Fire destroys Nunavik hockey arena

“I don’t think the building will be recovered”

A fire is believed to have started in the furnace room of the arena in Kangirsuk late during the night of Sunday, April 7, and continued to burn through the building over the following day. (Submitted photo)

By Sarah Rogers

A Nunavik community lost its hockey arena to a major fire this week.

A fire is suspected to have started in the furnace room of the arena in Kangirsuk late during the night of Sunday, April 7, likely due to a faulty heating system, municipal officials said.

The fire burned through the building all day on Monday, while local firefighters tried to douse the blaze.

“It’s still smoking,” said Kangirsuk’s acting mayor, Jeannie Nungak, Tuesday morning.

“I don’t think the building will be recovered.”

Nungak said the building’s exterior structure is still intact, but the arena’s interior was largely destroyed in the fire.

Nungak said that as far as the municipality and firefighters are aware, there was no one in the arena at the time.

Due to the heavy smoke, Kangirsuk’s school closed Monday afternoon.

But Nungak said the community is fortunate the fire wasn’t more extensive; winds blew much of the smoke away from the community of about 600 and prevented the fire from spreading to other buildings.

The arena was built in the early 1990s, with a large Montreal Canadiens logos on one exterior wall, and was home to all of Kangirsuk’s recreational hockey programming.

The building used to house some municipal office space, although Nungak said that had sat vacant for several years.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Hunter. on

    Drop the hockey stick, take those skates off your feet, put on kamituinak, pick up a harpoon, go to all natural ice bring some food (seal) to the town.

  2. Posted by Kuujjuaraapik on

    I hope they build an arena in Kuujjuaraapik before they build one in Kangirsuk, Kuujjuaraapik is the only community in Nunavik without an arena

  3. Posted by c/l spouse on

    It is very sad to learn this beautiful Arena of Kangirsuk, broke so many hearts of Kangirsumiut, many enjoyed watching local Nunavik tournaments, there was even Pinguapik’s tournament in loving memory of late David Pinguapik Annahatak, late Mayor of Kangirsuk whom passed on while he was still a Mayor of Kangirsuk 9 years ago.

    Recently, an eldest Senior Hockey player retired 2017, at age 63, since he played hockey all his entire young life, he even choose his own jersey number #36, and explains that, why he chooses #36, it started from his age, he says “I was 36 years old when we first got our Arena, and my most famous player was Glen Andersen #36, that was why I chose #36 as Kangirsuk Canadian” And he holds so many trophies as a champion for his community, he fled in tears when he heard about the loss, since that Arena carries a lot of good memories, his message to Kangirsumiut, “Stay strong, be brave and wait for a new Arena” love you my fellow team mates and my gentlemen that, I taught in their young lives. Laqujilaurmat #36

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