Nunavut Post

Inuvik Huskies back on the ice for all-Indigenous Fred Sasakamoose hockey game


Key takeaways: 

  • Recently, the Huskies won the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Cup A Division and played in Saskatoon this week.
  • The Inuvik Huskies after winning the 33rd Annual Inuvialuit Regional Corporation Cup A Division.

Indigenous hockey players are restoring a squad made by their fathers decades back.

For the only time in 25 years, the Inuvik Huskies are back on the ice, playing the Fred Sasakamoose “Chief Thunderstick” National Hockey Championship this week.

Mickey Ipana, the skipper of the rebooted Inuvik Huskies, remembers his father playing for the team, and like many of the team’s players, Ipana’s been playing since he was a child.

“A lot of us played hockey our entire lives…. We’ve been getting prepared for Freddy,” he giggles.

The Huskies played their first match on Thursday. The tournament heads till Sunday.

Huskies first got together 40 years back

The Inuvik Huskies first started 40 years back when the community wanted a “West End Boys” team to contend with the Canadian Forces hockey players in town. 

Also read: Yukon First Nation launches app to make its language more convenient

Indigenous hockey players are restoring a squad made by their fathers decades back

Ipana’s dad put together a recreational squad of all Indigenous males. Ipana used to be the stick boy, taking their equipment. 

In Inuvik, the local Roy “Sugloo” Ipana Arena is called after Ipana’s father, who created the team.

The team went on break — the players got older, had kids and homes, and had busy lives.

Ipana said they chose to get back the Huskies “to show some respect” to their parents and the hockey players that are getting older.

The squad won the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation tournament before this year. Now, stated Ipana, the revitalized Huskies will see where this tournament takes them.

It’s an exciting time in hockey, with the “war of Alberta,” he giggles, referring to the face-off between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers in round 2 of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs. 

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