Ask anyone in Baker Lake about Solomon Tulurialik and you hear some pretty similar responses.

“He was very nice to everyone,” said Carlos Simailak, a close friend with Tulurialik. “He would always help everybody who’s feeling down to get themselves back up.”

Tulurialik drowned in a tragic accident in summer 2019, leaving a hole in the community. This year’s hockey tournament, previously known as the Inlanders Cup, was dedicated to his memory and dubbed the Sala Hockey Memorial.

“When I was just a little kid, I used to watch him play hockey a lot,” said Simailak, who suited up for the Juniors in the tournament. “He was one of my favourites growing up. It’s very nice to have a hockey tournament in memory of him.”

Tulurialik would have been 33 this year.

“He was always happy, he was always friendly,” remembered Florence Nagyougalik, Tulurialik’s sister. “Everyone knew him, from babies to Elders.”

She was glad to see the packed arena for the tournament.

“It’s exciting,” said Nagyougalik. “We’re really happy to see people have fun and the crowds going wild.”

Rena Nagyougalik, younger sister to Tulurialik, called her late brother inspirational.

“He was always there for everyone,” she said. “He was a hockey player, a square dancer. He even played Inuit games.”

After an opening puck drop that saw many family members and friends honour Tulurialik, players settled in for an energetic weekend of matches, with teams from the Kivalliq to Gjoa Haven competing.

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