The women's hockey team in Whale Cove, Nunavut, is proudly wearing new jerseys after receiving support from the RCMP.
Hockey is a big deal in Whale Cove. Before COVID-19 closures, a drop-in game was played at the local arena every night regularly drawing 20 players, two goalies and another 15 to 20 spectators — a big turnout for a town of 450 people.
When the women's team started playing, they shared jerseys with the men's team. Victoria Kidlapik, who helped organize the team, wanted the women's team to have their own jerseys and identity.
There was an upcoming tournament in Rankin Inlet and we wanted our own jerseys to represent the ladies from Whale Cove," says Kidlapik. "
A jersey isn't just a jersey, but helps unite us as a team."
While COVID-19 led to the tournament's ultimate cancellation, Kidlapik continued the jersey project.
She went to the RCMP to see if there was some way it could help. That's when Cpl. James Charles, who leads the Whale Cove detachment, began looking into it.
Then he saw a message reminding RCMP officers about the Family Violence Initiative Fund, an RCMP program that promotes awareness of relationship and family violence, assists victims and supports communities.
There's not a lot of resources in the community and this is one way to keep your mind busy, be active and be a role model for youth," says Kidlapik. "
Hockey brings community members together and engages at-risk-youth in an activity."
Charles completed the application for the initiative fund and soon secured some money for the new hockey sweaters.
I thought it would be a fabulous thing to do for the community," says Charles. "
To have an outlet like hockey is great."
Kidlapik and the other hockey players met to design the jerseys and decided on a blue and white pattern featuring three whales and crossed hockey sticks.
The designer's grandpa was one of the first to play on a hockey team in Whale Cove and that logo was used," says Kidlapik. "
She added a few differences to make it unique for the ladies."
Supporting the jersey project is one of the many ways the RCMP works with the community in Whale Cove.
Officers often visit the local playground to visit with youth and when Charles and his family walk their dogs, young people will join them for the stroll.
They've organized toy drives, food hampers and last year's Christmas fundraiser collected enough money to provide all 119 households with a $200 grocery gift card.
We like to say thank you to the community as much as we can because the community supports us," says Charles.