If you were still wondering, there will be no NWT Track and Field Championships for 2022.

The territory’s single-largest sporting event will now not happen for the third straight year. You may be thinking it’s because of the devastating floods which enveloped the town of Hay River, the home of the championships, but it was Covid-19 which caused the call-off, same as the two years prior.

Kenzie McDonald, Athletics NWT’s acting president, said he had an idea nothing was going to happen as soon as the new year started.

“The organization usually begins in January every year but the restrictions were still in place back then,” he said. “Because of that, there was never going to be an event. It’s frustrating, somewhat, but better safe than sorry and I pretty sure that’s what JJ (Hirst) and Tim (Borchuk) were thinking.”

Hirst and Borchuk have led the steering committee for the championships in Hay River for several years.

When the championships happen, they’re used as a measuring stick for what a future Team NT could look like for major games. Problem is with no championships for a third year running, combined with little to no travel for the territory’s athletes, the job of picking a team for the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara Region, Ontario this August becomes a bit tricky.

There is a solution to that problem, said McDonald, and it comes in the form of regional meets in three communities.

“I’m running one in Inuvik, Yellowknife will have one organized by Rob Hart and there’s one in Fort Smith with Allie McDonald in charge,” he said. “We have kids who are interested in competing and that way, we’ll be able to get some measurements for Canada Summer Games. They have standards they have to achieve in order to go.”

McDonald said he’s looking at early June for his met in Inuvik with three days planned.

“First day will be the sprints and running events, second day jumping events and third day throwing,” he said. “It all depends on the turnout we get but three days is what I’d like to do.”

Hart said he doesn’t have the dates planned for Yellowknife but as of now, it’s an invite-only list based off of those athletes who competed at the 2019 Western Canada Summer Games.

“I’m not sure how many athletes will be keen on this,” he said. “We’ve been a few years away from track (but) I’m hoping to get a few. I’m not really sure.”

There’s yet no word on when Fort Smith’s event will be held.

Even with no championships for a third straight year, McDonald is very optimistic about things coming back for 2023.

“We’re pretty much in the clear and it should get back to close to normal, barring a resurgence and a new variant which locks us all down again,” he said. “I think we’ll be back out there for 2023.”

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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