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An effort is being made to launch a new sport in Rankin Inlet that is a first cousin to the game of hockey, and it all gets underway with a three-day clinic this coming weekend.

Minor hockey players, from left, Ricky Putumiraqtuq, Bryan Kingunkotok, Daniel Kingunkotok and Amos Nakoolak are having a blast hanging-out with head instructor David Clark of Rankin Inlet during the first Rankin Rock Season Opener hockey camp to be held in Baker Lake from Nov. 21 to 24 in 2018. Clark is now trying to get the sport of lacrosse up and running in his hometown.
Photo courtesy of David Clark

Recreation co-ordinator David Clark is behind the push to see if lacrosse will catch-on in Rankin, and he’s hosting the clinic this coming weekend that will cater to kids in the initiation to midget age groups.

Clark said there appeared to be at least cursory interest in the sport, so he applied to the Sport and Recreation Division of Community and Government Services for a grant to purchase some sticks and balls to launch the sport.

He said lacrosse is very similar to hockey in a number of ways, so players can use much the same gear for lacrosse as they do for hockey.

“We want any kid with an interest to come out to the clinic this weekend, Sept. 25 to 27, but, I think, it’s a big help having so many kids in the community who don’t have to worry about gear at all,” said Clark.

“So, with gear not being a big concern at this point, and with us getting turf for the new arena, it just kind of made sense for us to try out the sport right now.

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“We had plans for doing the clinic earlier in the year, and, at that time, we had a guy committed to coming up and help run the camp, but Covid-19 and the travel restrictions in place because of it ruined that plan.

“So, I took it upon myself to learn about lacrosse on the internet and I spent a lot of time researching drills, practices and techniques while I was in quarantine in Winnipeg.”

Clark is going to run the camp using local youth leaders to assist him in much the same way as he does with the annual Rankin Rock hockey clinic that kicks-off every new hockey season.

He said the based-in-Nunavut movie, The Grizzlies, has made lacrosse quite popular among youth right now and he hopes that popularity will lead to lots of kids signing up for the sport.

“We have a new rink, new turf and a sport that youth see as being pretty cool right now because of that movie, so the timing couldn’t be better to give it a try.

“If we have a good turnout at the camp and there’s enough interest in the sport, hopefully, we’ll be able to offer some type of lacrosse program the following season. We’re all going to be learning.

“My vision for this would be for it to evolve into something similar to the Rankin Inlet Minor Hockey Association or the Rankin Inlet Soccer Association – maybe not as big but something along those lines.”

Clark said lacrosse will take root in Rankin as long as its made fun to play.

He said kids having fun and word of mouth are two great allies to have when launching something new.

“If the sport is fun and accessible, and it’s being held at a fun, safe place to come, then the kids will get excited and the program will succeed.

“That being said, I will be giving everyone lots of notice that this sport is not for everyone. It’s a real physical and mental grind to play lacrosse.

“You’ve got to be tough.”

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