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Monthly Archives:February 2021

Coming Together – Hockey & Table Tennis in the Northwest Territories

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Amazing things happen when organizations come together for a common goal. From February 23rd until April 4th, 2021 that will happen in Hay River where a pilot project will be launched to increase eye hand coordination and reaction time for Hockey Goalies through Table Tennis. This is a great partnership between Table Tennis North, Hockey NWT, Hockey North, Table Tennis Canada, Hay River Minor Hockey and the Sport Information Resource Centre, to showcase how important and beneficial coming together is.

Executive Director for Table Tennis North, Thorsten Gohl is excited about this project. “It is so great to see it all unfold. We have so many amazing people in the North that help and support us to make this happen. The goal for Table Tennis is to enhance the skills of any athletes, support them, give them the tools, experiences and crazy ‘out of the box’ fun ideas in becoming amazing human beings and role models for our communities. Honestly, it can be that simple.”

The project will start on February 23rd with an evaluation of eight U11 – U18 hockey goalies. Tests will be done on and off ice to identify their reaction time, their eye hand coordination and their overall fitness. All athletes will receive a hockey jersey, as well as professional Table Tennis equipment to support them in performing their best. The Table Tennis sessions will start on February 25th with a small assessment and the basic knowledge of the sport. Including how to hold the racket, the basic rules of the game, how to move and what are the expectations of this program.

“This initiative by Table Tennis North is a great example of cooperation between sports. Table Tennis Canada thanks Thorsten Gohl for creating and implementing this creative project.” – Adham Sharara, President Table Tennis Canada

Table Tennis Canada and Table Tennis North will offer a specialist training program for hockey goalies. The plan will include footwork drills within small spaces, reaction time training, challenges that will include hockey goalie gear and a lot of fun activities. Some of the best coaches in Canada will give their input for a “dynamic ever changing” plan for the best outcome of this project.

“We love when things like this happen for our players and we look forward to building relationships and working more closely  with other territorial sport organizations to help maximize the benefits and work towards common goals for all athletes in the NWT.” Pennie Pokiak, President Minor Hockey Hay River

The Don Stewart Recreation Centre will be the host of this project, offering us the ice for the evaluation and the Table Tennis area for the sport specific clinics. Stephanie Millete, Director of Recreation & Community Services for the Town of Hay River welcomes the opportunity to be part of this. He says “We are excited to have projects like this come to our beautiful venue. We are sure it will be successful an I am looking forward to seeing it unfold.”

“This is a great initiative to help develop transferable skills between Table Tennis and hockey goaltenders.   Thank you to Hay River Minor Hockey for making their athletes available for this project. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Table Tennis North to enhance the development of multi-sport athletes across the North.” – Kyle, Executive Director Hockey NWT, Hockey North

We will be working with professional videographers to capture the “behind the scenes” activities, and also to use high speed cameras to collect data for the research component of this project. The research team at SIRC (Sport Information Resource Centre) will evaluate the program and mobilize the findings for the sport community. The goal is to provide a top-notch training program that goes beyond the game to build resilience and character.

“SIRC is thrilled to be contributing to this partnership. We know that evidence is critical for program planning and improvement, and we are excited to support this program through credible research and evaluation.”   Debra Gassewitz, President Sport Information Resource Centre

A huge thanks to the COVID-19 relief funding from the Government of Canada, and for the financial contribution from the Mackenzie Recreation Association for this project. Without amazing partners like these, this would not be possible.

Thank you | Merci | Mársı | Kinanāskomitin | Hąį’ | Quana | Qujannamiik | Quyanainni | Máhsı | Máhsı | Mahsı̀


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Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, safe return to play is extremely important. The wellbeing of our athletes, coaches, umpires, administrators, volunteers and all the families involved is the ultimate goal. Restrictions and rules for public gathering vary from region to region inside our country. This scenario makes it for a very difficult way to come up with a competition format that would not break social distancing rules. And the situation evolves as Canada braces for the deals with the fallout of the second wave of the Pandemic. This competition format will allow players to compete safely inside their own region. Crossing borders and isolation will not be necessary since the eligible athletes will play against a small group of athletes from the same region – if local government pandemic policies allows it.

