Marching on to hopeful victory

Team NWT begins quest at 2016 Arctic Winter Games

James McCarthy | Nuuk, Greenland
March 7, 2016
Walter Strong/NNSL photo Nuuk, Greenland - March 6, 2016 - AWG 2016 opening ceremony Jacob Klengenberg of Ulukhaktok carried the flag for Team NWT.

Walter Strong/NNSL photo
Nuuk, Greenland – March 6, 2016 – AWG 2016 opening ceremony
Jacob Klengenberg of Ulukhaktok carried the flag for Team NWT.

After all of the delays and waiting around, Team NWT is finally set to go at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games.

Most of the athletes and coaches managed to get in on time for the start of the opening ceremony on March 6. The start time was pushed back to 8 p.m. local time because nearly everyone was stranded in Kangerlussuaq or still waiting to even get into the country.

All of Team NWT had to take bridge flights from Kangerlussuaq into Nuuk and Air Greenland managed to nearly pull off the miracle of having everyone on the ground in time. Alas, some athletes and coaches didn’t arrive into Nuuk until after the opening ceremony but in time to begin their sports.

One athlete who did get in on time was NWT flagbearer Jacob Klengenberg of Ulukhaktok.

“It was quite the honour to be chosen from among all of the NWT athletes,” he said. “I was quite surprised because I didn’t know.”

He said the big clue came when he was picked to fly ahead of the rest of the biathlon team out of Kangerlussuaq on March 6.

Klengenberg will be competing in the junior boys snowshoe biathlon. He and Lucyann Okheena are the first athletes from Ulukhaktok to make Team NWT’s Arctic Winter Games line-up in 20 years.

“That’s really special,” he said. “The community gave a real nice send-off.”

“The kids are excited and we’re ready to rock.”
– Doug Rentmeister

Doug Rentmeister, Team NWT’s chef de mission, said everyone was in before midnight, which was a miracle in itself as several athletes and coaches weren’t expected to arrive until the wee hours of the morning.

Luckily, a good tailwind coming out of Kangerlussuaq helped push the planes along.

“We were expecting kids coming in as late as 3:25 a.m.,” he said. “We were really surprised that we had such a large team at the opening ceremony. The kids are excited and we’re ready to rock.”

He did admit there was a bit of fear about having a smaller-than-expected contingent to march in but the spirit level would have made up for it.

Team NWT will get going first thing Monday morning with the bantam boys hockey team kicking things off in Iqaluit against Alberta North. Badminton, futsal, volleyball and Dene games will also see action Monday.