Capacity restrictions were still in place at the Agnico Eagle Arena, but the Hometown Hockey tournament to end the season in Rankin Inlet showed a flash of the hockey-crazy culture that the community has been missing through the pandemic.

“It’s nice to see hockey back in Rankin Inlet, because this is a hockey town,” said Sidney Nichol, who played for the A-Division-winning Team Aliyak in the weekend tournament that wrapped up April 3.

“The games were all very close. Teams were all even. That’s what makes it fun.”

Team Aliyak faced off against Team Kusugak in the finals, with the game tied 2-2 heading into the 3rd period.

A clutch hattrick from Tisten Dias helped propel Aliyak to a 5-3 lead late in the game, when Kusugak brought it back within one with a powerplay goal. Despite the final press, Aliyak held on to win 5-4.

“He was our locker room MVP,” said Nichol about Dias, adding that goalie Ethan Makpah shut the door as well.

In the B Division, Team Karetak beat Team Misheralak in the finals.

“The B side had some really close games,” said Nichol. “It’s nice to see a bunch of older guys playing with a bunch of kids.”

One line on the B side had a combined age of 172 years, he added.

Nichol was glad to see the hockey season end with a bang after all the Covid restrictions.

“Rankin’s got a lot of good organizers,” he said, saying the tournament was run well. “It allows us to do these kind of things.”

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