Their flight was delayed by three hours, but when the Yellowknife Flyers recreational hockey team arrived in Hay River Friday night for the start of this year’s mini-Northern Hockey Challenge, the game was still on.

“I think the puck dropped at 11:15,” says Hay River mayor, Andrew Cassidy. “It’s just amazing how many fans stuck it out.” 

The first game in the weekend's three-game series came to an end around 1:30 in the morning, with a tie of three goals each.

This year’s Hockey Challenge is a scaled down version of the event that got started last year with seven teams from across N.W.T., Nunavut and Northern Quebec.

A second game in Hay River on Saturday came out 6-0 for Hay River, and the third and final game on Sunday was 5-4 for Yellowknife.

"They’re really, really evenly matched teams,” Cassidy says. “These are the best players that we’ve got playing in the rec leagues… and the fans are treated to some really good hockey.”

The Hockey Challenge resumes on Feb. 7 when the Hay River Huskies come to Yellowknife for the final three-game series.