James McCarthy |
June 2, 2014
In 2018 the Arctic Winter Games are coming back to the NWT and two regions have expressed interest in hosting the circumpolar event.
Both the South Slave – Hay River and Fort Smith – and the Beaufort Delta – Inuvik, Fort McPherson, Aklavik and Tuktoyaktuk – have announced intentions to bid for the iconic Northern event and the opportunities the game will bring to either region are immense.
The games were last held in the NWT in 2008 when Yellowknife won its bid after fierce competition with the South Slave. The failure of the Fort Smith/Hay River joint bid to gain support from the international committee and statements from the judges at the time indicating joint bids would no longer be supported, seemed to crush any future hopes of smaller regions hosting the games again.
After the 2002 games hosted by Iqaluit and Nuuk, Greenland, and those in 2006 hosted by four communities in the Kenai Peninsula Region of Alaska, concerns were raised that jointly hosted games detracted from the overall experience of the event.
However, that reasoning no longer holds water with the kerfuffle over the 2016 games scheduled for Nuuk, Greenland. Due to a lack of venues and other logistical issues, a number of sports were cut from the games. Some of the hockey events were also moved to Iqaluit to prevent them from facing the ax. We would argue eliminating events, reducing the number of athletes and isolating one sport from the others detracts from the games’ experience much more than splitting the games between a few communities.
As 2018 draws nearer and the competition for the games heats up, we hope the rivalry between the south and north bids remains good natured and fought with the knowledge that which ever region wins it is a win for the territory. Both regions have much to offer and we look forward to welcoming the circumpolar world to the territory, which ever region prevails. Good luck to both bid committees.