By REBECCA ENGLISH
As a team of hockey players watched William have a go with a hockey stick, Kate listened intently as she chatted with one of the players
The Duchess of Cambridge got another royal first under her belt yesterday when she started a game of 'shinny' or street hockey.
Kate, who was a formidable hockey player herself at school, laughingly shrugged off calls from the crowd to take part herself – especially after she was handed a red sports shirt with her name – Cambridge – emblazoned on it.
'I would have taken a shot if I wasn't in heels,' she told Gloria Francis, 16, from Yellowknife as she gestured to her cream £175 LK Bennett stilettoes. But she did throw the bright orange ball onto the floor to start the game.
Kate looks shocked as her husband misses his hockey shot during the street game in Somba K'e Civic Plaza
The Duke was facing 6'3" goalie Calvin Lomen, as he failed to hit to hit the target with any of his three shots. He even begged 20-year-old Mr Lomen 'You realise you've got to let one in!' before trying to outfox the goalie by telling him “top left corner' before going for the right. But all three shots were either saved or went wide.
Prince William begged goalkeeper Calvin Lomen to let one of his shots go into the net but he either hit the puck wide or it was saved
After he and his wife were presented with red Canada ice hockey tops with “Cambridge' and the numbers 1 for the Duchess and 2 for the Duke.
The royal couple were spending the morning experiencing the sights, sounds and traditions of Canada's native peoples after arriving in Yellowknife on the sixth day of their tour of the Commonwealth realm.
Around half of the region's population has Aboriginal heritage, and members of the Inuktitut and Chipewyan tribes were among those who welcomed the royal couple to the regional capital.
Prince William took a shot with a hockey stick in a game of 'shinny' to the delight of onlookers (including Kate) and they were treated to some of the Arctic sports
A group of drummers performed a prayer song for the couple on caribou-skin drums, considered sacred objects by the native people, dancers from the Inuvialuit tribe danced for their royal guests.
Then local teenagers demonstrated their skills in Arctic sports including the Alaskan High Kick, which involves balancing on one hand and kicking a target, and the “airplane', a show of strength in which the contestants hold their bodies in a cross shape and are carried horizontally for as long as they can hold the position.
Although the Duke did not fancy his chances at the high kicking, he happily joined in a game of street hockey, or “shinny', taking penalty shots against the goalkeeper in a pause in the game taking place at the Somba K'e civic plaza, a recreation area overlooking Frame Lake.
They met the Yellowknife hockey team which claims to be the birthplace of the sport in Canada
The Duchess, wearing a cream linen three-quarter length sleeve dress by the Danish high street designer Malene Birger, told one of the players: 'I'm not used to the cameras, there are so many!'
The Duke, meanwhile, told his hosts the region 'is what Canada is all about' and thanked them in the local Dene dialect, saying 'Mahsi Cho' and in Inuvialuit, saying: 'Kay na nuck-puck.'
The vast Northwest Territories is bigger than France, Spain and Portugal combined, but has a population of just 43,759, smaller than that of Folkestone.
Around half of the entire population lives in the regional capital, Yellowknife, a diamond mining town that gets its name from the copper knives that were once carried by the native Chipewyan.
Kate declined the invitation to play 'shinny' because of her Bennett stilettos. The above the knee By Malene Birger dress may have had something to do with it too
Old and new: Kate chats with one of the Aboriginal people of Canada, left, while taking time out to chat with the crowds at Somba K'e Civic Plaza in Yellowknife
William and Kate follow a bagpiper as they arrive at the Somba K'e Civic Plaza in the Northwest Territories
The royal couple were also given the chance to participate in traditional Inuit and Dene games, which are used both for entertainment and to hone skills necessary for everyday survival in the harsh northern environment where it is winter 10 months of the year.
These included the Alaskan High Kick and the One Hand Reach in which athletes lift themselves off the floor on one arm and, while balancing, use their other hand to touch a target.
The highlight for the couple, however, was taking part in a street hockey game known locally as 'shinny', using a ball instead of the traditional ice hockey puck.
Their day in Yellowknife is a real mix of tradition and modernity with these residents dressed in traditional native clothing
While they were there the Duke and Duchess were presented with Aboriginal gifts to signify their 'mutual respect and affection' – a pair of platinum and diamond pave cufflinks featuring a polar bear for him and a similar brooch for her.
Later in the day the young royals were due to get a taste of the great outdoors – including some of its legendary great lakes - something aides said they had been 'extremely keen' to do.
They were due to take a float plane to picturesque Blachford Lake, set in an extraordinary landscape on the edge of the Tundra, where they will join young rangers for a campfire, before rowing themselves by canoe to a nearby island for a private BBQ.
Kate is beginning to get the hang of using a shovel as she plants a shrub, today, and while in Yellowknife the couple were presented with hockey Jerseys
Prince William playing road hockey in Yellowknife, NWT
Raw Video: Royal Couple in Northwest Territories