Round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs may be underway, but hockey's top prize is once again taking a spring vacation through Nunavut, as it kicked off its second tour of the territory in two years Wednesday in Iqaluit.
The Cup — along with NHL legend Lanny McDonald and Olympic gold medallist Natalie Spooner, as well as the Canadian Women's Hockey League's Clarkson Cup — is touring Nunavut as part of Project North, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of children in Canada's North.
On Thursday, the group will make stops in the communities of Cape Dorset, Kugaaruk, and Taloyoak. They will then travel to Gjoa Haven and Resolute Bay on Friday, before finishing their tour in Hall Beach and Qikiqtarjuaq on Saturday.
"It's super exciting," said Spooner, who is making her first trip to Nunavut. "It's been awesome, and everyone has been super welcoming. So far, it's been a great experience."
Spooner said that she is particularly excited to hand out bags of hockey equipment to youth in Nunavut's communities. This year, Kugaaruk, Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven, Cape Dorset, Hall Beach, and Qikiqtarjuaq will receive 150 full sets of hockey equipment in total.
"Hockey, growing up gave me so much," she said. "I learned a lot from it, and it's given me so many opportunities in life. And I think that all kids should really have that opportunity to play, and to grow as people, and grow as athletes."
"I'm super excited to be here as a female, and help those girls realize that they can be hockey players, and that they can play as a professional women's hockey player."