The last time Garren Voisey played at the Arctic Winter Games in 2018, his Team Nunavut hockey squad lost in the semifinals to Alaska.

This time, Voisey will be donning the captain’s C as he tries to lead his teammates to a gold medal.

“This team is pretty determined to win,” said Voisey, 18, from Whale Cove. “We’re working pretty hard preparing for this great opportunity to go out there and be the best we can, and just have fun out there.”

The six-foot, 179-pound defenceman has been playing for the junior A Thunder Bay North Stars in Thunder Bay, Ont., where he’s put up eight points in 26 games this season.

His soft hands and commanding presence were on display at the 2022 Polar Bear Plate tournament in Rankin Inlet this past December, as he helped lead his team to a silver finish, losing to Iqaluit in the finals.

“I’m just thankful to be here in Thunder Bay,” said Voisey. “This team is great. I couldn’t be more excited. It’s been wonderful.”

And it’s a big step from Whale Cove, where there is no organized hockey.

“It’s way different from organized hockey,” said Voisey, remembering his days practising in his home town and reflecting on his development as a player.

Voisey has been playing since age 10 and he says he tries to learn from all the top NHL talents.

“I love every NHL player but I’m always watching Cale Makar, I’m always watching (Connor) McDavid, the big superstars in the game,” he said. “I try to learn from their play and learn from them.”

He’s thankful to be captain of Team Nunavut and is ready and raring for the 2023 games coming up Jan. 29 to Feb. 4 in Fort McMurray, Alta.

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