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Floor hockey a big hit at Winterfest
Mining company hosts event

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, February 2, 2012

A mining company dug up some fun in Nahanni Butte last month.

NNSL photo/graphic

Wilbert Antoine, left, Nathan Betsaka, James Junior Konisenta, Sean Ekotla, Stacey Marcellais and Destiny Konisenta play floor hockey during the third annual Winterfest in Nahanni Butte on Jan. 18. - photo courtesy of Chris Reeves

The Canadian Zinc Corporation hosted Winterfest in the community on Jan 18. The event is an opportunity for the company, which owns the Prairie Creek Mine, to be in Nahanni Butte and have some fun with residents, said Chris Reeves, the company's general manager.

Floor hockey was the most popular Winterfest activity. Nahanni Butte residents, mostly youths, were divided into two teams along with six Canadian Zinc staff. Although the game wasn't highly competitive, the excitement displayed by the younger players was contagious, said Reeves, who joined one of the teams.

"It's always fun to play floor hockey," he said.

Stacey Marcellais, a mine administration assistant with Canadian Zinc, said the youths displayed their floor hockey skills during the game.

"The kids are very good at it," she said.

At the community's request, Canadian Zinc purchased two sturdy floor hockey nets, sticks and equipment bags for the community gym. One of the facility's previous nets had broken and youths were making do with a net frame fashioned out of saplings, Reeves said.

In addition to floor hockey, participants tried their hands at badminton. Between eight to 10 mixed double teams competed in a knockout competition.

In the final game, Alan Taylor and his partner Leanna Vital faced off against Joseph Lanzon and his partner Tammy Matou. The competition victory went to Taylor and Vital.

Approximately 45 people participated in Winterfest, including some elders who watched the sports while playing cards.

"Everything turned out really well," said Marcellais, who organized the event.

Marcellais, who's originally from Nahanni Butte, said she thinks the community looks forward to Winterfest. It provides a good excuse in the winter for everyone to get together, she said.

Participants who'd worked up an appetite playing sports enjoyed the KFC meal that was provided. Door prizes for items such as DVD players, MP3 players and jackets were also drawn every 15 minutes during the afternoon.

In addition to the Winterfest events, staff with Canadian Zinc met with band councillors earlier in the day. Wilbert Antoine and Alan Taylor also went into Charles Yohin School and did a presentation on the rocks and minerals at Prairie Creek Mine for the older students.

"The kids had lots of great questions," said Reeves.

Reeves said the students were particularly interested in the rock samples from the mine, including rock cores from diamond drilling.

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