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2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games – HAY RIVER (June 2017) – With less than 300 days to go until the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games, ‘Kechi’ the Games official mascot has been busy touring the South Slave Region of the Northwest Territories!

“It has been an amazing experience to witness the creation of our official mascot, and I am thrilled with the result.  I have no doubt Kechi will represent the values of the Host Society and be a wonderful Ambassador to the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games over the next ten months” said Greg Rowe; Host Society President. 

Kechi, a snowy owl, was chosen to represent the Games with contribution from the youth, community members, and elders of the South Slave Region, Northwest Territories (NWT). Kechi is considered the ‘Messenger,’ the wise one, non-judgemental, and an Elder.

“With the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games quickly approaching, it is fitting that we provide Kechi with a warm introduction as the official Games mascot,” said the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “Kechi was created through collaboration and teamwork to inspire participants to reach their podium goals. I hope all Canadians use those same inclusive values when they participate in sport. The Arctic Winter Games are returning to the Northwest Territories for the first time since 2008, and Kechi will be there to welcome athletes and visitors while promoting sport as a powerful vehicle for health, well-being and community development.”

History of Kechi

In the Spring of 2016, a request was made of youth in the South Slave Region through school boards, social media, and community posters.  As of May 31, over 80 submissions were received, and the Host Society Board chose their favourite five (which included a bear, fox, lynx, wolf, and owl).  These concepts were brought to a culture committee as well as Elders in the Region, for consideration.  Upon review, the Host Society Board chose the Owl; specifically, the snowy owl, and thus the official mascot of the AWG 2018 was born! 

Chipewyan, Cree, and Slavey, language educators in the South Slave Region were consulted in selecting a name for the mascot. Consideration was given to values and ideas such as friendship, competition, respect, winner, messenger, inclusive, community, power, partnership, etc.

The name Kechi (pronounced Kee-chee) comes from the Cree Language and means ‘Power’.  Host Society Board Member and key player in the creation of Kechi; Julianne Fuller, stated: “I hope that Kechi inspires participants to find their power as they take flight into their events during 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games.”

Kechi represents an older, wiser female snowy owl.  Female snowy owls never become completely white—remaining brownish with darker markings. Males are whiter than females, getting more so as they age. 

Kechi is 11 years old. The number 11, is a master number, the most intuitive of all numbers. It is instinctual, charismatic, dynamic and capable when sights are set on a concrete goal. The number 11 is also associated with faith, psychics, and strength – as you can see, the 2018 AWG is well represented with an 11-year-old, wise Snowy Owl.

About the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games

In March 2018, the Arctic Winter Games are returning to the Northwest Territories’ South Slave Region for the first time in 40 years. Hosted jointly by the communities of Hay River and Fort Smith, the Games’ 25th Edition will be a milestone event and a unique opportunity to connect with a large, highly engaged audience from across the Canadian North and Circumpolar World.  Athletes from Alaska, Northern Alberta, Greenland, the Northwest Territories, Nunavik, Nunavut, Yukon, Sápmi (Northern Scandinavia), and Yamal (Russia), Yukon are set to participate in 19 sports over the week of the Games.  This event has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories, the Town of Hay River, and the Town of Fort Smith.

For inquiries, please contact:

Thorsten Gohl – Marketing Manager