Team NWT is set for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games following the conclusion of trials on Sunday.
While athletes in team sports were selected back in December, competitors in individual sports only found out recently that they’d been selected to represent the territory.
Over the weekend, badminton and wrestling trials wrapped up in Yellowknife while Fort Providence hosted table tennis, Inuvik hosted snowshoeing and arctic sports and Fort Smith hosted Dene Games trials.
Altogether, athletes will compete in 16 different sports when competition gets underway in Nuuk, Greenland on March 6.
Team NWT performed well during the 2014 Arctic Winter Games in Fairbanks, Alaska, earning 86 total medals.
Peter Daniels oversaw final Dene Games trials in Fort Smith on Sunday. He says NWT competitors will look to build off a strong performance from two years ago.
“We’re usually right in the mix,” he said. “Overall, Alaska usually has a pretty strong contingency but the last few times we’ve done pretty well in terms of medaling in the Dene Games.
“Two years ago we had one of our athletes – Ryan Tourangeau – win as the top overall junior male competitor so we’ve had pretty successful representation.”
Team NWT will be sending 16 athletes in four different groups to Nuuk to compete in the Dene Games. The Games will consist of five events: finger pull, snowsnake, stick pull, hand games and pole push.
Competitors heading to Nuuk come from a range of different communities.
“Obviously, some areas have heavier representation than others,” said Daniels.
“But in total there will be six athletes out of Fort Smith, about three or four out of Aklavik, two out of Fort McPherson, two out of Fort Resolution and two out of Lutselk’e.
“So pretty good representation there.”
Regardless of who ends up on the podium, Daniels hopes athletes attending the Games enjoy the experience as much as possible.
“I hope they have an great experience, make some friends and really the medals are a bonus,” he said. “It’s all about the experience and sportsmanship.”
Hay River and Fort Smith will co-host the Arctic Winter Games in 2018.