We’re still several months out from the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Ontario, but preparations continue for what’s hoped will be the first big multi-sport event since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.

This past weekend saw the boys soccer team take to the indoor pitches at the Fieldhouse for their latest training camp. Head coach Dillon Torindo put close to 20 players through their paces, and they were feeling it once the activity came to an end on Dec. 19.

Luke Kotaska said it was fun but tiring.

“Really busy, four sessions plus I had hockey as well and I was in the Nutcracker — my friend and I were in that — so we’ve been running around a lot,” he said. “We’re definitely coming together as a team and that’s good to see. We’re progressing each and every camp, which is what you want to see.”

Kotaska played on the boys team at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games in Saskatchewan and he said the set-up back then was a good one among the troops.

“I definitely want to get something as good as that going with our group and I think we’re getting there,” he said. “What helps is that the core group of this team has played together for a long time and that’s helpful. We can integrate the other guys into the group so we aren’t all strangers when we get together. The NWT isn’t very big people-wise so coming together isn’t that hard.”

A lot of the work on the final day of camp focused on scrimmage and getting systems down, finishing off with some shooting practice.

The out-of-town contingent consisted of players such as Jed Mitchell, who made the drive from Fort Smith.

He said coming to camp is always something he looks forward to.

“The best part for me is because I live in Fort Smith, I play rec soccer sometimes but there are times I’m the only person there,” he said. “It’s fun to play with people and with a team because I learn more about the team concept rather than just kicking a ball around by myself at a net for an hour a day.”

Like Kotaska, Mitchell said he likes the way the team is shaping up and the cohesion is definitely starting to show.

“When I tried out, I was part of the second group so I didn’t see some of these guys at the start,” he said. “We’ve had two camps since then but I feel like I understand so much more of the team unit. It’s always fun to come up and play with these guys.”

The next camp is scheduled to take place in Yellowknife on the weekend of Jan. 21

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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