You could see the emotion on Team Nunavut Captain Garren Voisey’s face when the final buzzer sounded, marking Nunavut as U19 boys hockey champions of the 2023 Arctic Winter Games in Wood Buffalo, Alta.
“I can’t believe this,” said an out-of-breath voisey after many hugs and cheers with his teammates. “I can’t explain. It’s hard to put into words. Amazing, amazing, incredible.”
Nunavut got out to an early lead over second-place Alaska and they never looked back, finishing them off 4-1 on Friday evening.
Kadin Eetuk, Micah Emiktowt Gregory Wiseman and Prime Paniyuk all put up goals in the medal game, with goaltender Tucker St. John shutting the door behind them.
“This is unbelievable,” said Kobe Tanuyak, also at a loss for words.
Coach David Clark said he was feeling a great sense of accomplishment and pride in his players.
“This is the first gold medal ever for Nunavut in hockey,” said Clark about the AWGs. “I told these guys a long time ago that we could do it if we just believed. We stuck to our plan and we came out on top. What else can you say?”
He couldn’t name one player who stepped up in the gold medal game, saying everyone did and they stepped up all week.
“Everybody played hard,” said Clark. “We did it as a team and it was always about a team, and we always stressed it’s team first and we’re going to do it together. They did it, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
He gave a big thank you to the best hockey fans in the world back home in Rankin Inlet and Nunavut.