AWG volunteer steps up after N.W.T. hockey player's gear gets lost in transit

When N.W.T. right winger Bradley Bartlett arrived in Wood Buffalo for the Arctic Winter Games, he discovered something was missing. 

Terry Connors was able to lend gear from the Fort McMurray Junior team so an N.W.T. winger could play

A teenager stands in full hockey gear holding his hands up.
Bradley Bartlett, a 16-year-old hockey player from the N.W.T., shows off his new gear, borrowed after his own gear was lost on the flight from the N.W.T. (George Maratos/CBC)

When N.W.T. right winger Bradley Bartlett arrived in Wood Buffalo, Alta., for the Arctic Winter Games, he discovered something was missing. 

"I got the call the night we came in that my gear wasn't there and everyone was on the look[out] for it but no luck," said the 16-year-old. 

He held out hope that it would turn up, but as of Monday there was no sign of it. 

A man stands smiling in a hockey arena.
Terry Connors, a volunteer with the games, scrambled to get new hockey gear for Bartlett. (George Maratos/CBC)

Terry Connors, a volunteer at the games, said he felt it was his job to ensure the Bartlett could play. 

"A kid comes from the Northwest Territories and he loses his bag, 16 years old and he can't play hockey because everything's closed, and if we can help, that's what we're here for, to help," he said. 

Connors was able to hook Bartlett up with some gear from the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, a local junior hockey team. 

Drew Coles, the N.W.T.'s coach, said he is very thankful for Connors' generosity. 

"It just shows how much the community cares," he said. 

And it came in handy in their first game of the tournament, as Bartlett assisted on three goals in the N.W.T.'s 5-3 win over Alaska on Monday. 

A man stands smiling in a sports facility.
Drew Coles is the N.W.T. hockey coach. He said he was happy that his player was lent gear and able to play in the game on Monday, where he contributed three assists. (George Maratos/CBC)

Coles said Bartlett's performance is particularly impressive considering he had to adjust to the new gear. 

"There are some guys who wear the same shoulder pads for 15 years," he said. 

"It can be a real big adjustment when you have to put on head-to-toe new gear and it looks like he didn't miss a beat. Three assists, that's real good for him." 

But Bartlett can't expect to continue using the gear for good luck after the games, or if he does Connors says, "it's gonna cost him."

Games roundup

After the first day of the Games Monday, Yukon was leading the ulu count with 18: five gold, nine silver and four bronze.

They were followed by Alberta North with 15: five gold, four silver and six bronze; and the N.W.T. with 13 ulus: seven gold, four silver and two bronze.

Everyone on the Yukon snowshoe team placed, with Avery Kinsella and Taiga Buurman receiving golds, while Johannes Benkert, Jaime Chown Chaikel and Mathias Frostad earned silvers. Dredyn Kassi won a bronze.

Child in red tuque, biting a medal.
Igimaq Williamson Bathory with the bronze medal he won in short track speedskating at the Arctic Winter Games Monday. (Team Nunavut)

Team N.W.T. won all four 1,000m A finals at the first night of short track speed skating. Erika Pollard, Sage Acorn, Brigid Murphy and Seiya McEachern won gold ulus; Lochlan Dunn and Morgan Nelson took silver; and Byran Clinton took bronze.

Team Nunavut won two bronze ulus, both in short track speed skating, won by Meliya Allain and Igimaq Williamson Bathory.

Interviews by George Maratos, written by Luke Carroll