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Prince William and Kate wrap up their trip to Yellowknife

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive for an official welcome ceremony at the Somba K'e Civic Plaza on July 5, 2011 in Yellowknife, Canada.

Chris Jackson/Chris Jackson / Getty Images

The fawning crowd gathered in the Northwest Territories didn't need any more reason to love the royals, but got one anyhow - the Prince spoke in two aboriginal languages.

In a speech in Yellowknife, the Prince praised the beauty and spirit of the territory.

"It's great to be north of 60," he said, to cheers.

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The crowd really erupted, however, when he ended his speech with " Mahsi Cho" and " Quyanainni," the Dene and Inuvialuktun words for "thank you." He was then drowned out entirely by cheering.

Dene is spoken throughout the territory, including in and around Yellowknife, while Inuvialuktun is a language with three dialects spoken by the Inuvialuit along the northern coast, including in Inuvik, the Premier's home town.

"Catherine and I are deeply honoured. We have been here 12 hours and we've already sensed the extraordinary potential of this region," the Prince said. Premier Floyd Roland welcomed the couple on their first visit to the territory, one visited by the Queen in 1994 and Prince Charles in 1979.

"During your visit, I hope you will feel welcome, not just to observe our territory but to experience it," Mr. Roland said.

Just before 1 p.m., the royals were presented with Team Canada hockey jerseys, each with "Cambridge" on the back. Kate got number 1, Will number 2.

Afterward, the Prince took three shots on 20-year-old goalie Calvin Lomen from Fort Liard, NWT. The first hit the glove, the second the stick and the third went wide - a shutout.

"I have (shut him out), and I'm sorry," Mr. Lomen laughed. "It's a story to tell my community. It's quite an honour to meet the Prince too, and his wife, Katie."

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The prince's skill was more than the young hockey player expected.

"It was quite surprising," he said, adding: "I'm pretty sure he knew what he was doing. I heard him say he doesn't know how to play, but it seems like he has a natural talent - if he practices more."

Afterward, the Duchess dropped the ceremonial first ball in the road hockey game. As is customary in ceremonial faceoffs, the young players tapped their stick, picked up the ball and went to shake Kate's hand.

The Duchess was surprised. "It's mine?" she asked the player, 16-year-old Yellowknife resident Gloria Francis, one of the team captains. "You don't start?"

Laughing, the Duchess had the players do another faceoff, and start playing immediately.

"I wasn't sure if we were allowed to play around her," the young Ms. Francis said afterwards, calling it a once-in-a-lifetime moment. "I was nervous. It was good. I practiced a lot what I had to say."

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The Duchess wore a cream-coloured linen dress with a three-quarter-length sleeve by Malene Birger, with a matching purse and nude heels. It was fashionable but not particularly functional, preventing the former field hockey player from shots on the young goalie.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are also set to watch aboriginal drumming and dancing, sports and gambling games on Tuesday afternoon. After, they are to take a float plane to a remote lodge.

Crowds in Yellowknife, a city of about 20,000, were smaller than at other stops, about three people deep along much of the fence line for the royals' arrival just before noon local time.

"In Yellowknife, if it starts at 8, that's when people leave their houses," joked Mayor Gordon Van Tighem.

Kirsten Kocik, 24, took the day off work and arrived early with a sign bearing her phone number and a message: "I can still marry Harry."

"I'm hoping that Kate and Will will come over and talk to me, and hopefully pass on my number to their brother, his brother," Ms. Kocik said, laughing. "Hoping it puts a smile on his face. He (Harry) needs some attention. It's only been Will and Kate lately."

Earlier on Tuesday, the couple added a stop in fire-ravaged Slave Lake to their Canadian visit schedule.

Officials confirmed Tuesday that William and Kate would make the stop Wednesday, after leaving Yellowknife while en route to Calgary.

They'll meet with fire crews, community leaders and residents who lost their homes when a forest fire swept into the small central Alberta city on May 15.

"Certainly it was brought to our attention of the Royal Highnesses the devastation... and certainly it did not escape them that Slave Lake was on the flight path," said Kevin MacLeod, Canada's secretary to the Queen who is leading the tour organization effort.

The visit wasn't announced, so as to minimize its impact on the town's rebuilding effort. (Hundreds of journalists are covering tour, and thousands of people show up at each stop.) In his Canada Day address, Prince William expressed his support for relief workers in Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan - where flooding has been widespread - and in Alberta, the site of the fire. He also visited New Zealand in March, after earthquakes struck the city of Christchurch.

"With regard to Slave Lake, by virtue of the fact it is principally on the air path from Yellowknife to Calgary, it made sense. And they expressed a desire to go into Slave Lake and meet with the rescue workers, to meet with the families, and see first-hand the devastation that has affected that community, and hopefully wish them well as they go about reconstructing their lives and their community," Mr. MacLeod said.

"It wasn't a last-minute decision. It's something they've been thinking about for a while. Certainly, we were consulted. But their overriding concern was they did not, if it were going to go forward, they did not want a public announcement early on for fear that it would somehow detract from those people who are now putting in place all the reconstruction efforts."

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach will join the royal couple in Slave Lake on Wednesday. The town is named for its closest body of water, Lesser Slave Lake. About 1,000 kilometres north, Yellowknife lies on the shores of Great Slave Lake.

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