The Super Soccer format has been happening since 1993, even though the NWT School Soccer Championships had been happening before its current format.

Mitchell Elliott of Range Lake North cradles the ball after making a stop during the Grade 7 boys final of Diavik Junior Super Soccer at St. Pat’s Gymnasium on Sunday. – James McCarthy/NNSL photo

In all those years, no school had ever swept the board to win every single championship up for grabs.

William McDonald School gave it a go this year and missed out by one banner.

The Wildcats captured five of the six banners up for grabs on Sunday, winning the Grade 6 boys, Grade 6 girls, Grade 7 girls, Grade 8 boys and Grade 8 girls titles in one of the most impressive showings ever seen.

Darren Wicks, the school’s phys-ed teacher, said the mood around the school Monday morning was one of pride but also accomplishment because they had done it without stacking a team.

“It’s easy enough to put all the good kids on one team out there and blow everyone away,” he said. “What we did was pick out the top six to nine players in each grade, spread them around and make sure it’s fair for everyone and we showed that it could be done.”

Both Grade 6 finals were all-Wildcats affairs, guaranteeing two banners for the school. The Grade 7 girls final saw one of the school’s two teams end up in the final against the Kugluktuk Grizzlies, which ended in a 6-2 triumph for the Wildcats.

Both of the school’s teams ended up playing each other in the semifinals and Brianna Brenton was on the wrong end of the decision.

Still, she said seeing the banners up at the school made the feeling a little better.

“I saw them and thought ‘We almost had them all’,” she said.

The Grade 8 girls team took down St. Pat’s to win that banner while the Grade 8 boys defeated Haines Junction, Yukon by a score of 6-2 to cop the championship.

Arjun Budgell was on the winning side and said it didn’t start out well but they changed things up offensively and it seemed to work.

“We got the first two but they tied it up,” he said. “We went with three players up and two back and starting pressuring them and it worked.”
Budgell’s outfit didn’t have a very impressive showing in the round-robin as they went into the playoffs finishing third in their pool but found their groove once elimination soccer came into play.

“Once we started winning, we started playing well as a team,” he said.

So if William McDonald missed out on one banner for the sweep, who got the sixth one?

It was Range Lake North that defeated St. Joe’s by a score of 3-2 in a cracker of a final that featured the Hoyas come from two down at halftime to win it.

Chris Pyke coached the Hoyas to victory and said his key players came through when it mattered.

“Tysen Almond got it going and he was one of our best players on offence,” he said. “He scored at least 20 goals in the tournament and he came up big when we needed it.”
As much as the offence came through at the right time, plenty of credit needs to go to goalkeeper Mitchell Elliott, who stonewalled the St. Joe’s attack in the second half. Elliott stopped a penalty kick and the ensuing rebound point-blank, following that up with no less than four more game-saving stops down the stretch.

“He was the difference for us late in the game,” said Pyke. “He just as good offensively as he is in net but we put him in goal for the final and he was amazing.”

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...