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Nunavut speedskaters set for Arctic Winter Games

Another team is set to go for the 2020 Arctic Winter Games and it's one which could make a lot of noise like it did in 2018.

Team Nunavut's speedskating team has been confirmed following the Nunavut Speed Skating Championships in Iqaluit on Nov. 16.

Team Nunavut's speedskating squad for the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse next March was finalized at the Nunavut Speed Skating Championships in Iqaluit on Nov. 16. They are, front row from left, Kyle St Laurent, Olivia Ashley, Emma Carpenter, Rosalie DeMaio, Miles Brewster, Kirsten Sessua, Maple Faulks, Martine Dupont. Back row, from the left, Akutaq Williamson Bathory, William Pothier, Victor Pothier, Aura Kwon, Alessia Sessua. Photo courtesy of Helen Roos

Mike DeMaio, vice-president of the Nunavut Speed Skating Association, led the organization of the meet at the Arctic Winter Games Arena and said a total of around 30 skaters, all from the capital, hit the ice for the annual competition but not everyone was trying for the big show in Whitehorse this coming March.

“About half were competing for a spot,” he said.

From that group, 12 in total managed to make it onto the team along with one alternate but there's one group notable by its absence. There are juvenile girls, juvenile boys and junior girls but no junior boys.

DeMaio said that all has to do with the numbers.

“It's just a struggle to try and maintain those boys in the 14-16 age category,” he said. “We're competing with hockey and other sports for that age bracket and there's also the population barrier. We just don't have the numbers like the larger centres do.”

Running the event took plenty of volunteers to pull off, he added, from the timers right on down to the lap counter.

“I don't think there were too many parents who had the chance to be just a spectator,” he said with a giggle. “We rely on volunteers to make sure it's done well and we had a lot of parents who stepped up.”

The head referee for the event was Chris Gauthier, a Level III official from New Brunswick, and his designation means he can referee anywhere in Canada.

It also allows him to run clinics and that's what happened prior to everything getting underway as Gauthier hosted an officials training workshop on Nov. 14 to get everyone ready for the main event.

“It was a good, long seminar,” said DeMaio. “Everything was done in-house and he made sure everyone knew what they were doing.”

With the team now picked, DeMaio said those skaters will continue training but the focus will also turn to the younger skaters for the remainder of the season.

“We're going to make sure they get the proper training because they are the future Nunavut speedskaters,” he said. “They can look at what the Arctic Winter Games skaters are doing and think to themselves 'I can do this'.”

Fact file
AWG speedskating team members (all from Iqaluit)

Juvenile girls
Akutaq Williamson Bathory
Aura Kwon
Alessia Sessua
Kirsten Sessua
Maple Faulks

Juvenile boys
Miles Brewster
Victor Pothier
William Pothier
Jaxon Ellsworth

Junior girls
Rosalie DeMaio
Olivia Ashley
Emma Carpenter
Taryn Lavallee

source: Nunavut Speed Skating Association

About the Author: James McCarthy

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