Nunavut’s U19 male volleyball squad ready to finish job

Loss to Saskatchewan in 2014 final still on their minds

Team Nunavut's U19 Male Volleyball's Peter Inootik (left) and Assistant Coach Jonah Oolayou (Right) are prepared as they conclude their practice for the 2017 North Americn Indigenous Games at the Tait Mckenzie Centre located at York University (ALEX JOHNSON) 

Team Nunavut had a successful year in the 2014 Regina games, but something was missing — a gold medal.

They fell short to Team Saskatchewan and look to finish the job this year.

Head coach Robert Kabvitok is looking forward to start the competition with a newly assembled side.

“I think we’re gonna have a good group to start,” said the first-time volleyball coach, standing inside the Tait Mckenzie Centre at York University on Tuesday.

“You know, we didn’t have much time to know each other because we’re from different and smaller communities. We had a week to become a team and I think we’ll be alright.”

Nunavut has a total of 28 communities within the province but the team is comprised of members from Gjoa Haven, Kimmirut, Kugluktuk, Pond, and Rankin Inlet, and the capital city of Nunavut, Iqaluit.

So you might see the difficulty Kabvitok may have in developing team chemistry and building from within in limited time, but he still has faith that it won’t keep the club from its goal.

Sports teams usually have a key strategy or dominating strength in terms of beating their opponent, but assistant coach Jonah Oolayou believes that his team is very effective, no matter where they’re placed on the court.

“Our team is very versatile. I think that might be our one main thing is that we have a number of players that can play a ton of positions which is great for our team,” said Oolayou.

“For the most part, I believe they have a lot of experience. A few of our guys have been playing on the territorial team for a number of years already. So we have some vets on there, just not NAIG returnees.”

Team Nunavut currently has two players who returned to the U19 team this year from 2014, Brent Puqiqnak and Peter Inootik. They had first-hand experience in what it was like to come so close to achieving gold in their respective sport.

Coach Kabvitok and Inootik believe that it would be right if they ended up facing Saskatchewan in the final round, once again.

“I think so, just for the guys that were here in 2014 to play them again and see what the outcome can be, so I’m sure they wanna face them again in the finals,” said the former coach of the Arctic Winter Games side.

Nunavut opens July 19 at Humber College.


About this article

Posted: Jul 18 2017 11:37 pm
Filed under: Amateur Features North American Indigenous Games Profiles Sports Volleyball