First loss won't cool us off

SEAN GRASSIE, FOR SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

IN IQALUIT -- The last ship moved into the icy waters of Iqaluit yesterday, but unfortunately the wind was taken out of our sails a bit when we dropped our first game on the morning draw, falling 10-7 to Northern Ontario's Ian Fisher. Giving up three in the second and fourth ends did not help our cause.

We're playing well enough, though, that I'm sure it won't be a major setback for us. Heading into last night's match with Alberta, we were 4-1. Saskatchewan leads the field at 6-0.

A heat wave is apparently on the way here, with an expected high of -3 C on Friday. It might not be such a good thing, however, as heavy snow will likely come with the warmer temperatures.

If you're ever thinking of moving to Iqaluit, you should know that a house will cost you between $350,000 to $800,000. And don't expect anything too fancy for this price. Most homes are around 1,000 square feet, with the bigger ones going up to 2,500 square feet. Of course, wages are quite high here. The average salary is about $100,000, with many workers also getting a northern allowance. A government of Canada employee living here, for example, is given a $20,000 a year northern allowance.

If you live here, however, you are still able to curl and golf. There is a nice four-sheet curling rink that is attached to the athletic club, where about 25 teams participate. And a makeshift golf course is set up in the summer, when temperatures often reach the high teens. The course likely offers a good challenge, as rugs are brought in to serve as putting greens.

Things went well for us on Monday. In the morning draw against New Brunswick's Scott Jones, we built a 5-1 lead after five ends and went on to win 8-3. We followed that up with a 12-3 victory over George Lennie from the Yukon/North West Territories, scoring four in the second and eighth ends.

The Yukon/North West Territories are considered the home team here, but they have the most demanding travel schedule. Coming here, they left last Wednesday from their hometown of Inuvik to Yellowknife, where they had to stay for two days before flying first to Rankin Inlet and then to Iqaluit on Friday. The team has the same itinerary going home, which means they are forced to be away for two weeks for an eight-day championship.

It has been about -15 C here, but it's the winds that make it painfully cold. It is only a five minute walk from the hotel to the arena, but any team that embarks on the journey is considered incredibly brave. Or foolish.

After the games, teams head over to the athletic club, where all players are honorary members for the week. It is a tough place to leave, as we have complete access to the club's squash courts, gym, pool tables, shuffleboard table, ping pong table, big screen TV and lounge area.


Photos