The Yellowknives Dene First Nation handgames tournament has been postponed until Sept. 3 to 6 due to the current COVID-19 outbreaks, said tournament spokesperson Bobby Drygeese.

The games had been scheduled for Aug. 19 to 22 but the COVID-19 cases, which had spread to six people in Yellowknife by Aug. 17, changed the plans.

RELATED REPORTING: Northwest Territories has 34 active COVID-19 cases, six more probable

“After the announcement on (Aug. 16) by (chief public health officer) Dr. Kami Kandola, we asked some communities in the Dehcho, Sahtu and South Slave if they thought it was safe to go ahead,” Drygeese said. “Many said it would be better for everyone’s safety if they were postponed, so we decided to postpone until everything is settled down.”

The outbreak includes 34 confirmed and six probable cases, with 21 in Fort Good Hope, two in Colville Lake and one each in Inuvik and Délı̨nę. Three non-residents have also been diagnosed.

The infections in Fort Good Hope are connected to a handgames gathering that was held there on Aug. 5 to 9, an event that Kandola called a “super spreader” after a symptomatic individual with COVID-19 attended it.

RELATED REPORTING: Sahtu cluster is fourth wave of COVID-19 in NWT: Health minister

Drygeese said the postponement will allow organizers to secure a larger tent that can hold more people and permit more games to be held.

He expects about 32 people to join the tournament, but it could end up being more or less than that.

Other details of the Sept. 3 to 6 games will remain as planned, such as the location at the Wiliideh site near the Yellowknife River and the $100,000 in total prizes.

“We’ll have lots of food and entertainment at night. Parking will be limited. It’ll be good if people carpool. And there’ll be a shuttle from hotels for people too,” Drygeese said.

Blair McBride

Blair McBride covers the Legislative Assembly, business and education. Before coming to Yellowknife he worked as a journalist in British Columbia, Thailand and Ontario. He studied journalism at Western...

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