Looking good in green and fur

Team NWT gets Aurora-themed uniform for 2016 Arctic Winter Games

James McCarthy | NWT
February 22, 2016
Walter Strong/NNSL photo Yellowknife - Feb. 15, 2015 - NWT Premier Bob McLeod, centre, with Team NWT at the Sport North Federation team uniform reveal event with members and coaches of Arctic Winter Games 2016 team NWT.

Walter Strong/NNSL photo
NWT Premier Bob McLeod, centre, with Team NWT at the Sport North Federation team uniform reveal event with members and coaches of Arctic Winter Games 2016 team NWT.

Marching into the Inussivik Sport Centre in Nuuk, Greenland on March 6 will be a big occasion for the hundreds of Team NWT members. They may as well look good doing it.

Team NWT’s uniform for the Games in Greenland will consist of a grey and green colour scheme, which is meant to pay homage to the aurora borealis, according to Doug Rentmeister, chef de mission for Team NWT.

“We wanted to follow an Aurora theme,” he said. “We wanted to try and get an NWT colour in there, the grey being the rock, and the green representing the Aurora. We thought we would go with a Northern flair and the added fur for trim gave it that NWT flavour.”

The wolf fur is an added piece this time around and that came courtesy of Francois Rossouw from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment and its Genuine Mackenzie Valley Furs Program. According to a news release from the department, the project cost $44,000, funded jointly between the department and Sport North.

The entire team of 325 has been fitted for their uniforms.

When it comes to that team, getting them into Nuuk will be an adventure in itself. First Air will be providing the charter transportation on its Boeing 737’s but the airport in Nuuk can’t handle a 737. Instead, the charter flights will travel to Kangerlussuaq, the only airport in the country with a long enough runway. From there, Air Greenland takes over with Dash 8’s to transport every single athlete into Nuuk in time for the opening ceremony.

“One of our mission staff will meet the three charters we have going over to Kangerlussuaq,” said Rentmeister. “We’ll make sure we get the athletes on to those bridge flights as quickly as possible. They go right through customs in Nuuk and then off to their dorms and acclimatize themselves with the local time in Greenland (four-hour difference).”

Some of the teams have practices booked for when they arrive in order to get themselves familiar with the venues, and then it’s off to the opening ceremony, which will happen at 12 p.m. Nuuk time. Right after the opening ceremony, the hockey players will be whisked away for another flight to Iqaluit, where the hockey games are being played as Nuuk has no hockey arenas.

Rentmeister said he and his crew will do their best to muster all of the kids as quickly and as efficiently as they can once the planes hit the ground in Kangerlussuaq.

“There is a logistics co-ordinator who will be doing the best she can to get names to seats,” he said. “There is a pecking order that we need to put the teams onto planes and that’s because of practice and competition schedules. Certain sports will have to leave on the first charter (from Yellowknife) and so on down the line.”

There is the danger that weather could become a factor, with the possibility of having thousands of people stuck in Kangerlussuaq with nowhere to go.

Rentmeister said you can’t fight Mother Nature, but fingers will be crossed.

“I know every Air Greenland pilot will be flying bridge flights to get those athletes over to Nuuk as soon as possible,” he said.