Arctic X Games in Yukon cancelled as teams pull out

Speed skating at the Canada Games
Speed skating at the 2015 Canada Games.
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Northwest Territories athletes in six sports will no longer get to compete at the Arctic X Games next year.

The inaugural Arctic X Games would have taken place in Whitehorse, but the Yukon Government has cancelled the event after two teams dropped out.

The Arctic X Games had been designed to run alongside the better-known Arctic Winter Games – being hosted in Greenland – in March 2016, to ensure athletes from six sports dropped by the Arctic Winter Games still had a tournament.

Sports on the X Games list included speed skating, figure skating, dog mushing, gymnastics, curling, and hockey (peewee and midget male).

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However, following the withdrawal of teams from Alaska and Alberta, the event has been scrapped.

“We are disappointed in the cancellation of the Arctic X Games, but we are committed to helping the affected athletes participate in other competitions by providing them with funding support,” said Currie Dixon, Yukon’s minister of community services, in a statement.

The X Games had been announced in October 2014.

At the time, the Northwest Territories minister responsible for youth sports – Robert C McLeod – said: “This is great news for athletes affected by the exclusion of some sports from the 2016 Arctic Winter Games. They now have an event to train for and compete in, which will ultimately contribute to further development within their sport.

“Can you imagine Michael Gilday and Brendan Green not having participated in the Arctic Winter Games and how that may have affected their development as the athletes and people they have become?”

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Following Friday’s announcement that the X Games would be scrapped, Sport Yukon suggested financial concerns on the back of low oil prices had led to the withdrawal of Alaska and Alberta from the event.

Almost 500 athletes would have taken part under the original plans, though that number would drop substantially without the involvement of Alaska and Alberta.

The Arctic Winter Games in Greenland are not affected by the X Games’ cancellation and will go ahead as planned.

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