We will be running the event with a small group of athletes composed of 5 athletes representing 5 different nationwide teams. Each team will have 1 athlete from each of our 13 Provinces and Territories. 65 athletes will be playing this tier.
Our inspiration for the 5 teams is simple, the 5 Olympic Games Rings representing the colours blue, yellow, red, black and green. Although playing inside their own region, the athletes will represent one of the 5 colours, not the athlete’s club or Province/Territory.

Following the Canadian Sport movement for a better integration of gender equality, Table Tennis Canada supports this initiative by making sure that the small group of 5 athletes will be composed by a minimum of 2 players per gender whenever possible. Our goal is to provide meaningful competitions for all participants. This is achieved when the outcome of a match between two athletes is not predictable, avoiding blowouts and/or easy wins. With that in mind, the small group of 5 athletes selected by the province/territory shall have similar ratings points in the Canadian Ranking System.

To increase the size, range and flexibility of the league, next editions would present a tier system where divisions will be used to reach more athletes and participation. These divisions will have the potential to accommodate a greater number of athletes as we move towards the grassroots level of our sport.

“Despite of the adversity that we face, we are finding safe and creative ways to adapt to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and bring some joy to the Table Tennis family! This is a mini bubble competition that has the potential to engage safely many of our Table Tennis enthusiasts, no matter the age, gender or skill level!” – Marles Martins, Technical Development Manager Table Tennis Canada

Table Tennis Canada encourages all participants to take in consideration available Club Risk Assessment Tool guidelines as well as regional governmental guidelines to ensure the safety of all participants.

For more information check out the prospectus HERE.

The goal is to create a competition format that could easily be implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, but continues even after. This should make it possible for all Provinces and Territories to join together in one team, bringing our sport closer together and opening opportunities for live streaming, exciting matches and a new league system. We are excited!!!

If you have any questions about the event, please reach out to the Technical Development Manager, Marles Martins.


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A great opportunity to celebrate World Table Tennis Day with the help & support from the ITTF Foundation.

The World Table Tennis Day (WTTD) Promoter Initiative is an opportunity for you to make WTTD and our beloved sport more popular in your country or territory!

More information: https://ittffoundation.org/news/details/become-a-wttd-promoter-apply-now

Let us know if you are interested and we can work on this together. E-mail us to info@tabletennisnorth.ca!!!

Virtual Table Tennis Coach

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Table Tennis North will be providing virtual Table Tennis classes. Those classes will be tailored to Beginners, Territorial athletes, Women in Sport and Para athletes as well as schools. The hired coach will need to be ready to plan (February) and facilitate (March) this project. 


Table Tennis North  will negotiate contract terms upon selection. The terms of selection/award are to be subjected to the following terms. All contracts are subject to reviewed by Table Tennis North.


This is an open and competitive process for all certified coaches in Canada and beyond. Table Tennis North  reserves the right to reject any or all proposals or any portion thereof as deemed to be in the best interest of the Territorial Sport Organization. The proposal shall include the following information:

• Cover Letter

• Resume of your Education, Experience and Qualifications

• NCCP number 

• An example of a lesson plan that will be used for our virtual trainings

Coaches will be hired on qualification and on first come first serve basis. 

You will need to show experience with live streaming events and ZOOM video chats. A training plan will need to be provided before the first virtual sessions. Each week we will share the training session on our website to review after the virtual training. 


All proposals must be received by Table Tennis North no later than February 8th, 2021 to info@tabletennisnorth.ca.

Table Tennis events in the NWT

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We are sad to announce that all Table Tennis events in the Northwest Territories will be cancelled until further notice. That will include the Canadian Championship trials this upcoming weekend.


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Article by Sport for Life

It’s been six years since Thorsten Gohl introduced table tennis to the Northwest Territories, overcoming a number of geographical and societal challenges that have historically made it difficult to create and sustain sport organizations. In a short time he’s seen the number of participants sky-rocket as students throw themselves into the pastime once known as ping pong.

