The Rankin Inlet Co-ed Softball League kicked-off a new season of play in Rankin Inlet this past week.

League executive member Kandace Graham said the league got the green light to proceed with the season from Rankin’s recreation co-ordinator, David Clark, on June 29.

Looking to defend their title are the 2019 Rankin Inlet Co-ed Softball League champion New Era, back from left, Amaujaq Lindell, Darrin Ikakhik, Yvonne Mamgark, Moses Aupilardjuk, Wager Tatty, Craig Beardsall and James Connelly, and, front from left, Gloria Kaludjak, Loren Kaludjak and Amy Kaludjak in Rankin Inlet on Sept. 5, 2019.
Photo courtesy Darren Ikakhik

She said the league must adhere to a strict set of guidelines throughout the season such as no handshakes or high fives, no warmup of any kind before games, the on-deck batters must use the dugout and, during batting, players need to line up along the fence outside the diamond spreading out at least six feet – while any change in the Covid-19 situation could bring play in the league to an abrupt end.

“We announced the league had the green light and opened-up registration immediately the following day, June 30,” said Graham.

“We kept registration open until July 10 and the league began its regular season schedule on Monday, July 13.

“It was a short window for registrations, but we only have a short summer to work with.

“We have four teams registered for this year and we’re only playing two nights a week, on Monday and Thursday.”

Graham said with such a short summer, the league decided to play fewer games so as not to cut into the players’ family time and enjoyment of the outdoors; fishing and camping on the land.

She said the league also didn’t want to cut into any new programming that may be offered at the new arena once its artificial turf is installed.

“We also wanted to have more free time at the field available for youth 18 and under, as well as a 14-and-under youth fastball league.

“We’re not the only ones using the field anymore, so we can’t take up all the days. Youth have to come first when it comes to available time on the field.

“A lot of people had been asking if there was going to be a league this year since about the beginning of May.

“It’s great to get going and see our softball family back on the field. With the majority of universities being operating online this fall, we can roll out a little later. So we’ll probably have our playoffs somewhere between the middle of August to the end of August.”

Graham said the league still hopes to hold at least one tournament this summer.

She said if all works out well, the league would love to host the annual Calm Air Cup tournament towards the end of the summer in Rankin.

“The hamlet has already given us its support to hold a beer tent on behalf of minor hockey if we can go ahead with the tournament, but we’d still need the go-ahead from the liquor commission.

“We would still need, also, to work some things out with Calm Air because they’re our main sponsor. If it’s a go, we’d need an increased inter-regional flight schedule because most of the flights are already full in the region due to medical travel.

“They’re all 10-to-15-seat flights, which is one softball team. So we still have some things to work out, but we’re doing our best to host one if possible.

“If we’re able to, it will be announced at a later date.”

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