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All systems go

A lot of smiles were evident after word spread around the community that ice making had begun at the local arena in Rankin Inlet this past week.

There's not much David Clark enjoys more than working with young players such as Denise Martin, left, and Landon Mercer, who he had the chance to instruct during the annual Season's Start hockey camp in Rankin Inlet this past season. NNSL file photo

Rankin's new hockey season gets officially underway with the holding of the Season's Start hockey camp, which combines on-ice and off-ice skill development with literacy skills.

This year's camp runs from Oct. 17-21.

The unique camp is plugged into its environment: it was developed in Rankin Inlet and it is delivered by local hockey instructors and literacy experts.

Rankin recreation co-ordinator and Season's Start program co-developer and instructor David Clark said the Rankin arena will officially open following the camp on Oct. 23.

He said he's still waiting to hear on his funding proposals for the season's upcoming minor hockey tournaments.

“Whether we get funding or not this year, the Powerful Peewees, Arctic Atoms and Polar Bear Plate will still go ahead, but we won't be able to help players from other communities with their travel,” said Clark, adding he usually receives, on average, about $15,000 to $20,000 per tournament – all of which goes toward towards player travel.

“These tournaments are the Stanley Cup to the kids of each age group and, really, it's not that long ago when I was the same way playing in these events,” he said. “I still fondly remember how much fun I had, how many kids I met from different communities, and how many new friends I made.”

“We grow up with these tournaments in the Kivalliq, and the potential lack of funding will, at the end of the day, hurt the kids the most because it will be a lot harder for the smaller communities to bring in their teams.”

Clark said the minor hockey players in the region are focused on the Rankin tournaments as soon as hockey begins in their community.

He said from the Arctic Atoms to the Polar Bear Plate, each tournament in the various age groups is what the players work toward all year.

“People can say or think what they want, but those of us who are really involved with hockey every year know what the tournaments mean to these kids,” he said.

“Just come to our arena during one of them if you want to see for yourself what it means to the kids in that age group.”

Clark said there is going to be a lot of kids involved in Rankin minor hockey again this year, judging by how fast player registrations are coming in.

He also said there was a lot of excitement about the brand new Zamboni arriving on the final barge of the season.