Yukon North Of Ordinary

Sports archive for September 10, 2013

‘Surprise move’ leaves hockey players in school quandary

A group of midget hockey players from the Yukon were hit with a surprise roadblock in their quest to make the Northeast B.C. and Yukon Midget Trackers this season.

By Marcel Vander Wier on September 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm

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Photo submitted

TRACKER HOPEFULS – Five Yukon players attended the final camp for the Northeast B.C. Yukon Regional Midget Trackers last week. At back from left are Alex Hanson, Jarrett Malchow, Wyatt Gale and Bohdi Elias. In front is goalie Josh Tetlichi.

A group of midget hockey players from the Yukon were hit with a surprise roadblock in their quest to make the Northeast B.C. and Yukon Midget Trackers this season.

During the final training camp last week, the boys were told they would be unable to attend school, unless they paid out-of-province fees.

Bohdi Elias, Alex Hanson, Wyatt Gale, Jarrett Malchow, and Josh Tetlichi all attended the camp.

Trackers general manager Brant Leer told the Star that the out-of-province policy came as a surprise to the regional team, which is based out of Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.

“Last year, a number of out-of-province students were audited and the money was taken from our local school board and not granted from the B.C. government because they were not local residents,” Leer said.

The school board “basically had to eat the cost” of three Yukon players who played for the Trackers last year, said Leer. He said the team was not notified of the change until last week.

“Bottom line is, our players weren’t able to register (for school this year). We’ve appealed it in a few manners,” Leer said. “We’re just a small piece of the puzzle. After speaking with School District No. 59, unless there’s a reciprocal agreement with the Yukon government to cover tuition costs for those families, they won’t register them.”

Leer said while he’s “fairly optimistic” the situation will be resolved, the three players who made the club – Hanson, Gale, and Malchow – are not yet enrolled in school.

They continue to hold onto hope that they will be able to enroll at South Peace Senior Secondary School in Dawson Creek.

Richard Powell, chair of the board of trustees for School District 59 Peace River South, said the government audit discovered that the district had lost approximately $100,000 due to out-of-province students.

“That’s a fairly significant loss of funds for us,” Powell said. “It wasn’t just the kids playing hockey. We had kids from across the border in Alberta.”

Powell said School District 59 does have an articulation agreement with one Alberta school board that sees funds transferred between provinces for students attending school in Peace River South. He estimated that money transfer to be $10,000 per student.

That type of agreement currently does not exist between B.C. and the Yukon, but the two parties are attempting to work something out.

“Since it’s became known, legally, we can’t bend the law to have kids attend school,” Powell said. “That would be inappropriate. That would be like the Senate scandal that’s going on. But I’d like to see it work out so that kids could come and play.”

Yukon Education Minister Elaine Taylor told the Star she has requested an exemption to allow the players to attend school in B.C. this season.

“For us, it’s a bit of a complex issue, but it is one that we’re taking seriously,” she said. “It’s one that we’re trying to work pretty hard and pretty expeditiously at to try and find an interim solution.”

Taylor said the quandary was sprung upon her department last week.

“I appreciate the anxiety and frustration that this surprise move has created for everybody,” she said. “This is an exceptional circumstance because there was a sheer lack of notice and lack of communication. For us to start looking at a policy to fund access to hockey programs outside of the Yukon, it could lead to access to other things as well.”

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