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Tootoo tourney in Rankin Inlet rescheduled to November

The biggest hockey event of the year had to be rescheduled last week in Rankin Inlet due to concern over the coronavirus disease and COVID-19.

The Terence Tootoo Memorial (TTM) senior men’s tournament has been tremendously successful since taking over from its predecessor, the Avataq Cup.

Rose and Barney Tootoo conduct the ceremonial face-off with Jordin Tootoo, left, and Piqut Nukapiak to launch the 2019 Terence Tootoo Memorial senior men’s championship in Rankin Inlet on March 8, 2019. Photo courtesy of Noel Kaludjak

And, this year, excitement was at a fever pitch for the first TTM tourney to be played in Rankin’s brand-new arena, as well as rumours and reports of at least four former NHLers on their way to compete at the 2020 TTM.

But that all came crashing down – at least for the time being – with the fear of COVID-19 across North America.

Troy Aksalnik is a member of the TTM committee that oversees the event, and he said he was, kind of, sad inside to have to cancel the tournament.

He said the TTM is a tournament that everyone wants to play in and it was a tough decision to cancel a tournament that popular across the region.

“I think we made the right decision, especially when you look at all the cancellations going on across the country,” said Aksalnik.

“And, really, we’re not cancelling the TTM as much as we’re re-scheduling it.

“At first, we thought about rescheduling it for the end of April, but this situation is probably only going to get worse before it gets better.

“We thought it would be better to put more space between the TTM and what’s happening now, and it would be a great way to kick-off a new season of hockey in Rankin if we held it in November, so that’s the direction we took.”

Aksalnik said the TTM has a lot of sponsors that donated to the tournament and the committee felt it was only fair that they go ahead and hold it before the end of the year.

He said most rinks in the region are open by the middle of November and that will give most players two weeks to get the rust off and get ready to play in the TTM.

“You might not be at the top of your game, but it’s something to look forward to and a great way to start your season.

“Players in the region will know all summer that the TTM is coming in November, so it’s up to them to try and stay in shape and be ready for the tournament.

“So, we’ll hold the 2020 TTM in November and, just four months later, we’ll hold the 2021 TTM.

“I think it will be a lot of fun for many players to compete in two tournaments like that so close together.”