in for the tournament.

“They also give us gift cards to do fundraising with, they fly in two referees for us every year, and they give us nice discounts on flying Jordin (Tootoo) and his family in for the tournament.”

Aksalnik said Calm Air has been involved with the TTM all the way back to when it was still known as the Avataq tournament.

He said if his memory serves, it was around 2014 or 2015 when Calm Air first got involved.

“It happened around the time Calm Air and First Air began to share the flights that come from Winnipeg to Rankin. If you throw Covid into the mix, we missed three years of TTM, and Calm Air was there for the tournaments that we did have. And, I'm pretty sure they were the sponsor for the final two Avataqs. So we go back a long way together.

“When things don't go the tournament's way due to bad weather, Calm Air does as much as it can to throw on extra flights and find seats on what were supposedly full flights. For example, they found three seats for players having a tough time to get here to play with a Baffin team, after driving from Iglulik to Naujaat.

”It's just stuff like that. Tammi Olson of Calm Air is just one call away for us and she'll do whatever she can to help make it work.

“This is a sponsorship I hope lasts forever. Without a sponsorship like this, I don't think teams and fans would be able to afford to come. Six years is a nice long sponsorship and it's great that we don't have to worry about anything for the next six years. Expanding Calm Air's sponsorship of the TTM to 2030 is good for both sides.”

Calm Air did not respond to a Kivalliq News request for an interview prior to deadline.

About the Author: Darrell Greer, Local Journalism Initiative

Read more