Arctic X Games cancellation wont leave NWT athletes high and dry GNWT SPORTS RECREATION WINTER GAMES 20 Tuesday June 30 2015 FEATURING ARTISTS SUCH AS ELDER MARY CARDINAL A TRIBE CALLED RED VERONICA JOHNNY JASON BURNSTICK THE JOHNNYS ART NAPOLEON STATE OF THE ART K.A.S.P. ASICI ELDER WINSTON WUTTUNEE GERALD AND GERRY POITRAS ISKWEW SINGERS DOMINIC ABRAHAM NORTHERN CREE JORDANN POITRAS MINA KELCEY PIERROT The NWT Cree Language Program gratefully acknowledges the financial contribution from the Department of Education Culture and Employment of the Government of the Northwest Territories. NEHIYAW NIKAMONAK OYOYOWAK OHCI NANASKOMOWIN CREE SONGSHOWLS FOR GRATITUDE Education Culture Economic Development AVAILABLE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD AT NEHIYAWEWIN.COM ON JUNE 21ST 2015 NATIONAL ABORIGINAL DAY MEKIWIN NIKAMONAK FREE ALBUM By DALI CARMICHAEL NWT officials are ensuring youth who were set to participate in the 2016 Arctic X Games will still have the opportunity to sharpen their skills one way or another de- spite Yukon pulling the plug on the multi- sport event on June 19. Municipal and Community Affairs MACA Minister Robert C. McLeod announced last October that the GNWT would provide sup- port to the NWTs Sport North Federation and the sporting groups attending the inau- gural games. Now the government is saying it will still offer development opportunities to those athletes though exactly how is still being determined. Were still going to hold up to our com- mitment to provide some alternative events for these athletes that are affected by this decision said MACA deputy minister Tom Williams. To date we have met with Sport North and we also met with the six impacted territorial sporting organizations TSOs and we asked them to come up with some sug- gestions on what would they like to do as an alternative. Discussions have revolved around the pos- sibility of hosting training camps and terri- torial competitions or using funds to send teams to compete in the south. Right now were trying to get the final rec- ommendations from Sport North and the six affected TSOs Williams said. Once we get that we would have to cost it out but certainly we have earmarked funding for these kids to participate. We dont want them to lose out on one years cycle of development so were committed to doing something for them. The Arctic X Games were created as an alternative event to the 2016 Arctic Winter Games AWG being held in Nuuk Greenland next March. The X Games which would have been hosted in Whitehorse were to include hockey gymnastics figure and speed skat- ing dog sled racing and curling - all events that Greenland is unable to host due to lack of facilities. Though the NWT initially expressed in- terest in hosting the alternative it was felt the Yukon would be better suited in light of the 2018 Arctic Winter Games being hosted in the NWTs South Slave region accord- ing to Sport North executive director Doug Rentmeister. Initially we had offered to host but the three contingents felt the Yukon was a better location and felt they were better equipped to handle the games considering that were going to be hosting them in the very near fu- ture he said. Five regions - including Canadas territo- ries Alberta and Alaska - were to send par- ticipants to the Arctic X Games with a total of 421 athletes participating. The Alberta and Alaska contingents pulled out of the games without giving any reason thoughrepresentativesfromSportYukonhave speculated economic shifts resulting from the recent downturn in oil prices might have something to do with the decision. With the pool of competitors down to just 289 Yukon made the call to cancel the event. Includingathletesmissionstaffandcoaches about 80 to 100 people from the NWT would have traveled to the games Rentmeister said. Its obviously sad when there were high expectations in having a contingent go over there and I know that the kids were excited aboutdoingthatespeciallybecauseofthenew category of pee-wee hockey he said. Things being the way they are we have to adapt and lookatbiggerandbetterthings downtheroad. What exactly those things are will be announced within the coming weeks Wil- liams said. PhotocourtesyofTeamNWT GNWT representatives and sports organizations are working together to ensure young athletes affected by the cancellation of the 2015 Arctic X Games will still get opportunities for skill development and competition through a combination of tournaments and training camps.