by Jeremy Appel, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
(ANNews) – The 2022 Arctic Winter Games that were slated to be held in Wood Buffalo have been put on hold, according to the Arctic Winter Games International Committee.
The committee says the decision to postpone is a “proactive response to the global COVID-19 pandemic”, which was reached after discussions with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the local host society and the provincial government.
“There were just no guarantees for us,” says John Flynn, the president of the Arctic Winter Games International Committee. “We do not want to say cancelled [but] right now, we don’t really have a date.”
The games were originally scheduled for March 6-12. Organizers are in the process of looking for a new date, Flynn added.
The event attracts about 2,000 athletes from Russia, Greenland, Finland and Norway, as well as Alaska, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon, Nunavik and northern Alberta.
The games, which typically occur every other year were also cancelled in 2020, when they were slated to occur in Whitehorse.
In that case, the games were called off a week before they were supposed to start, a situation Flynn said he wants to avoid for next year.
“That was a big factor,” he said. “We really don’t want what happened in Whitehorse to take place in Wood Buffalo.”