Kivalliq athletes off and running

Day one sees volleyball and futsal teams kick things off at 2016 Arctic Winter Games

James McCarthy | Nuuk, Greenland
March 7, 2016
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James McCarthy/NNSL photo Shaeylyn Kuksuk of Whale Cove rolls one off the fingertips during warm-up before Nunavut took on the NWT in girls volleyball at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland on March 7.

Just when they thought it would never happen, athletes from the Kivalliq are now doing their thing at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games.

Weather almost kept many of the teams from getting into Nuuk, Greenland for the opening ceremony on March 6 but the sky cleared and the bridge flights made it in.

It was a sigh of relief for Arviat’s Shelby Angalik, who had the honour of carrying Nunavut’s flag into the opening ceremony.
Angalik, who will be competing in wrestling, said it was simply awesome.

“I felt so honoured to carry the flag and represent all of Nunavut,” she said. “It was really exciting to come here.”

She said the nerves were there when she was given the flag but there was one thing she was thinking of when she began the walk-in.

“Don’t fall over,” she said.

The first day of actual action on March 7 saw futsal and volleyball hit its respective courts and both of those sports featured athletes from the region. The girls volleyball team opened its account against the NWT but came out on the wrong end of a 3-1 decision.
Shaeylyn Kuksuk of Whale Cove played in much of that game and said it was a tough way to start.

“Bad to lose but it was fun,” she said.

The girls did show some flashes of life and had several good runs in the game but were unable to string together enough runs to overcome a tough NWT offence.

“We’ll do better in our next game,” said Kuksuk.

Meanwhile, the junior boys futsal team were in tough against the host country and sure enough, it was as tough as it looked as it was an aggressive and hard-driving match but Nunavut was unable to overcome the hosts, losing by a score of 7-0.

Coach Andrew Porteous said it went well but it took a bit of time to get used to the futsal court.

Walter Strong/NNSL photo Shelby Angalik of Arviat walks in with the Nunavut flag during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland on March 6.

Walter Strong/NNSL photo
Shelby Angalik of Arviat walks in with the Nunavut flag during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland on March 6.

“We were adjusting to space and that fast style of play that Greenland has,” he said. “We knew it was going to be tough. We’re used to a basketball court.”

Something else they had to put up with a noisy hometown crowd and Porteous said he did his best to prepare the boys as best as he could.

“I tried to prep the boys by being here for an earlier Greenland game, but this one was quite a bit louder,” he said.

John Voisey of Whale Cove played a bunch of minutes in the game and he said the one thing he wants the team to work on is approaching the game with a better attitude.

“I was swearing and the rest were swearing,” he said. “We were pushing, but they were pushing too.”