A hockey team from Nunavut has reached a significant historical milestone in Canadian sports.
During its first ever appearance at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta., the all boys team won its inaugural game against Yukon on Sunday, according to CBC News.
Team Nunavut forward Josie Cote led the team with two goals and one assist with goaltender Inuuki Burke stopping 33 shots in the 5-3 win over Team Yukon.
“We come into this tournament as underdogs — it’s our first time, it’s a big opportunity for us, and the greatest thing was winning our first game in our first Canada Games appearance,” Cote told CBC News.
The idea for the team to compete on the national stage transpired four years ago. With no organized hockey currently being played in the territory, most of the players have only ever skated on natural ice rinks, playing recreationally with their friends.
Mike McPherson, President of Hockey Nunavut, said that it was a proud moment for not only him, but also the entire territory and its athletic community.
“After a long journey, our team proved to our territory they were able to compete with elite hockey players across Canada by making history with competing at the Canada Winter Games and capturing a win in their first game,” he said in an email.
After the win, Coach Martin Joy could not contain his excitement and held up the game puck to start his post-game speech.
“That is the best team game I’ve ever seen a bunch of kids from the middle of nowhere play in my entire life,” he told his team, according to CBC News.
He added no matter what happens from there on out, the puck would be framed and mounted with a picture of the entire team around it.