“It’s not easy to bring programs into these communities, as it takes a lot of financial resources just to get here. And we’re facing challenges that are different than Yukon or Nunavut. You have to fly in,” Gohl said, following a successful presentation at the Sport for Life Canadian Summit.

“Table tennis should be the sport of the North because you can do it wherever, it’s a fun activity, and you can play it old, young, big or small. You don’t need much equipment, basically just a ping pong ball, and then you can even make your own table.”

Gohl is based in Fort Providence, next to the Mackenzie River, a community of approximately 700 people. Since arriving in NWT following a lifetime of travel, he worked to get a Table Tennis team recognized by the Canada Games and became a member of Table Tennis of Canada, securing funding that made it possible to play with over 2,000 children in the North through community outreach.

“Right now I’m the only fully certified coach, and we have about 20 trained coaches for our clubs in Fort Smith, Hay River, Fort Providence, Fort Simpson. We’re working on a club in Yellownknife too.”

But it’s not enough to start a club. He also wants to see his table tennis athletes engaged in meaningful competition. There’s now a territory-wide competition every year, on top of the Arctic Winter Games being held every second year. The reason he believes it’s been able to take off while other sporting endeavours have fizzled out is because there aren’t as many hurdles to get involved.

“It’s a real work-out, depending on your level. If you play against me, or someone who is as good as I am, then you really need to move.”

And many of his athletes participate in other sports, such as hockey or basketball, so he’s pleased these up-and-comers will now have a multisport background.

“The idea with multisport is we’re making better people, people who are healthy and active and having fun. The idea is I’m not taking your athletes, I’m trying to support your athletes and make them better, more well-rounded people.”

Sport for Life CEO Richard Way believes the work Gohl is doing in NWT is an exemplary example of how to think outside the box when developing physical literacy in remote communities. Featuring his work at the 2020 Sport for Life Canadian Summit in Gatineau and the 2019 International Physical Literacy Conference in Umea, Sweden were opportunities to share that work with delegates from all around the world.

“Thorsten had the vision necessary to make this endeavour work, and now other sport organizations working in challenging locations can use his example as a blueprint for success. It’s not just about playing table tennis. This is about contributing to a community’s overall health, bringing people together and giving them something to accomplish,” he said.

“This program demonstrates what’s possible in NWT if you have a dream, now we can’t wait to see how things continue to develop as he reaches more communities and involves more players.”

World Table Tennis Day

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Join the longest and craziest table tennis rally by showing us how YOU are going to return the ball🏓

  • Film yourself from the end of the table
  • Upload your video to this One Drive folder 
  • Tell us your NAME, CITY and COUNTRY in the file name (e.g. GERMANY_Leipzig_ITTFFoundation)


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Here is some great information from the Government of the Northwest Territories in regards to the Corona virus.

Healthy Respiratory Practices

2020 HSS Coronavirus Monitoring Handout

2020 Arctic Winter Games are cancelled

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Joint statement from the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games Host Society, Arctic Winter Games International Committee, Government of Yukon, City of Whitehorse, and Chief Medical Officer of Health

Today the Arctic Winter Games Host Society, with the support of the Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse, announced that the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games have been cancelled following a recommendation from Yukon’s acting Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Cancelling the 2020 Arctic Winter Games was determined to be the most responsible precautionary measure to address concerns around the spread of COVID-19 and is supported by the Arctic Winter Games International Committee.

Yukon’s medical system has been and remains well prepared to manage suspected cases of COVID-19 that may arise in Yukon. While there are no cases of COVID-19 in Yukon and the risks low, other regions are experiencing unexpected community spread of the virus. With up to 2000 visitors anticipated to arrive in Whitehorse for the Arctic Winter Games, necessary steps must be taken to ensure the health and safety of Yukoners and visitors to the territory.

The organizers and co-hosts are disappointed to have to make this unfortunate decision and express deep gratitude to all those involved in preparing for the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games.


