NWT speed skaters win every event in stunning opening night
Team NT won all four of Monday’s short-track speed skating titles in an impressive start to the 2023 Arctic Winter Games in Wood Buffalo.
The NWT has seven gold ulus after Monday’s events, with Alex Fast winning the snowshoe five-km race, James Williams winning the triple jump and 12-year-old Storm Cabell-White winning snowboard gold.
At the first night of speed skating in Fort McKay, Erika Pollard, Sage Acorn, Brigid Murphy and Seiya McEachern all won gold. Lochlan Dunn and Morgan Nelson took silver, while Byran Clinton’s bronze completed an NWT podium sweep in the junior boys’ event.
“It was such an exciting start. These guys did a really great job of bringing the day home,” said speed skating coaching staff member Madison Pilling. “It really sets everyone off on a good note. Morale is really high and everyone is really positive.”
“It’s an excellent way to start off the week. I was very surprised by how I did today, compared to how I thought I would do,” said Pollard.
“It feels good,” laughed Acorn of the podium sweep in his event. “I was feeling good about the races and I’m pretty sure everyone felt that way.”
Williams added silver in head pull to his Arctic Sports gold, while Fast’s gold ulu came in his first-ever competitive snowshoe race.
“I’m reminded a lot that I have to go fast to live up to my family name,” he said.
In the team events, the NWT’s female curlers are undefeated after three round-robin games, comfortably beating Alaska and Yukon on Monday.
The NWT’s juvenile female futsal team astonishingly beat Alberta North 12-0, while both basketball teams defeated Alaska and all three NWT hockey teams remain unbeaten.
Bus transportation issues continue to plague the games.
Organizers are understood to be trying to bring in extra vehicles from other western Canadian cities. Teams have reported sustained waits of an hour or more to find space on a bus to or from their venue.