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Tenth anniversary celebration

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 9, 2011

RANKIN INLET - The organizing committee for the First Air Avataq Cup has been working overtime to make the 10th anniversary of the senior men's hockey tournament its biggest yet.

The committee has announced the launching of a giant raffle in support of the event's 10th anniversary, with the top prize being a 2011 Ford Ranger 4 x 4 crew cab, which retails at about $28,000.

Second prize in the raffle is two plane tickets to Ottawa, and a pair of tickets to a Senators game courtesy of First Air.

Third prize is a pair of tickets anywhere First Air flies, while fourth prize is a pair of tickets to Winnipeg.

The fifth prize is also for two tickets to Winnipeg, while the sixth prize is material for a 14-foot qamutiik from Umingmak Supplies.

There is also an ice auger to be won, courtesy of Kativik Ltd., and 45 gallons of gas donated by M&T Enterprises.

Raffle tickets are $20 each, or three for $50, and can be purchased from the arena canteen, Kativik, Umingmak or any committee member.

Committee member David Clark said while the final details are still coming together for this year's event, it will be a 10-team affair.

He said the Avataq will run from Wednesday, March 2, through to the championship game on the evening of Sunday, March 6.

Among the teams already confirmed are the defending champion Huka Inuks, along with the Rankin Inlet Miners, Predators, Iqaluit, Arviat, Repulse Bay, Whale Cove and Coral Harbour.

"We went all out to make the 10th anniversary of the Avataq as special as we possibly could, and we're not saying we're going to be able to do things like this every year," said Clark.

"But, with this being a special year, we wanted to make it really memorable and get a lot of nice prizes for people in our community - and people from across the Kivalliq - to have a chance to win."

Clark said the Avataq committee owes a debt of gratitude to Pujjuut Kusugak, who left the committee after being elected mayor of Rankin Inlet.

He said Kusugak would have loved to remain on the committee, but there's only so much a person can take on and still be effective.

"Puj and I started together on the committee about seven years ago, and he's always worked well with everyone involved.

"Pujjuut is always big on making sure the community knows everything going on and he'll be missed.

"But, he's reached a point where he has bigger things to worry about and he's kept really, really busy with his schedule the way it is now."

Clark said the First Air Avataq Cup now has a new volunteer committee, which is being chaired by Kandace Kusugak.

He said the 10th anniversary raffle is but one of the special events scheduled for this year's tournament.

"We're going to be holding a giant bingo on Saturday, March 5, which will feature a $20,000 jackpot.

"Also, in continuing our efforts to make the Avataq a community event, we're hosting a craft sale on March 5 for anyone who wants to sell their artwork, baked goods, things of that nature.

"We will also be holding a number of fun-filled activities between periods of some of the games.

"Among the things people can try their skill - or luck - at are puck tosses, shoot for $2,500, the cash grab and numerous other events."

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