The announcement of the 2022 Arctic Winter Games being postponed sent a shiver down the spine of everyone in the circumpolar sports world.

Fear that another Games might be lost to Covid-19 as the 2020 edition, which was scheduled for Whitehorse, was.

But there is some movement on the 2022 edition as the AWG International Committee announced Tuesday morning that the Games will now happen from Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023 in Wood Buffalo, Alta. They were originally scheduled to happen in March 2022 but were postponed owing to continued uncertainty surrounding Covid-19.

Sadie Pinksen of Iqaluit delivers a rock during girls curling action at the 2018 Arctic Winter Games in Fort Smith, NWT. The 2022 edition of the AWG was set to happen in Wood Buffalo, Alta., in March 2022 but the dates have been re-scheduled to early 2023. NNSL file photo

“The International Committee engaged in a collaborative process with stakeholders to ensure a rescheduled Games, set against full sport event calendars, active venues and busy teams, was achievable,” stated John Flynn, president of the international committee, in a news release. “We are extremely delighted to have rescheduled the Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games to a date that accommodates both the host community and Host Society as well as our valued Chefs de Mission from participating units.”

Melissa Blake, co-chair of the host society in Wood Buffalo, stated that the society was excited to host the circumpolar North on the newly-scheduled dates.

“We are confident in the planning that has taken place thus far and look forward to providing a safe world class experience here in Wood Buffalo,” she said.

The international committee also announced that coaching positions will be expanded for the next edition of the Games with the committee stating that it will “… help enhance participant experience and protect athletes, coaches and cultural delegates from potentially vulnerable situations.”

The re-scheduled Games will not affect the bid cycle; Alaska is still on course to host in 2024.

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