The territory’s best broomball players don’t need to put Yellowknife on the map when they participate in this week’s World Broomball Championships, but they still want to make their city proud.
Teams representing Yellowknife have a solid track record in international play of late, having won at the highest level on two occasions in the last two years.
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Back in 2014, male and female teams representing the city both won gold at the 2014 World Broomball Championships in Japan.
This year, the city will be represented by teams in the women’s division and mixed division when the defending champion NWT Rebels and Yellowknife Coyotes take to the ice in Regina, Sask., between Nov. 1 and Nov. 5.
Both teams will take on opponents from all over the world as part of the international tournament.
Aki Iwase was a member of the women’s team that won it all two years ago. This time around she’ll be competing in the mixed division as a member of the Yellowknife Coyotes.
“Our expectation is to win at least two games,” she told Moose FM ahead of her team’s first game. “Hopefully we’ll do well in the round-robin and then advance to the playoffs.”
The Coyotes are hoping for better luck in Regina after going winless during this year’s national championships.
The NWT Coyotes were outscored five to 19 in that tournament, which ran from Apr. 6 to Apr. 9 in Owen Sound, Ont.
Iwase says many of the same players that suited up for nationals will be in Regina for the worlds this week. She doesn’t expect chemistry to be an issue.
“We’ve been playing together for five, six years now so we know who can do what,” she said. “We should have good chemistry.
“We have a lot of skilled players so I think we need to maximize their potential. We’ll also need to play dirty sometimes and play aggressively.”
Iwase’s team is mostly comprised of players from Coyotes Bar and Grill, a squad that has experienced success in Yellowknife’s broomball league in recent years.
More than anything, Iwase says she’s happy to be representing her city again.
“It’s going to be so exciting,” she said. “I assume a lot of people know where we live but they don’t know what we are or what kind of city we live in.
“It’s going to be exciting to show them that we’re from a small town but we can do well.”
Both the NWT Rebels and Yellowknife Coyotes begin play on Tuesday. You can find a full tournament schedule here.