Madam Speaker, the 1994 Arctic Winter Games will be held March 6 to 12, 1994 in Slave Lake, Alberta. As Minister responsible for sport, I am pleased to provide Members of the Assembly with an update on the Northwest Territories' team to this circumpolar sport and cultural event.
Northwest Territories will send 354 athletes, coaches and mission staff, representing all regions. This year, 38 communities will have participants, up from 34 communities in 1992. I am pleased to note that community representation on our team has steadily increased from 1980 when only 20 communities were sending athletes to the games. This increase in numbers of athletes and coaches from small communities is due, in large part, Madam Speaker, to the cooperative efforts of the Government of the Northwest Territories and communities in providing sport and recreation facilities, coaching development and competitions to all athletes of the Northwest Territories.
Madam Speaker, the delegation will include 12 mission staff to assist and support the teams and a group of ten cultural performers from Norman Wells, Iqaluit and Rae-Edzo who will participate in the cultural program planned by the Slave Lake host society.
Madam Speaker, on March 1, I will provide Members with additional information on the games to be held in Slave Lake, along with a promotional package. At that time, we plan to unveil the new team clothing with a program of events in the great hall of the Legislative Assembly.
I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our volunteer organizers, including the Sport North Federation for the months of hard work they have put in to ensure the success of the regional and territorial trials held to select our final team.
We do not judge the success of the Arctic Winter Games on the number or colour of ulus we may win. Madam Speaker, the Arctic Winter Games have earned the importance they hold throughout the north because of the wide participation of athletes in the games and in our regional and territorial trials. All these events provide opportunities for the athletes to compete to achieve their personal best.
The regional trials were held this past November and December, and the territorial trials on the January 20 to 22 weekend. The Arctic Winter Games territorial trials are the single largest sporting event in the Northwest Territories. They were held in 11 different communities and involved 1,300 participants. In total, the regional and territorial trials involved 2,700 athletes, coaches and officials from virtually every community in the Northwest Territories. To those who made this massive undertaking happen, should go the appreciation and continued support of this Legislative Assembly.
Madam Speaker, later today, I will provide the Members of this Assembly with a list of the Northwest Territories' team members and mission staff. I look forward to making a further statement on the Arctic Winter Games, but at this time I would ask all Members to join me in wishing all athletes the very best in their upcoming competitions. I am sure they will represent the Northwest Territories with pride. Thank you.