NNSL Photo/Graphic

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Sabres win IRC Cup
New team sweeps A Division competition, defeats last year's champion

Sarah Ladik
Northern News Services
Thursday, February 25, 2016

New faces hoisted the coveted IRC Cup last weekend when the LJ's Sabres defeated the K&D Outlaws in an intense final game for the top spot in A Division of the IRC Cup.

NNSL photo/graphic

Darby Blake, left, and Nagidhe Paulette hoist the IRC Cup for the A Division champion Feb. 21 at the Midnight Sun Complex. - Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo

"It's amazing," said Sabres captain Nagidhe Paulette after the game. "We had a short bench, people were dropping off but we pulled together and made it happen."

The Sabres took an early lead and ended up beating the Aklavik team 3-1. Outlaws captain Tim Gordon, who was on the team that won the cup last year, said his team came out a little flat in their third game that day and that the opposition brought a good game themselves. Last year, the Outlaws were the unexpected winners when they beat Inuvik-based Northwind and upset the historic Inuvik-Tuk rivalry.

"It took us a few years, we came in third a few times, but we kept at it," Gordon said. "We kept working together and I'm really happy with our team."

Paulette played for the Outlaws last year but decided to help form a new team out of Fort McPherson for this year's event. That team, however, includes players from Saskatoon, Yellowknife, Lutsel K'e and other places.

"The whole team just put 110 per cent in, it wasn't just one guy," he enthused shortly after the trophy ceremony. "If one of us wouldn't have been here, this wouldn't have happened . It's the first time we've won, I can't describe the feeling."

In the B Division, the Tuk Bulldogs triumphed over the Aklavik Knights 6-3 on Feb. 21. While the Knights put up a good defence, they were ultimately outskated by their opponents. A total of 11 teams participated in the B division, with another five on the A side.

Inuvialuit Regional Corporation chairperson Duane Smith said a few words at the medal ceremony Feb. 21, mainly thanking the teams, the organizers, and the fans for coming out and doing what they do best.

"We've seen some great hockey this weekend," Smith said. "One of the most cleanest tournaments we've had to date, and that just reflects well on yourselves."

He noted that as intense as things can get on the ice, the tension remains there and the tournament brings everyone closer together as a whole. He also recognized the teams and fans who travelled from other communities for the weekend for their effort.

"The IRC is pleased to support healthy recreational activity," Smith said. "We're pleased to keep doing so."

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