The Whitehorse Huskies will not be defending their Coy Cup title this season, not
having enough personnel to ice a team.
The Senior AA team that competed in the B.C senior hockey league for the last three
seasons lost roughly 13 players from last year’s roster, team president and general
manager Dan Johnson said in an interview this morning.
“We didn’t really foresee player recruitment being an issue year over year, but with
10-plus players saying they’re not available for this year we realized this is a very
unique age group,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of stuff happening in people’s lives
and priorities switch pretty quickly.”
The Huskies held open tryouts for the team, making frequent announcements on
their Facebook page, but Johnson said they were unable to find the talent and skill
to form a high-quality team similar to last season.
“The personnel we had and were seeing on the ice for the initial beginnings of the
season, we didn’t think that it was a match with what we had put forth last year,” he
Winning the Coy Cup on home ice in April was a massive accomplishment for the
team, Johnson said, and the core group of players worked very hard towards that
After the championship win, Johnson said the board of directors discussed if they
were going to continue and they decided to give it another try for the kids and the
People planned their Fridays and Saturdays to come to the games, Johnson said,
noting he has two young kids who were big Huskies fans and it was difficult to tell
them there wouldn’t be a team this year.
Leaving the league doesn’t have anything to do with financial sustainability and they
had the sponsors and funding required for the upcoming season, Johnson said.
“I want to make clear there was no financial or stability reasons for this, we were
financially viable in the black, full sponsorship behind us again. Everything was all
systems go,” he added.
Johnson said the Huskies program helped prove competitive hockey is viable in
Whitehorse and now it’s up to determining what type of hockey is the best option out
of Takhini Arena.
“Is it junior hockey? Is it senior hockey? What matches that venue, looking at this
more towards a junior hockey program with more stability in terms of player
personnel,” he said.
The decision to not ice a team this season was made as a collective Johnson said,
between the board, coaching staff and the players who were going to return.
Johnson said captain Evan Campbell called him last week to discuss the situation
and as much as he wanted to play, he agreed the team wasn’t in a good spot.
“There’s still a core group of guys with the fire and passion to do this but they can’t
do it on their own,” Johnson said. “For these guys, the clock had struck.”
Huskies players from the championship team who were not able to return include
Ted Stephens, Adam Henderson, Derek Klassen, Jared Tuton and Rob Warner.
Between the ages of 20-30, many of the players had other important priorities
Johnson noted, with some moving out of the Yukon and others facing new work and
But Johnson said this does not take away from the team’s three years leading up to
the historic success in winning the 2017 Coy Cup.
The team won a hard-fought battle 7-4 in front of a packed Takhini Arena against the
Kelowna Sparta. In the 2016-17 season, the team won 10 games, losing only three.
It isn’t out of the question for the team to return after a season hiatus or a few years
down the road, Johnson said, as they proved a competitive hockey program can be
“We’ve answered the whole operational question, well how does this look, that was
always the question,” he said.
The Huskies program dates back to 1992 when the team was founded as a AAA
senior team winning the national championship Allan Cup in 1993 before folding the
They returned in 2009 after a 16-year absence again playing AAA before moving to
the AA league for the 2014-15 season.
With many revivals throughout the years, Johnson said a future return is “always a
The 2017 Coy Cup victory will always remain a big moment for the players and the
city, whether or not there’s a team on the ice.