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Let's hand out some hardware, shall we?

So a lot of good things happened to Nunavut at the Canada Winter Games.

Rocco Canil of Iqaluit hangs out Waskasoo, the mascot of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, in Red Deer, Alta., on Feb. 27. Canil seemed just happy to be there and why not? photo courtesy of Sonja Lonsdale
Rocco Canil of Iqaluit hangs out Waskasoo, the mascot of the 2019 Canada Winter Games, in Red Deer, Alta., on Feb. 27. Canil seemed just happy to be there and why not? photo courtesy of Sonja Lonsdale

The boys hockey team announced their arrival by beating Yukon for their first-ever win and that would have been good enough in itself. There were, however, lots of other good things and let's take a look at some of them with my post-Games awards. No animals were harmed in the making of these awards and there's no cash value associated with them. I don't have a CBC-like budget.

Here goes:

Most valuable player

Josie Cote, boys hockey

I joked with boys hockey head coach Martin Joy about Josie either leading the team in scoring or penalty minutes.

Son of a prairie dog if he didn't lead them in both.

In all seriousness, he was the spark that lit the match for the boys hockey team and he was fun to watch. He's not the biggest guy on the ice but he isn't afraid to get dirty when he has to and caused more than one problem for the opposing teams.

The Canada Winter Games is a breeding ground for the future and don't be surprised if Cote gets a look or two from junior teams looking for someone who likes to muck it up.

Honourable mention goes to Max Joy of Iqaluit for not falling during the opening ceremony with the flag.

Happy to be here

Rocco Canil, Iqaluit

Going to the Canada Winter Games is a rush I'm sure. I've never been … maybe one day.

In the meantime, I will live vicariously through the enjoyment of others, like Rocco Canil of Iqaluit. He went as the only judoka from Nunavut and he made the most of it. He lost both of his matches but he didn't seem to care.

He spent his week in Red Deer soaking it up and enjoying every minute of it. You could tell from the sound of his voice he just liked being around everything.

I'm not saying the rest of the team didn't enjoy it, either. Rocco just seemed to be in awe.

Motivation for 2023

Lerena Ashevak, Cape Dorset

Here's another example of someone who got a taste of the Canada Winter Games and wants more.

The badminton team this time around was much younger than the one that went to Prince George, B.C., in 2015 but the enthusiasm was still there. What it's done for Lerena Ashevak is only make her want to play more and get back for the Games in Charlottetown four years from now.

Almost everyone on the badminton team will be eligible for 2023 and don't think she isn't motivated. When I spoke to her, she was excited about the prospects and so was Calvin Holoboff, the team's head coach. Give Ashevak and the others four more years to develop and I predict good things will come.

Helping Hand

Team Nunavut mission staff

You can't do anything without having a good mission staff and Nunavut had an awesome bunch from Mariele Depeuter, the chef de mission, right on down to people such as Mandy Hickey, Lee Hodgers, Sonja Lonsdale and Gary Wong.

Having to my work from home office is tough and I depend on the mission staff to help me get the interviews and results. They did so and in very good order. No having to deal with mission staff telling you to go through other channels, like some other Northern teams did (not naming names … this time) – just asking who I wanted to talk to and when.

It really is that simple, you know. Mission staff are there as support and Nunavut's crew did fantastic. Many thanks, gang.

I sincerely hope you all enjoyed your time in Red Deer. I'll see some of you in Whitehorse for the 2020 Arctic Winter Games and if you know how I operate, you'll know I'm there. The folks in Greenland found out the hard way.

Just ask Kyle Seeley.

About the Author: James McCarthy

I'm the managing editor with NNSL Media and have been so since 2022.
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