Whitehorse Daily Star

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CANADIAN CHAMPION – Rachel Pettitt, pictured in competition at the Skate Canada Challenge in Edmonton in December 2015, put Yukon figure skating on the map that year. Pettitt struck gold at the National Championships and the Canada Games. Photo courtesy of DANIELLE EARL/SKATE CANADA

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SEALS THE DEAL – Gavin McKenna of Canada celebrates his 6-4 empty net and hat trick goal during the 2024 IIHF ice hockey U18 World Championships final between the United States and Canada in Espoo, Finland, May 5. The goal clinched gold for Team Canada. Photo by JUSSI NUKARI/LEHTIKUVA VIA AP

Future looks bright with new wave of young Yukon athletes

We continue our look at the last 22 years of local sports in the Star.

By Morris Prokop on May 17, 2024

We continue our look at the last 22 years of local sports in the Star.

In 2015, Rachel Pettitt won the novice championship at the 2015 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Kingston, then became the first Yukon skater to win Canada Winter Games gold a month later in Prince George.

Brent Sass won his first Yukon Quest.

Biathlete Nadia Moser won three medals at the Canada Winter Games and two silvers at nationals.

Darby McIntyre won two gold at the Special Olympic B.C. Winter Games, then ran to a gold and bronze in the World Summer Games in L.A.

The Whitehorse Bantam Mustangs claimed an historic gold medal victory at the B.C. provincial hockey championships, winning gold after going 6-0.

Thomas Scoffin became a national champion with the University of Alberta Golden Bears.

The Whitehorse Curling Club hosted the 2015 Canadian Masters Curling Championship.

Jessica Frotten won five medals at the Dogwood meet in Victoria. She then won two bronze at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto.

Yukon orienteers earned 15 top-three finishes, including 11 golds, at the Canadian Orienteering Championships.

In 2016, the Arctic Winter Games boys basketball team claimed gold, while the girls team scored silver.

Table tennis staples Kevin Murphy and Les Johns were inducted into the Sport Yukon Hall of Fame.

David Eikelboom won the Arctic Ultra.

Hugh Neff won his second Yukon Quest.

The Yukon Special Olympics team won a record-setting eight medals.

The AWG team won 100 medals to finish second in the standings.

A record 431 cross-country skiers turned out for the Buckwheat Ski Classic at Log Cabin near Skagway.

Dylan Cozens became the first Yukon hockey player to be selected in the first round of the Western Hockey League (WHL) bantam draft.

Jessica Frotten won four medals at the national championships.

Whitehorse hosted the National Slopitch Championships at the Pepsi Softball Centre.

The Yukon Roller Girls returned in rousing roller derby fashion, hosting a home bout at the Whitehorse Curling Club against the Sea to Sky Sirens from B.C.

Mount Sima hosted the first national freestyle skiing event of the season.

In 2017, two Whitehorse cross-country skiers were named to the Canadian team, with Dahria Beatty making the U-23 team and Natalie Hynes named to the junior team.

Alaskan Matt Hall won the 2017 Yukon Quest.

The Whitehorse Huskies won the B.C. Senior AA Championship but didn’t return next season due to lack of players.

Three skiers were named to the senior national team – Emily Nishikawa, Dahria Beatty and KnuteJohnsgaard. They later represented Canada at the PyeongChang Olympics.

Whitehorse hosted the Men’s World Softball Championships.

Yukon finished the NAIG in Toronto with 24 medals.

Dylan Cozens was named to Team Canada for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in B.C.

Allen Moore won the 2018 Yukon Quest.

Graham Nishikawa represented Canada for the second time at the Paralympic Games as a ski guide for Brian McKeever, winning gold.

Yukon athletes returned home from the Arctic Winter Games with 122 ulus.

Dylan Cozens was named the rookie of the year in the Western Hockey League.

Former Blue Jays came to Whitehorse to provide a baseball development camp for the youth ball players.

263 paddlers from 15 different countries competed in the 20th Yukon River Quest.

The Yukon Special Olympics Athletes picked up 12 medals in Antigonish, N.S.

The North American Orienteering Championships were held in Whitehorse. The Canadian Orienteering Championships were held the week after in the capital city.

Kevin Martin returned to Whitehorse to run a curling clinic.

Yukon biathlete Nadia Moser captured a gold medal, her first in international competition, in Obertilliach, Austria.

In 2019, Eureka, Alaska musher Brent Sass won the Yukon Quest.

Cross country skier Natalie Hynes secured the Yukon its only medal at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.

Whitehorse hosted the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.

Emily King won a gold medal in the One-Foot High Kick at the Native Youth Olympics Games in Alaska.

Dylan Cozens became the first Yukoner drafted in the first round, seventh overall, by the Buffalo Sabres.

Christine Moser of the Lethbridge College Kodiaks was named the Alberta College Athletic Conference (ACAC) South Women’s Player of the Year.

2020 was marred by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Dylan Cozens won gold at the World Juniors.

The Yukon had its first Lego League qualifier.

Skiers Derek Deuling and Sasha Masson represented Canada at the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Brent Sass repeated as Yukon Quest champion.

The 2020 Arctic Winter Games were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

The Yukon Quest announced it was cancelling the 2021 race on the Yukon side.

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament was cancelled for the second year in a row due to COVID-19 concerns.

In 2021, Dylan Cozens had an outstanding 2021 World Junior tournament, leading Canada in scoring while winning silver.

Hans Gatt won the Yukon Journey, a 255-mile race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse.

The Yukon River Quest was cancelled on June 22 due to dangerous Yukon River flooding conditions.

The ‘Kinda Klondike’ Road Relay was held separately on both sides of the border.

Jessica Frotten participated in her first Paralympics at Tokyo 2020.

Sport Yukon named Dahria Beatty 2020 International Female Athlete of the Year.

In 2022, Yukon Quest Alaska ended its partnership with Yukon Quest International Association Canada.

Several records were set during the Yukon River Quest due to high, fast water levels, including the overall record.

Gavin McKenna became the first Yukoner selected first overall in the WHL draft, by the Medicine Hat Tigers.

Graham Nishikawa helped guide Brian McKeever sweep the Cross Country gold medals at the Paralympics in Beijing.

Jessica Frotten captured four gold medals at Nationals.

Yukoners had a very successful 55+ Games in Kamloops, winning 74 medals.

In 2023, Yukon finished first in the medal standings at the 2023 Arctic Winter Games.

Gavin McKenna scored the most points ever (29) at the Canada Games hockey tourney in P.E.I. McKenna also played for Team Red in P.E.I. at the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.

Michelle Philips won the Yukon Quest.

Dylan Cozens signed a $49.7 million contract extension.

The Yukon Native Hockey Tourney returned in record numbers.

Jessie Gladish won her second straight Montagne Yukon Arctic Ultra.

In 2024, Gavin McKenna won gold at the U18 World Championships and was named one of the top players at the tournament, setting a Canadian points record in the process.

Team Yukon won 162 ulus at the Arctic Winter Games in Alaska, finishing second behind the host country.

Special Olympics Yukon had their best-ever medal total (13) at the Canada Winter Games.

Michelle Phillips won the Yukon Quest for the second year in a row.

Biathlete Cheyenne Tirschmann and cross country skier Minty Bradford competed at the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympics in South Korea.

Sonjaa Schmidt won the 1.2 km Sprint at the U23 World Championships in Planica, Slovenia, becoming the first Canadian to achieve that feat.

Derek Deuling then won gold in the 4x5 Mixed Relay Classic/Free at the U23 World Champs.

The future looks bright with the new wave of young Yukon athletes.

Thank you for reading and supporting the Star over the years.

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