Citing a lack of facilities, inadequate funding, and a difficult climate, the Government of Nunavut has pulled out of a plan to host the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Iqaluit.
Iqaluit previously co-hosted the Arctic Winter Games in 2002 with Nuuk, Greenland, but the 2020 Games were the first scheduled to be hosted solely within the territory of Nunavut. Nuuk is hosting the 2016 Games, but six sports were removed from the schedule and hockey events will be held in Iqaluit.
"Currently Nunavut does not possess the climate or the geography for some of the outdoor events like alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, the biathlon events or the snowboarding," said Kyle Seeley, Nunavut's director of sport and recreation, about the decision. "The temperatures in March are below the standard temperatures permitted."
Seeley added that it would be too much to ask the people of Nuuk to help Iqaluit co-host in 2020, just four years after they host the Games themselves.
Hosting the 2020 Games in Nunavut would have marked the first time the six permanent members of the Arctic Winter Games — Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Alberta, and Greenland — were able to host in succession.
The 2018 Arctic Winter Games will be hosted in the South Slave region of the Northwest Territories.
Whitehorse considering hosting, says minister
Instead of Iqaluit, the 2020 Arctic Winter Games may be heading back to Whitehorse, according to Currie Dixon, Yukon's community services minister.
At a Sport Yukon Awards event last week, Dixon said the Arctic Winter Games International Committee reached out to the Yukon government about the possibility of taking on hosting duties. Whitehorse last hosted the Arctic Winter Games in 2012.
"The Yukon is very familiar with hosting these types of games. We have the facilities. We have the volunteers," said Dixon. "Quite frankly, we do it better than anyone else, I think.
"But of course you can't just make that decision on our own. We have to talk to our partners, and we'll be doing that in the weeks and months to come."
Dixon said that he's already had an initial talk with the federal minister of sport about potential funding for the 2020 event and has reached out to Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis regarding the possibility.