North

Dog sledding Stanley: Cup's Nunavut tour sparks excitement across territory

With no Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs, the Stanley Cup will soon be heading south for the summer, but hockey's holy grail got its share of Canadiana this spring as it delighted crowds in six Nunavut communities.

Cup stopped in 6 Nunavut communities with NHL legends Lanny McDonald and Mark Napier

The Stanley Cup sits on Arctic sea ice outside the community of Arctic Bay, Nunavut. The cup made the rounds in six Nunavut communities over the last week. (submitted by Clare Kines)

With no Canadian teams in the NHL playoffs, the Stanley Cup will soon be heading south for the summer, but hockey's holy grail got its share of Canadiana this spring as it delighted crowds in six Nunavut communities.

The Cup stopped in Kugluktuk, Resolute, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Igloolik, and Cambridge Bay during its whirlwind tour, accompanied by former NHL stars Mark Napier and Lanny McDonald. 

Though the Cup traveled by plane for much of its trip, it got a more traditional entrance in the High Arctic community of Pond Inlet, where it entered by dog team.

As the Cup arrived, a frenzied crowd, clad in their favourite jerseys, swarmed the guest of honour. Old rivalries — such as those between Oilers and Flames fans — were put aside as the community caught Cup fever.

Nunavut has caught Cup fever! The Stanley Cup is making its way through six of the territory's communities, and residents are dressed in the Hockey Night in Canada best to celebrate. Nina Ootook sent us this shot from Pond Inlet. (submitted by Nina Ootook)

Happy fans surrounded the Cup wherever it went, particularly in the communities of Igloolik and Kugluktuk, which both received 25 sets of new hockey equipment from Project North, a non-profit organization which organized the tour. To date, the organization has donated more than $700,000 of new hockey equipment to 22 communities in the territory, as well as two communities in Labrador.

Happy children pose with the Stanley Cup in Igloolik, Nunavut, surrounded by new hockey gear donated by Project North. (submitted by Akittiq Quassa)

Though the Cup has returned south to await this year's NHL champion, it has no shortage of places to stay if and when it decides to return to the North. Residents from across Nunavut suggested their communities for future stops on Facebook. 

"Coral Harbour has never ever had it as a visitor," Miki Eetuk said on CBC Nunavut's Facebook page. "We'd very much like to join the club of excitement." 

"Wish you guys can go to Kugaaruk," wrote Bernadette Tinak.

"Come to Arviat, Nunavut," wrote Tiktak Aggark. "Stanley Cup, I wanna see you, I wanna kiss you!"

The last word, though, belongs to Jason Kopalie.

"Stanley Cup suits the north," he wrote.

Seems like Nunavut couldn't agree more. 

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