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Adult soccer a big hitRankin Inlet, Iqaluit claim banners at 19-and-over championship
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, April 4, 2012
A total of 18 teams from across Nunavut competed at the event, which was aimed at male and female players aged 19 and older.
The female division featured a thrilling allRankin championship, with the S&G KickARS defeating their local rivals 32.
The game ended just a second into overtime when S&G's Amy Kaludjak kicked a screaming shot from midfloor into the goal for the win.
Iqaluit defeated Rankin 7-4 to claim the men's banner.
The tournament was the brainchild of Victoria Kakuktinniq of Rankin.
Kakuktinniq began soccer at the age of 12 and stuck with it throughout high school.
She started to miss the sport after she passed the age limit for competing at the Arctic Winter Games (AWG).
Kakuktinniq said she thought it would be fun to come up with a way to keep playing the sport.
She said there were no opportunities to play soccer after high school, and felt there were others who would like the chance to compete again.
"With no tournaments or anything, there was nothing to look forward to and no motivation for anyone to play soccer," said Kakuktinniq.
"I thought it would be a good idea to start something and see how it went, and it turned out pretty great.
"We had teams from Iqaluit, Cape Dorset, Arviat, Cambridge Bay, Baker Lake - pretty much everywhere."
The event benefitted from Sakku First Aviation becoming its main sponsor and offering a substantial discount to teams travelling to Rankin.
Kakuktinniq said the play was fast and intense, especially with the men.
She said the event attracted large, loud crowds almost all-weekend long.
"I was able to get funding from the Nunavut Soccer Association because it had some money left over from the regional, territorial and AWG tournaments.
"They were able to fund us about $50,000, and that paid for all the other teams to come to the tournament.
"So, we really lucked out there."
Organizing tournaments can be a lot of work, but Kakuktinniq said she enjoyed the experience.
She said if all goes well, she'd like to see it become an annual event.
"It really wasn't too bad because we had a lot of help from volunteers.
"And all the teams were very co-operative and booked their own flights.
"So, it was actually more fun than work."