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Gettin' Blizzy with it

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 20, 2012

They're known as some of the wackiest and most entertaining characters in pro sports and school athletics.

NNSL photo/graphic

Max Mannik and Erica Inukpuk, from left, are all smiles in the company of Baker Lake mascot, Blizzy. - photo courtesy of Michael Haqpi

From the San Diego Chicken to the tiger at Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ont., mascots entertain millions every year with zany antics.

The Kivalliq has its own star mascot in Baker Lake, which makes its presence known anytime there's something going on with the Baker Lake Youth Athletics Association (BLYAA).

Bill Cooper, who began teaching in Baker in 1997 and moved to Kivalliq School Operations in 2009, said the mascot is a popular figure in the community.

He said Blizzard (Blizzy for short) has been on skates, dribbled a basketball, handled a volleyball, kicked a soccer ball, has done pushups and situps, and often rallied the community and student body.

"He's been worn by students, school staff members and anybody crazy enough to put on the costume," said Cooper.

"I've been in there once or twice and it's hot, so it can be quite demanding.

"I was on skates in it once and that was terrifying."

The mascot appears in logo format everywhere you look in the community.

Cooper said to the best of his recollection, the mascot came along about a year after the BLYAA celebrated its 10th anniversary.

"Blizzy was conceptualized to be the BLYAA mascot for our Blizzard teams, and he pops up in one form or another at most of its events," said Cooper.

"Whenever Blizzy appears, it's led out by handlers, so not many know who's really inside the costume at any given time."

Cooper said it would be fair to refer to the mascot as a local celebrity in Baker.

He said there's always a lot of excitement when Blizzy makes an entrance.

"Blizzy is a mascot in its true form because it does what a mascot is supposed to do and does it well.

"When I had the opportunity to play the part, it was a real hoot.

"It's a fun thing for the crowd at the various events, and it's good for the school, as well, as a partner in it.

"Blizzy has proven to be a valuable team member since first appearing in Baker."

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