New date set for next Arctic Winter Games

The Wood Buffalo, Alberta games will now take place in 2023.

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The next Arctic Winter Games have been postponed until January and February 2023 due to ongoing pandemic concerns. The Games, which will be held in Wood Buffalo, Alta., were originally scheduled for March 2022. (Nunatsiaq News file photo)

The Arctic Winter Games International Committee has announced that the 2022 games slated for Wood Buffalo, Alberta, will now take place between Jan. 29 and Feb. 4, 2023.

The news comes roughly a month after the committee decided to postpone the games over continued pandemic concerns.

“We are extremely delighted to have rescheduled the Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games to a date that accommodates both the host community and host society,” said John Flynn, president of Arctic Winter Games International Committee, in a news release.

“We truly miss our northern neighbors and look forward to seeing them again.”

This is the second Arctic Winter Games affected by COVID-19. On March 7, 2020, four days before the World Health Organization declared a pandemic, organizers cancelled the event, which was set for March 15 to 21 in Whitehorse.

The games are usually held every two years, welcoming some 2,000 athletes from around the circumpolar world, including Canada’s northern territories, Nunavik, northern Alberta, Alaska, Russia, Greenland and Finland.

The rescheduled dates for the games will not impact the current bid cycle for the 2024 Arctic Winter Games, the release said.

In addition to rescheduling the games, the committee has confirmed that it will also increase the maximum number of coaching positions for the next event.

According to the release, these positions will help protect athletes, coaches and cultural delegates from potentially vulnerable situations.