Less than a week to go to the games

by James McCarthy- March 12, 2018

So what’s a chef de mission to do when you’re six days out from the start of the 2018 Arctic Winter Games?

You simply tie up the loose ends.

Jacob Klengenberg of Ulukhaktok was the flag bearer for Team NT at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games in Greenland. NNSL file photo

That’s what Doug Rentmeister, Team NT’s man in charge, is doing as the start of the biggest show in the Arctic gets set to go with the opening ceremonies in Hay River on March 18.

“We’re just moving along,” said Rentmeister.

Team NT’s contingent will consist of 350 athletes, coaches, mission staff and cultural performers. The cultural delegation this time around will be the Tuktoyaktuk Siglit Drummers and Dancers and their big show will be on March 23 at the cultural gala in Fort Smith.

Many of the athletes are spending time in Yellowknife this week before heading down to Hay River to work on whatever needs to be worked on, said Rentmeister.

“Everyone arrived early to get ready and you can sense the excitement,” he said.

Something else which should be noted is the number of officials from the NWT that will be part of the action.

“We’ll have the largest amount of officials from any delegation and that just makes sense seeing as it’s being held here in the NWT,” said Rentmeister. “Some of the seats on our charter flights will be held for them so they can get down.”
Speaking of the charters, one will leave from Inuvik on March 17 with a stop in Norman Wells to pick up athletes from the Sahtu who made their way there. After that, they will pick up the athletes in Yellowknife and fly directly to Fort Smith to pick up those athletes before heading to the final destination of Hay River in time for the opening ceremonies.

As for the hopes and dreams part of the proceedings, Rentmeister didn’t want to put any sort of pressure on the athletes.

“I always hesitate to put any sort of expectations on our team,” he said. “That just puts pressure on the athletes and coaches and they don’t need that. All we’re hoping is that they put their best foot forward and do the territory proud.”

One important piece of the puzzle is who the flag bearer will be. That still isn’t know but there are a couple of possibilities.

NWT News/North was sworn to secrecy about the two finalists but Rentmeister said there were plenty of people to choose from.

“We had a lot of submissions from coaches and that shows just how much that means,” he said.

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