Back in 2004, ESPN ran a video about a very small population of young people that were playing lacrosse farther North than anyone else. Kugluktuk is a hamlet in the Nunavut Territory of Canada and the people there deal with 20 hours of darkness a day during the Winter. A rash of suicides by young men in the community became the inspiration for change and a lacrosse team was borne. The Kugluktuk Grizzlies were a reality. The video below is as inspirational as any short sports documentary I’ve ever seen but it is a moment captured in time and it looks like a lot has changed.
I called up Kugluktuk High School and inquired about their lacrosse team. The principal I spoke with was very helpful but new and didn’t know anything about it. He inquired around and was nice enough to get back to me. But with news I didn’t want to hear: the lacrosse team was gone. Evidently, the team fell apart after Kyle Aviak, who is featured in the above video, left the school, although I believe he’s still up in the Kugluktuk area. The principal said they hadn’t had a lacrosse team in at least 4 years.
All is not lost for the youth in Kugluktuk though. There is a strong soccer presence in the area with teams for high school aged kids. The Kugluktuk Grizzlies may not have a lax team anymore… but they’re still fighting the good fight and giving kids hope. If anyone from Kugluktuk sees this, and would like to talk about getting a lacrosse team started again, or would like support for their soccer team, please let us know! We’d love to help you Grow the Game again and keep your youth happy, safe and healthy!!