Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for December 31, 2013

Moore’s Quest win caps exciting year in sports

In a territory dominated by cold conditions and the snowy tundra, it is fitting that winter sports dominated the headlines in 2013.

By Marcel Vander Wier on December 31, 2013 at 2:11 pm

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

SCENIC TRAVELLING – Yukon Quest musher Allen Moore mushes his team down the Yukon River near Carmacks Feb. 3. Moore went on to win the 30th annual Quest, turning the tables on 2012 winner Hugh Neff (top). A WARM WELCOME – Para-athlete Jessica Frotten holds her three bronze medals earned at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que. upon her arrival at Whitehorse airport Aug. 20.

In a territory dominated by cold conditions and the snowy tundra, it is fitting that winter sports dominated the headlines in 2013.

Athletes in sports like cross-country skiing, curling, hockey and mushing earned the Yukon high praise locally and abroad.

The following is a summary of local sports highlights in 2013’s year in review.


JANUARY


Fittingly, the Yukon’s two international athletes of the year took the first major headline of the year with gold-medal wins on the NorAm ski circuit. Coming off breakthrough performances at the World Cup races in Canmore, Alta., ski siblings Graham and Emily Nishikawa won gold medals in races held in Thunder Bay, Ont. They would add much more hardware to their personal trophy cases over the rest of the season.

Team Austria’s Renate Reingruber and Andreas Leiter won the 2013 Fulda Challenge, a six-day event that sees celebrities and athletes from across Europe brave the Yukon’s winter elements.


FEBRUARY


Sixteen-year-old Special Olympic figure skater Michael Sumner took home a silver medal at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

After losing by just 26 seconds to Hugh Neff in the 2012 Yukon Quest, 55-year-old Allen Moore from Two Rivers, Alaska won the 30th annual Yukon Quest Feb. 11, besting his rival by one hour, 16 minutes.

Sarah Koltun’s longtime junior women’s curling rink lost a heartbreaker to Ontario in a tiebreaker to determine which of the two rinks would make the playoffs at the junior nationals in Fort McMurray, Alta. The fate of Koltun’s rink laid in the hands of Ontario when rival skip Jamie Sinclair took out Koltun’s shot rock with her last stone in the 10th end. Team Koltun was later named Sport Yukon’s Team of the Year.

Whitehorse skip Thomas Scoffin led Alberta to a silver medal at the same tournament, while Mitch Young won gold in the inaugural mixed doubles exhibition event.


MARCH


Local mushers Michelle Phillips and Gerry Willomitzer took part in the Iditarod. While Willomitzer was forced to withdraw after losing a dog, Phillips finished 24th overall as top Canadian.

The Deer River Slashers were repeat champions at the 36th annual Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. Many consider the tournament to be “the hockey event of the year.”


APRIL


After an outstanding week at the Haywood Ski Nationals in Whistler, B.C., the Yukon ski team took home a fourth-place finish in overall club aggregate standings. Seventeen Yukon skiers competed in
the various events.


MAY


Jessica Frotten, 25, blazed onto the Yukon sports scene, winning five gold medals on the wheelchair track at the Dogwood Track and Field Meet in Victoria, B.C. Frotten would go on to win three bronze medals for Saskatchewan at the Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., the only Yukon native to win medals.

Two prominent athletes announced their retirement in May, with XC skier David Greer and swimmer MacKenzie Downing calling it quits. XC skier Janelle Greer and high-profile swimmer Alexandra Gabor would also announce their retirements in 2013.


JUNE


The 240-km Kluane Chilkat bike relay was decided in Haines, AK by half a wheel – the closest finish in the race’s 21-year history. Whitehorse cyclist David Gonda edged defending solo champion Brett Boniface by less than a second, with an overall time of 5:57:21. Gonda paired with Jonah Clark to form team Icycle in the two-man category.

Watson Lake-born cyclist Zach Bell won the 2013 Canadian Road Championships Men’s Elite road race in St. Georges, Que. – another photo finish. Bell, 30, would go on to win the 2013 Canadian Track Championship, held in Dieppe, N.B. in September.


JULY


Faro’s Tim Lynch and his Nova Scotian teammate Dave Lewis were the big winners of the 15th annual Yukon River Quest. Team 19 ‘Round Side Down’ was the first to reach Dawson City in a time of 45:02.

Two Dustball dynasties won the prestigious softball tournament once again. The P&M Recycling Guns, and the P&M Recycled Sistas won their respective A-level championships.

Swim coach Stephanie Dixon was named to the 2013 Canadian Disability Hall of Fame class alongside local polio activist Ramesh Ferris. The duo becomes the first Yukoners to enter the hall of fame, which opened its doors in 1994.


AUGUST


Erin Light, 26, finished 27th out of 44 women at the 2013 Reebok CrossFit Games held in Carson, Calif. with a top score of ninth in the ‘Clean and Jerk’ event.

The Yukon did not win a medal at the Canada Summer Games, but did record a series of historical firsts, including the first win over a province in men’s volleyball action and the first A final for a track athlete, Logan Roots.


SEPTEMBER


Team Scarecrow dominated the Klondike Trail of ‘98 International Road Relay on their way to a fourth straight victory, winning the 31st-annual race in a time of 11:12:24.

In partnership with Sport Yukon, the Yukon government launched a pilot project at F.H. Collins geared toward students who are motivated to pursue both sport and academics. Yukon weightlifter Jeane Lassen was named physical literacy coordinator for the program.

Team Canada, featuring Whitehorse native Aidan Love, settled for sixth place after losing 67-38 to Iran at the World Junior Wheelchair Basketball Championships in Turkey.

The Quad City Mallards, a minor league hockey team in Illinois, signed Whitehorse forward Jordan Lane to a contract. Lane is the only Yukoner currently playing professional hockey.


OCTOBER


Softball Yukon won the hosting rights for the 2017 International Softball Federation (ISF) Senior Men’s World Championship. The latest coup marks the fourth ISF championship bid won by Softball Yukon executive director George Arcand.


NOVEMBER


Whitehorse native Jackie Harrison donned the University of Victoria Vikes jersey for the last time, winning a bronze medal in the Canada West championships. The Vikes beat the UBC Thunderbirds 3-1 in penalty kicks, with Harrison scoring one of her team’s three goals in the shootout.

Former Olympian Alain Masson was inducted into the Yukon Sport Hall of Fame. Masson, 52, is the Yukon’s cross-country ski coach.

Pat Paslawski and Nicole Baldwin’s curling rinks were handed semifinal losses by their Saskatchewan rivals, bringing an end to their cinderella runs at the national amateur curling championships in Thunder Bay, Ont.


DECEMBER


The founding father of cross-country skiing in the Yukon died on Dec. 2. Father Jean-Marie Mouchet was 96. Mouchet had spent the last few months in hospital battling injuries he suffered during a fall in his Whitehorse apartment. Mouchet is widely recognized for his contributions to cross-country skiing in the North, after founding the TEST program in 1955.

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