Eskimo Point downs Rankin Inlet to claim JLM hockey title

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Eskimo Point Lumber Supply defeated Rankin Inlet 6-4 in the championship game to successfully defend their A Division title at the Calm Air Cup Jon Lindell Memorial (JLM) senior men’s hockey tournament in Arviat last month.

Rankin got past Naujaat 5-1 in one semifinal, while Eskimo Point defeated Whale Cove 8-5 in the other to set-up the A Division championship tilt.

Jon Lindell’s grandson Nipi Hreuger-Lindell drops the puck for the ceremonial faceoff between Panniua Karetak, left, and Rodney Taparti as, from left, Jon Gibbons, Addy Belle Lindell and Tina Lindell look on to open the 2020 Calm Air Cup Jon Lindell Memorial senior men’s hockey tournament in Arviat on Jan. 24. Photo courtesy of Gleason Uppahuak

Chesterfield Inlet defeated Baker Lake 8-6 to claim the B Division crown.

The JLM tournament ran from Jan. 23 to 26.

Organizer Gleason Uppahuak said overall this year’s tourney went very well.

He said he was disappointed the teams from Northern Quebec and Iqaluit he promoted for this year’s event didn’t make to the tournament after all.

“I can’t take my words back regarding the special teams that were supposed to come this year,” said Uppahuak.

“In the end, the logistics of the trip – the various connections they had to make to get here weren’t working out at the last minute – were just too much and they had to back out.

“Even the two teams that had paid for their flights couldn’t make it and had to be refunded.

“Although we still had a great tournament, I feel bad because I promised our fans those teams would be here and I know many of them were very excited about it only to be disappointed when they didn’t make it in.”

Uppahuak, who is currently working in Whale Cove, suited-up with Whale for the first time at the JLM.

He said he may have been too focused on who he was playing against when Whale played Arviat, but he had a great time suiting-up with a strong team from Whale who have a lot of fun playing together.

“There was one very special game for our team when we defeated Naujaat 4-3 during the round-robin part of the tournament,” said Uppahuak.

“That marked the first time Whale Cove had defeated Naujaat, so that really meant something to our team.

“It was also nice to have Agnico Eagle Mines as a new partner this year, joining Calm Air and the hamlet of Arviat in a three-way partnership to sponsor the 2020 Calm Air Cup JLM tournament.”

Uppahuak said the JLM was very competitive this year, with only three games the entire tournament ending due to the mercy rule (one team leading by seven or more goals any time after two periods of play).

He said either team could have won the championship game in both the A Division and the B Division.

“Overall everyone seemed happy with how the tournament went this year, with the exception of those other teams not making it to Arviat,” said Uppahuak.

“There was no alcohol seen at all during the tournament and the hockey was fast and clean all weekend.

“Every game meant something from the start of the tournament and most of the games were close and exciting for the fans to watch, so you can’t ask for much more than that.

“I’m not sure what direction the Calm Air Cup JLM is going from here, so we’ll have to wait and see what the year brings.”