The Women’s Nunavut 2023 Hockey team has been eliminated from the Arctic Winter Games after playing their fourth match of the tournament.
The team, composed of players aged 11-19 years old, competed against teams from North Alberta, Northwest Territories, Alaska and Yukon.
“Our first match was on Monday Jan. 30 at 8:30 a.m.,” said Cassiar Cousins, goaltender for the team. “I was not too excited about waking up at 4 a.m. for the match, but it was fun!”
It is the first time the girls were playing together as a team, although some of them had played in the same hockey league in Iqaluit in the past. The team was mentored by coaches Jaime Savikataak, Lauren Perrin and Chloe Norris.
Cousins said the other teams were talented, which had her doubling efforts in the net. “I received 53 shots just on the first game.”
During the first game, the goalkeeper got hit on the head with a hockey stick by a player from the other team. During the rest of the two first games, she was hit on the head twice more by pucks shot at her.
“On Tuesday I was checked by a doctor who confirmed I had a concussion from the hits,” said Cousins.
The goaltender was not surprised, as she had been feeling side effects of the concussion already “The back side of my head hurts and I’m very sensitive to light and sound, which makes it hard to watch the other hockey games,” said Cousins.
The goalkeeper did not let that affect her presence at the following matches. “I got sunglasses and I went to cheer for the team,” said Cousins.
When asked who she thought would win the women’s hockey gold medal, Cousins said “probably Yukon or North Alberta would have the most chances.”
Now that the team was eliminated, they are spending the rest of their time in Alberta enjoying activities organized around the AWG, like cheering for the men’s Nunavut Hockey Team at the Fort McMurray Centerfire Arena.
“There is all sort of activities; we went to a puppy meet-up with dogs from the animal shelter and we also went to a drag bingo,” said Cousins.