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Quality time at the Games

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, April 14, 2010

RANKIN INLET - The 2010 Arctic Winter Games will long be remembered by the father-and-son team of Shawn and Jeremy Maley of Rankin Inlet.

NNSL photo/graphic

Shawn Maley of Rankin Inlet, front, helps ready the dogs during the Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alta., this past month. - photo courtesy of John Hickes

Jeremy represented Nunavut in the dog-mushing competition along with Robbie-Jo Tudlik, Tristen Dias and Israel Aliyak, while Shawn helped coach at the event.

Dias won a bronze medal in juvenile, while Aliyak and Tudlik took bronze in the team event and Jeremy was awarded a fair-play pin.

Shawn said this was the first time he was involved in an event of this magnitude with mushing.

He said Nunavut ran into stiff competition at the Games, with most of their competitors being connected to professional kennels.

"They run strictly sprint dogs, so we were in a whole new ball game there," said Maley.

"It was almost like a group of scrubs going up against a semi-pro team.

"We had our eyes opened, but it was good because the mushers there really helped our kids and gave them a lot of pointers.

Shawn said he and Tristen's dad, Tony, got involved with coaching for the Games after both teams he entered in the Nunavut trials qualified for the event.

He said the Nunavut team was quite happy to leave Grande Prairie, Alta, with two bronze medals.

"We're not that far off from competing with them.

"We're within 30 seconds of those racers, which is a lot in dog mushing, but that gap can close quickly with more training. Our dogs were just as good as theirs, but they weren't trained as well for the short sprints.

"Being their with my son is the type of memory that will last me a lifetime."

Jeremy, 13, has been mushing dogs for a number of years and enjoyed his first experience at the Games.

He said he likes being around the dogs and really enjoys the whole mushing experience.

"The course for the Games was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and I was really surprised by how good the other mushers were," said Jeremy.

"They had some really cool dogs.

"I really liked having my dad there, even though we didn't get to do all that much together other than mushing.

"I want to get back to the next Games, and I'm going to practise a lot harder now that I know what's waiting for me there."

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