Nunavut holds court in Greenland

2016 Arctic Winter Games gets underway for hockey, volleyball, futsal and badminton

James McCarthy | Nuuk, Greenland
March 7, 2016

That loud sigh you may have heard across the water?

Probably Team Nunavut breathing a huge sigh of relief.

The first official day of competition for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games kicked off on March 7 and Nunavut was busy on the court and on the ice. The volleyball, badminton, basketball and futsal teams were in action in Greenland while the hockey teams were doing their thing in Iqaluit.

James McCarthy/NNSL photo Alayna Ningeongan of Rankin Inlet leaps for a kill as teammate Jillian Kaviok watches on during girls volleyball action at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland on March 7.

James McCarthy/NNSL photo
Alayna Ningeongan of Rankin Inlet leaps for a kill as teammate Jillian Kaviok watches on during girls volleyball action at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland on March 7.

The girls volleyball team faced the NWT in its opening game but fell by a score of 3-1.

Head coach Romeyn Stevenson said it wasn’t the start he was looking for.

“We were definitely looking to win that one,” he said.

The girls showed flashes of brilliance and went on several good runs throughout the game but weren’t able to capitalize on those runs as the NWT were just too strong offensively.

Stevenson said the two teams were evenly-matched but his team simply gave too many points away.

“That’s something I told the girls after this game and it’s something I’ll tell them whenever I can – you can’t make unforced errors because you’ll pay for it,” he said.

The boys, meanwhile, opened up their account against Alberta North and that also ended in defeat, 3-0.

Futsal opened up on Monday with both of Nunavut’s teams in action.

The junior girls team kicked things off against Greenland and was on the wrong end of a 3-1 decision. The junior boys also took on Greenland and that didn’t go well, either, as they were shut out, 7-0.

On the basketball court, the girls squad got off on the wrong foot, losing 46-36 to the NWT, while the boys didn’t fare any better, dropping a rough 81-41 decision to the NWT.

The puck dropped in hockey over in Iqaluit with the bantam boys and junior girls teams in action. The bantam boys were 10-3 losers to Alberta North while the junior girls suffered a 13-3 defeat at the hands of Yukon.

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James McCarthy/NNSL photo Keane Sudlovenick of Iqaluit lunges to reach a drop shot during junior boys badminton action at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Nuuk, Greenland on March 7.

But badminton is where Nunavut saw some success.

“I got eight points off him.”
-Keane Sudlovenick

Myca Nakashuk of Pangnirtung and Mina Mannuk of Sanikiluaq made it to the quarter-finals in the junior girls division. Nakashuk finished second in her pool while Mannuk was tops in hers. Sappa Johnny Cookie of Sanikiluaq topped his pool in the junior boys category to move into the quarter-final but Keane Sulovenick of Iqaluit wasn’t as lucky. He was drawn in a tough pool and failed to advance any further than the round-robin stage.

His match against Greenland’s Toke Ketwa-Driefer was expected to be a difficult one and it was as Ketwa-Driefer was by far the better player.

But Sudlovenick looked at things a different way.

“I got eight points off him,” he said with a laugh. “I think once I saw how good he was, it just became a fun match for me.”

Anna Lambe of Iqaluit moved on to the quarter-final in the juvenile girls division after finishing second in her pool while Jamie Audla of Sanikiluaq did the same in the juvenile boys.