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School soccer sweep for Ecole Itlo in Grade 4/5 Yellowknife Soccer Tournament

There’s always that feeling of being the first to do something. Of course, it’s the good first something that you want to be remembered for.
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Vaida Marrai, middle, lays off a pass between two St. Joe’s players during the girls final of the Grade 4/5 Yellowknife Soccer Tournament at the Fieldhouse on Sunday. James McCarthy/NNSL photo

There’s always that feeling of being the first to do something. Of course, it’s the good first something that you want to be remembered for.

In the case of Ecole Itlo, it is a good first time for something and it’s something that will live on for as long as the school stands.

The school’s boys and girls soccer teams captured top spot in the Grade 4/5 Yellowknife Soccer Tournament at the Fieldhouse on Sunday. The boys banner was a sure thing as it was Itlo vs. Itlo in the final, while the girls defeated St. Joe’s to take that title.

The victories meant that Yellowknife’s newest school now has its first two banners to hang up on the wall and that’s music to the ears of Heidi Boudreau, the school’s vice-principal.

She said it was a proud bunch that marched into the building on the following Monday.

“They were very excited,” she said. “Being the first students to win those banners was a really proud moment for them.”

Like almost every other school sports tournament, this was the first time the tournament had been held since 2019 and while they knew the tournament was coming up, Boudreau said preparations had to happen quickly.

“There wasn’t a lot of time to practice and the teams had to be put together fast,” she said. “But they progressed well with each game, so kudos to our coaches. All of the kids came together very nicely and everyone was so positive. No blaming each other for mistakes.”

Every school in Yellowknife, except for Weledeh, had at least one team in the tournament. K’alemi Dene School from Ndilo also had teams competing, but no community teams from outside the Yellowknife area were entered this year.

“It was too short a notice for some of them, but they’re hoping to be back next year,” said Joe Acorn, the tournament’s organizer. “I usually advertise for this in January, but we only decided to move ahead with this a few weeks ago.”

The reason? Acorn said he wanted to make sure Super Soccer was a go this year.

A total of 11 boys teams and seven girls teams hit the turf and beginning with the round-robin beginning back on May 3. Once that was completed, the top four teams from each division advanced to the playoffs for the banners, while the other teams competed for the consolation titles.

Acorn said everything went off with no hiccups.

“One of the girls semifinals went into a shootout, so that put us back about a half-hour or so, but that was really it,” he said. “Lots of good competitive games and we had some mascots out from a couple of schools. That got the crowd and the kids excited. For a lot of the kids, this is their first major team sports tournament, so you want to make it exciting.”

Boudreau said getting students back out and active was perhaps the biggest positive of the whole thing.

“After three years of Covid, the kids were all full of energy and the parents were very excited as well,” she said. “Lots of the has signs cheering on the kids and I think the kids really loved seeing that.”