He was a hockey coach, a hunter and a father. He’s also the first member of the Canada’s Arctic reserve unit to walk on while on duty since 2005. Cpl. Donald Anguyoak walked on Sunday, February 17 in a snowmobile accident in Nunavut. He was 46.
“It’s hard to believe he’s gone,” Lydia Anguyoak, who was married to Donald for 20 years, told The Canadian Press.
He had been a member of the Canadian Rangers, the largely aboriginal reserve force that works with regular forces in the arctic, and monitors snow and ice conditions in the Northwest Passage. At the time of the accident the rangers were taking part in Exercise Polar Passage, which according to The Canadian Press, began February 9 and runs through March 3. He was acting as head scout for other members of the patrol when the accident occurred.
The exercise puts federal scientists with Rangers from Gjoa Haven, Kugluktuk, Cambridge Bay and Taloyoak together to measure snow and ice thickness, water temperature, salinity and plankton abundance in the passage.
What caused the accident is not being released, but the Army is conducting an investigation.
“There is no criminal investigation,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Yvonne Niego said Tuesday. “The coroner’s office has taken over.”
Anguyoak leaves behind four children and a 19-month-old grandchild.
“He was so proud of his granddaughter and his kids. He talked about them all the time and he loved us dearly,” Lydia Anguyoak told The Canadian Press.
He was an instructor for the Junior Canadian Rangers, a youth section of the Canadian Rangers he had been a part of, and a hockey coach for children and women.
“He worked a lot with the kids. He was really good with kids,” Lydia Anguyoak told The Canadian Press. “He loved hockey. He was playing hockey since he was growing up.”
Even though Anguyoak’s death was the first time a Ranger has been lost since 2005, Prime Minister Stephen Harper point out in a statement that it “is a stark reminder of the very real dangers that the Canadian Rangers and other members of the Canadian Armed Forces face regularly while promoting national security and exercising sovereignty in our harsh northern territories.
“Corporal Anguyoak’s sacrifice in the name of defending his country will be honoured and remembered.”