So the teams have been picked and Team Nunavut’s boys and girls rinks are all ready to go for the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse this coming March.

What’s not known is who will be playing in what position.

A total of 12 budding curlers tried their luck at making the 2020 Arctic Winter Games boys and girls teams in Iqaluit earlier this month. Taking part were (all from Iqaluit), front row from left, Makayla Kusugak, Hudson Lippert, Chantal Ceza, Zan Tao, Sylvia Ottokie, Lena Chown and Ariana Atenzia; back row from left, boys coach Jeff Chown, girls coach Megan Ingram, guest instructor Donalda Mattie from Nova Scotia, Calvin Robertson, Austin Follet-Barrieau, Robert Vardy and Basil McAtasney.
photo courtesy of Alison Griffin

Nunavut Curling hosted a selection camp at the Iqaluit Curling Club earlier this month to figure out who would make the teams. A total of 12 young curlers – six boys and six girls – and all from Iqaluit hit the ice for the week-long camp designed to help with development. The boys group was reduced by one to five by the final day of the camp.

Jeff Chown is the boys head coach and he said those who were picked for the team were chosen based on a series of criteria.

“We had them do drills, we assessed how much they had improved over the course of the week and how their attendance was,” he said.

Chown and Megan Ingram, the girls head coach, were on the ice and were helped out by Donalda Mattie, who’s a familiar face to curlers in the territory. Mattie, who’s from Nova Scotia, has done plenty of work with Nunavut’s curlers over the years both in development and as a coach for several of the territory’s teams at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Canadian Juniors over the years.

“Donalda spent a week working with Megan and myself as part of a clinic and then worked with the kids for the week after,” said Chown.

With such a small field to choose from, Chown said picking the team was tough. “You have to make a tough decision on who gets to go and who the alternate is,” he said. “Having just five to pick from makes it harder because everyone is so close.”

The positions for each team haven’t been chosen yet, said Chown and those decisions will be made as the Games draw nearer.

“These players haven’t been together for years like some teams have,” he said.

“We’re still trying to find out who plays best where and there’s still plenty of practices to go so we’ll have a better idea in the near future.”

As for those practices, Chown is planning on having the boys on the ice at least twice a week leading up to the Games.

“That’s what we have scheduled but if there’s a chance to get some more time, we’ll take it,” he said.

Any talk of hopes and dreams or expectations are on the back burner for now, he added, as there’s plenty of time to work toward that.

“We haven’t sat down to discuss how we think we’ll do yet,” he said. “That time will come, probably on team selection day and we’re planning on having a dedicated day for that.”

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