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Iqaluit, Iglulik, Puvirnituq and Inukjuaq headed to 2020 JLM Calm Air Cup

Hockey fans in Arviat are in for a good show when the next Jon Lindell Memorial (JLM) Calm Air Cup senior men’s tournament rolls around following news out of Whale Cove last week.

Tourney organizer Gleason Uppahuak, who is currently working in Whale Cove, informed Kivalliq News both Iqaluit and Iglulik are confirmed to make their first appearance at the JLM next month.

The 2019 JLM Calm Air Cup senior men’s A Division champion Arviat, back row from left, Alex Ishalook (coach), Gleason Uppahuak, Nap Karetak, Jimmy Ishalook, Gary Jr. Kuksuk, Tyler Tattuinee, Billy Ollie, Joe Angutimarik Curley, Annie Ollie (team assistant) and William Ollie (coach) and, middle from left, Frances Uppahuak (team assistant), Doug Ollie, Cody Waterman, Robert Karetak, Andrew Kuksuk, J.C. Ollie, Mitchell Tilley and Aklukaq Tartak and, goalies Noah Innikalik Kinak, front left, and Scott Forcand will have no room for error when they try to defend their title in a powerful A Division this coming month in Arviat. Photo courtesy of Brian Tattuinee

He said there is also about a 75 per cent chance that two teams from Northern Quebec – Puvirnituq and Inukjuaq – will also be suiting-up for this year’s JLM Calm Air Cup.

“We owe a big debt of gratitude to our main sponsor, Calm Air, for making all this possible,” said Uppahuak.

“Calm Air are going to put on a special flight to pick the Iglulik team up in Naujaat and transport them to Arviat for the tournament.

“The two teams from Northern Quebec will be dropped-off in Sanikiluaq, and Calm Air deserves another huge thank you for agreeing to pick the two teams up in Sanikiluaq and take them to Winnipeg and then onto Rankin and Arviat.

“The only thing we’re waiting on right now is for Puvirnituq and Inukjuaq to make their deposits on the special flights – so I can only say 75 per cent chance of them being here until that deposit is made – which we’re all hoping will be any day now.”

Uppahuak has been working toward growing the JLM Calm Air Cup for the past 12 years, and the 2020 JLM now promises to be the most electrifying tourney of them all.

He said Inukjuaq were competing at an aboriginal tourney this past weekend in Val-d’Or, Quebec, and a number of players on the team were said to be excited about attending the Arviat tourney in January.

“There’s going to be plenty of good teams in our A Division this year, and more good teams than ever before in the B Division,” said Uppahuak.

“I can pretty much guarantee the JLM is going to be a 12-team tournament next month.

“Right now, it looks like our A Division will feature defending champion Arviat, Rankin Inlet, Puvirnituq, Inukjuaq, Iqaluit and Naujaat.

“I think Kivalliq hockey fans will agree that is one awesome A Division for any tournament in our region.”

Uppahuak said it’s been a lot of work over the years to get to the verge of hosting a JLM Calm Air Cup this exciting.

He said he gets butterflies when he thinks about the promise the 2020 JLM holds in store for Arviat hockey fans.

“This tourney will also be a little different for me because I’ll be playing with Whale Cove this time out,” he said.

“The community has been very, very welcoming to me ever since I started work here, and I want to play with their team this year just to show them that I have nothing but the highest respect for their team and community.

“I have absolutely no worries about Arviat being able to handle the number of players coming in for the tournament next month.

“Our community is very welcoming and very friendly, and we’ll accommodate every need the players have next month, I’m sure.”