Kangirsuk takes home Ungava Bay hockey gold
Tournament marked by great play, good behaviour
KUUJJUAQ — Hockey took center stage at the Ungava Bay Tournament in Kangirsuk this Feb. 21 to 25 thanks to brilliant plays on and off the ice.
Brian Jones, chief of the Kativik Regional Police Force, credited a pre-tournament seizure of Kangirsuk-bound contraband alcohol with focusing fan attention on the on-ice action and not on off-ice alcohol problems.
Two KRPF officers netted an estimated $7,200 worth of illegal alcohol last Thursday and Friday at Kuujjuaq`s airport, Jones said. The haul consisted of 24 66-ounce bottles of hard liquor, two cases of king-sized beer, one 40-ounce bottle of Amaretto, and one four-litre package of wine bound for the hockey tournament that began last Friday night.
“We have had trouble in the past where large amounts of alcohol have created situations,” Jones said. “This year was very, very, very good in Kangirsuk. When compared to other events it was very calm. We only had a small number of calls… and I think it had a large part to do with it [the seizure].”
Sources estimate that about 200 fans and players descended on Kangirsuk for the five-day tournament. But, Jones said, not a single arrest was made during this time that was directly connected to the tournament.
This meant the focus of the event stayed where it should — on sharp passes, goaltending and slap shots.
Korn Pinguapik, recreation coordinator for Kangirsuk, called the event a huge success. The close to 250-seat arena was full almost every night, he said, and the tournament play was impressive all-around.
“It was great. Everybody was happy,” Pinguapik said.
Of course, the 23-year old could be biased — not only did his Kangirsuk Canadiens take home the tournament’s gold medal in a 4-0 shut out against the Kuujjuaq Umimmaks, Pinguapik took home several coveted MVP awards. By the tournament`s Monday night close, Pinguapik had won the round-robin MVP, the finals MVP, and team MVP.
Pinguapik said the highlight of the tourney was Kangirsuk’s Monday night nailbiter with the Kangiqsujjuaq Penguins.
“We were losing 6 to 4 with one minute left in the game and we tied the game,” he said. “They were definitely our toughest competition.”
Up until the final four, the Quaqtaq Icebergs lead the tournament during round robin play with five wins and one tie. But Quaqtaq fizzled in the semi-finals and lost to fourth place Kuujjuaq. The team had to satisfy itself with third-place after it beat the Kangiqsujuaq Penguins in the bronze-medal game.
Final Standings for the tournament are:
• 1st place: Kangirsuk – 6 wins, 0 losses, 2 ties
• 2nd: Kuujjuaq – 3 wins, 3 losses, 2 ties
• 3rd: Quaqtaq – 6 wins, 1 loss, 1 tie
• 4th: Kangiaqujuaq – 2 wins, 4 losses, 2 ties
• 5th: Salluit Devils – 2 wins, 2 losses, 2 ties
• 6th: Tasiujaq Eagles – 1 win, 5 losses
• 7th: Aupaluk Bruins – 6 losses