It was a busy weekend at the packed Canada Games Centre as two sports seasons came to a close. The Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association (WMHA) hosted their year-end tournament to finish the house league season.
At the same time, the Yukon Futsal Championships were underway down the hall – with some young athletes running back and forth participating in both.
A total of 27 teams in six divisions played in the final tournament of the season, which WMHA director of communications director Cleo Smith said is a way to wrap up the season in a fun way.
To fit all of the games in, the tournament started Wednesday and ran five days between the Canada Games Centre and Takhini Arena with the finals all taking place on Sunday.
Medals were awarded to the top three teams and Smith said consolation awards were also given to all teams in the younger divisions.
Although it is a year-end tournament for the Whitehorse league, Smith – who also serves as vice president of Hockey Yukon – said they do invite teams from other communities to come and participate, but that wasn’t able to come to fruition this year.
The tournament differs from the Hockey Yukon Championships for each respective division earlier in the season, Smith said. It is more of a celebration of the season and a final chance to share the ice with teammates.
“It’s a chance for them to say goodbye to their teams and then it’s done. Then their parents can wipe their brow and have a break till next season,” Smith said.
The medals weren’t the only way of being recognized during the tournament as individual players were recognized each game with the heart and hustle award, Smith said.
This award went to a player on each team every game as chosen by the coach.
“It focuses more on who really works hard on the ice, who has heart and shows good sportsmanship,” Smith said, noting the winners received a water bottle and then had their names entered into a draw for a larger prize.
Another element on display was Whitehorse Minor merchandise of hats and hoodies, which Smith said was recently ordered as they heard a significant interest from players.
“Whitehorse Minor wanted to give our kids the opportunity to show off, going down south and showing off that Whitehorse has hockey,” Smith said. “It’s good promotion that we have a good hockey program up here.”