The next major excursion involving Team NT is underway and it’s the biggest sporting event in the country.

The 2023 Canada Winter Games kicked off in Charlottetown on Saturday with the 13 provinces and territories marching in for the opening ceremony. Team NT was led in by squash player Sofia Ardiles, who was announced as the flag-bearer for Team NT on Feb. 17.

She said she was really excited to be selected.

“My goodness, wow! I get to carry the flag for all of Team NT. It’s crazy,” she said.

Sofia Ardiles, right, prepares to hand off the NWT flag to Shane Thompson, minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, during the opening ceremony of the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Charlottetown on Saturday. Matthew Murnaghan/Canada Games photo

Week one for the NWT features boys hockey, speedskating, squash, girls curling, table tennis and karate — the latter being held for the first time as a host’s choice. Matthew Bui and Vincent Lumacad were the two karateka from Yellowknife who made history as the first ever to compete in that Games event from the NWT. Bui ended up finishing ninth overall in the kata (forms) event on Monday, while Lumacad was 11th. Lumacad would go on to compete in kumite (sparring) the following day and wound up ninth.

The boys hockey team began its round-robin quest on Sunday against Prince Edward Island, which ended in an 8-0 loss. They would fall to Newfoundland and Labrador that evening, 9-1, followed by a 9-2 defeat at the hands of Yukon on Monday. They did beat Nunavut, 4-1, on Tuesday to finish the opening round with a record of one win and three losses.

Table tennis saw the girls duo of Gracie Brennan and Sofia Barichello win their playoff match over New Brunswick in five sets to claim ninth place, while Nikhilesh Gohil and David Dragon beat Yukon in boys doubles to finish 11th.

Speedskating began on Tuesday and will continue through the rest of the week, while squash saw Joe Depew and Loic Hipfner miss out on the quarter-finals in the boys division, though Depew did prevail in his first match of the tournament over Charles Gagne of Yukon. On the girls side, Ardiles managed to win her first match in four sets over Alexa Fleming of Newfoundland and Labrador, but lost her next match to Iman Shaheen of Ontario. Mairin Campbell was unsuccessful in her first match against Adele Workman of Newfoundland and Labrador, losing in straight sets.

The girls curling rink out of the Inuvik Curling Centre, skipped by Reese Wainman, has had a strong start to its week. They began by beating Ontario, 7-5, on Sunday, and narrowly lost a 6-5 decision to B.C. on Monday before rebounding on Tuesday to beat Saskatchewan, 4-3. They were set to play Quebec this morning.

See the next edition of Yellowknifer for another update.

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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