“The decision to cancel the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games was not made easily but while we are disappointed, we are acting responsibly by following the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health. We will be meeting with the Host Society’s Board of Management, our funding partners and stakeholders over the coming days to build a plan for decommissioning the Games.”

– 2020 AWG Host Society President George Arcand

“The Arctic Winter Games has been an important part of developing athletes and communities across the north for 50 years,” said Flynn. “We are all looking forward to the next 50 and thank our partners for putting our Arctic Winter Games Family’s safety first.”.

– Arctic Winter Games International Committee President John Flynn

“It is out of an abundance of caution that today, as the Chief Medical Officer of Health, responsible for public health in the Yukon, I have recommended the cancellation of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games that were scheduled to be held here in Whitehorse beginning next week. I am making this recommendation out of concern for the health and safety of Yukoners, of all athletes, staff, volunteers and families, and for their home communities throughout the circumpolar North. COVID-19 is a contagious disease that spreads from person to person rapidly through respiratory secretions. In a setting like the Arctic Winter Games, even a suspected case would be devastating. It is with a heavy heart that I have had to make this recommendation. It is the responsible recommendation, and it is very unfortunate.”

– Yukon acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Catherine Elliott

“Our government supports following the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s recommendation. We believe this is the most responsible course of action in light of concerns around the spread of COVID-19. This is a precautionary measure that is in the best interests of our athletes, support staff, families, and communities across the circumpolar North. We know how much effort has gone into preparing for these games. We thank all those who have helped to organize and prepare for them.”

– Premier Sandy Silver

“We support the difficult but responsible decision to cancel the Games. Our community really stepped up for this event and I want to thank the nearly 2000 volunteers for their efforts and preparation for these Games.”

– Mayor of Whitehorse Dan Curtis

Quick facts

  • The risk for COVID-19 remains low in Yukon and there are currently no cases of COVID-19 in the territory.

Table Tennis North & You Can Play

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Table Tennis North is excited to announce their support to the You Can Play campaign. 

Throughout the last 5 years, Table Tennis North (the governing body for Table Tennis in the Northwest Territories) has already been a huge supporter of this campaign, with our athletes, coaches and mission staff participating in projects run by Team NT throughout the Territories.YOU CAN PLAY was shared within the 2016 and 2018 Arctic Winter Games, the 2019 Canada Winter Games and the 2019 Canada Western Summer Games.  

Team NT YOU CAN PLAY video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=126&v=siKrRL5JhA4&feature=emb_logo&fbclid=IwAR2S9Bp_Q_h7kHLmuJsGt49wXEWcrZkdiZV5UuVA8LGmuWjq5qgE3LyEFFA

Vice President Marny Twigge is thrilled about this initiative and adds “It is so important to make sure that everyone participating in Table Tennis, or in any activity, can feel safe and enjoy their experience or focus on their development in the sport. Our kids in the Territories are great and love sharing that message where ever their competitions bring them. We want to thank Spider Jones from Sport North for his continous support in the North to this amazing campaign.” 

“Through their message that everyone belongs in sport, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, Table Tennis North sends an important message that sport at any level can and should be inclusive for all. To all those competing at the Arctic Winter Games, your partners at You Can Play and Egale Canada wish you the best of luck!” – Ryan Pettengill, Executive Director of You Can Play

Spider Jones, You Can Play campaign lead for the Sport North Federation has do add “Further to the release of Sport North’s You Can Play video and subsequent messaging at GAMES, it’s great to have Table Tennis North continuing to promote the tenants of You Can Play at the upcoming 2020 Arctic Winter Games. That regardless of one’s sexual orientation or how one identifies, if you make the pass, take the shot, make the call, support your team, pursue sporting excellence … if you can play, you can play!”

Table Tennis North will be wearing the You Can Play logo proudly on their competition shirts during the Whitehorse 2020 Arctic Winter Games this March. An international multi sport competition highlight sports, culture and coming together. What better way of celebrating the YOU CAN PLAY campaign?! 

It is very simple for us, “If you can play, you can play!”

Are you interested in Table Tennis in the Northwest Territories?