Well! What a game! Just as I showed up at the Mattamy Homes arena, with 4 minutes left in the first period, the Nunavik Nordiks scored their first goal. By the time I walked to the other end of the arena, they had scored their second goal. By the time I took my camera gear out of the bag and ensured my settings were appropriate, they had scored their third goal and… only two minutes had gone by!! The decision was easy to make: I was to spend the whole game focusing on trying to photograph the activity around the Clarence Rockland Lightning’s goalie! It was a very good decision. The Nordiks scored one more goal but the girls sure kept her on her toes for the whole game!!
One thing I had not realized when I attended the friendship game on Wednesday was that, prior to their arrival in Ottawa, the Nordiks had never played as a team nor against another team. The way they have have been playing so far and with a total of 12 goals in only 3 games, who would have ever guessed it?
What one one their coaches, Louis explained to me is that except for 5 girls who reside in Kuujjuaq, all girls come from different Nunavik communities. Since September they have been practicing on their own with a coach. To get ready for the Kanata tournament, they were reunited for a one-week camp with their head coach, Joé Juneau. The Kanata tournament is the only opportunity they will have to play against other teams. As Louis explained, their whole hockey season is being played here in Ottawa.
The tournament is not over yet but what these girls have accomplished so far is nothing less than extraordinary! The smiles on their faces when they got off the ice said it all! They have all the reasons to be very proud.
I was happily surprised today to recognize some of the flash fans who were present on Wednesday night. This time, they had made a sign with the Nordiks’ logo and the word Nunavik written in the Inuktitut syllabics. After the game, Paola, one of the organizers of Wednesday’s friendship game, presented the Nordik’s coaching team with a brand new pair of skates (purchased with the money collected from the raffle) as well as with a bag full of gloves, shin pads and elbow pads donated by the Ottawa 67′s and going to the Nunavik Youth Hockey Development Program.
There are no reasons to believe the Nunavik Nordiks can’t win tomorrow’s (Saturday March 24) two games and make it to the semi-finals. If you’re in the Ottawa area and you’ve got time, why not come show your support to this team of young Inuit girls? The Nordiks are playing at 12:30PM (Kanata Recreation Complex – arena B) and at 5PM (Bell’s Sensplex – Palladium Insurance arena).
With no further delays, here are some of the photos I took of the Nordiks’ very first “official” game.
Game over! Final score : Nordiks 4 Lightning 0
Handing in the donations for the NYHDP