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Puck drops at Rankin Inlet's annual Terence Tootoo Memorial hockey tournament

Team Todd, in black, is trying to repeat as B Division champions at this year's Terence Tootoo Memorial Tournament in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. The tournament continues through this weekend.  (Cameron MacIntosh/CBC  - image credit)
Team Todd, in black, is trying to repeat as B Division champions at this year's Terence Tootoo Memorial Tournament in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. The tournament continues through this weekend. (Cameron MacIntosh/CBC - image credit)

The Terence Tootoo Memorial Hockey Tournament got underway in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, this week, bringing together some of the Kivalliq region's fiercest hockey players for a five-day friendly competition.

The tournament began on Wednesday and continues into this weekend.

It's named in honour of Terence Tootoo, who died by suicide in 2002 at the age of 22.

Barney Tootoo, Terence's father, said the annual tournament is a reminder of his son and how hockey can bring people together.

"To see this tournament grow like this, you can see that a lot of people remember Terence," he said.

"It's nice to see all these people wanting to come and play."

Although Rankin Inlet has an arena, Tootoo said the tournament has become so big that it's almost outgrown the single rink.

"Next year it might be bigger," Tootoo said.

Barney Tootoo says the annual memorial hockey tournament named after his late son if a chance to bring communities together.
Barney Tootoo says the annual memorial hockey tournament named after his late son if a chance to bring communities together.

Barney Tootoo says the annual tournament named after his late son is a chance to bring communities together. (Noel Kaludjak/CBC )

Igloolik players snowmobile to tournament 

There are 12 teams in this year's tournament, coming from all over the Kivalliq.

This year, there's also one team from Igloolik. Three of those players travelled over 300 kilometres by snowmobile to Naujaat, where they then flew to Rankin Inlet.

"To come all the way from Igloolik, I'd sure like to welcome them," Tootoo said. "All the players will learn from them."

Tootoo said he's looking forward to a weekend of hockey with his community.

"Hopefully none of you guys get injured too bad and you keep your heads up and play hockey the way it's supposed to be played. Keep everything on the ice," he said.

The first few days of the tournament are round robin-style, with playoffs taking place over the weekend.

The tournament will also be livestreamed on Shaw Direct and Uvagut TV.

Rico Manitok is in charge of the livestream.

"It's going to be some good hockey," he said.

Terence's brother, former NHL player Jordin Tootoo, also attended the tournament to honour his late brother.

The tournament wraps up with the final game on Sunday.

Former NHL player and Terence Tootoo's brother Jordin Tootoo poses for a photo at the annual hockey tournament earlier this week.
Former NHL player and Terence Tootoo's brother Jordin Tootoo poses for a photo at the annual hockey tournament earlier this week.

Former NHL player and Terence Tootoo's brother Jordin Tootoo poses for a photo at the annual hockey tournament earlier this week. (Cameron MacIntosh/CBC )