It was the young players who took the spotlight as local tournament hockey play returned to Rankin Inlet this past Sunday, Feb. 7, in the form of the Fun Cup.
And the young ones provided a great tournament, with the Penguins nipping the Bruins 4-3 to take the A Division title in overtime and earn local bragging rights this time around.
Alfred Voisey had two sons playing in the Fun Cup and they each brought home gold with Draden Voisey, 7, playing on the A Division’s top team and Mikkittuq Voisey, 6, being part of the B Division champs.
Alfred said it was an exciting tournament and all the kids were amazing to watch.
He said they were all talented little hockey players who played hard all weekend.
“This was the second tournament ever for both of my boys and they were really excited about it,” said Alfred.
“They were both pumped up to be playing in this tournament but we went out for awhile after their first game and got home a little late, so we didn’t have any problems with them being too excited to sleep.”
Alfred said the two boys are very big fans of hockey.
He said they’re growing up pretty much eating, drinking and sleeping the game.
“Kids get very excited for hockey each year here because we have a very good hockey program in Rankin that gets them started at a very early age and they get a great deal of support from the program, as well.
“The boys tell me all the things they see me do while watching me play, they’re going to try in their hockey games. It excites me when I hear that kind of talk from the boys. That’s probably the best thing I hear out of them.
“I’m very excited to look forward to watching them go through the Rankin program over the years.
“I’m very happy to be Rankinmiut so my kids get the opportunity to play in these kinds of programs.”
James Merritt has been an all-star calibre goalie in Rankin Inlet for many years and he gets a tremendous kick out of cheering on his nephew, Leo Gee, as he blocks shot after shot in goal, as well.
Leo’s mom, Jocelyn, said her son only choose to play goalie so he could be just like his Uncle (angak) James, and his sister’s statement isn’t lost on Merritt.
“It’s pretty awesome watching him play and I got a lot of comments from people saying that he’s just like a little me, I guess, when I was at that age,” said Merritt.
“He really improved a lot from the last time I watched him.
“The championship was a really good game and he played awesome in the round-robin game against that same team, winning 1-0.”
Merritt said his nephew is fully aware of his uncle’s play in goal over the years and looks up to him big time.
He said it means a lot to him to have his nephew see him the way he does.
“I found the game more exciting watching him play like that, and I was cheering all out for him and his team to win that final game. It was awesome.
“I’m looking forward to watching him go through the Rankin hockey system because you can see the joy in him playing and it brings back memories of myself playing at those levels.”