Tournament organizers have decided to go ahead with the Terence Tootoo Memorial (TTM) senior men’s hockey championship this coming month rather than missing a year hosting the prestigious event in Rankin Inlet.
The TTM was rescheduled earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
TTM committee member Troy Aksalnik said, as it stands right now, the tournament will be strictly territorial.
He said the decision to move forward with the TTM was made Oct.13.
“If we’d left it wide open I don’t think any player who had to isolate for two weeks would make the trip,” said Aksalnik.
“The TTM will be a good way to kick off the season here in Rankin. We missed out on it earlier this year and I think it’s only fair that we get to host the tournament for 2020.
“None of us wanted to see the TTM miss a year.”
Aksalnik said there’s no doubt that it’s going to feel a little strange with no crowds watching the games this year.
He said if everything stays the same between now and the TTM, there will be a maximum of 100 people allowed in the new arena at any given time.
“What we have planned now is that we’ll have the two teams out on the ice playing and the only ones who’ll be allowed to watch them are the two teams playing next.
“We ran the numbers and they showed about 75 people counting the four teams, as well as tournament staff and arena staff.
“It’s going to feel weird playing without fans, but, hey, if the NHL can do it, we can do it too, right?”
Aksalnik said he expects 10 of the 12 teams that played in the 2019 TTM to be back in Rankin this coming month.
He said the biggest setback will be going back to one division after the two-division format had been so successful this past year.
“Most of the teams are interested, but it is a little risky moving forward.
“We have four teams confirmed for the TTM who still don’t have ice in their home arena yet. So we should have some pretty good pond hockey going on,” he laughed.
Aksalnik said the TTM is going to lose between $5,000 and $10,000 playing without fans, but that’s not the end of the world.
He said the loss will sting a little bit, but it won’t wipe them out.
“I think everyone has been on the same page since Hamish (Tatty) and I made a presentation on the TTM during a hamlet council meeting.
“You know, the TTM also provides a huge economic boost to the community every year, and I don’t see this year being any different with all the various activities they’ll have going on in town.
“It’s good for everybody to have the TTM go ahead as planned.”