It’s no surprise with the Whitehorse climate that winter sports took the headlines in 2017 with athletes excelling on the world stage. Three Whitehorse cross-country skiers are on the national team including Dahria Beatty who stormed onto the world scene early this year.
Turning indoors, local hockey players made their mark both in the Yukon and on the national stage. The Yukon Rivermen new Tier 1 Bantam hockey team was formed to play in the BC Hockey regional zone program.
But the year’s biggest triumph was the Coy Cup victory for the Whitehorse Huskies on home ice. The Senior AA team took the title in their third season before disbanding and not returning for the 2017-18 season due to lack of players.
Below is only a few highlights of the 2017 sports year that was for Yukon athletes.
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.
Jon Solberg and his curling rink won the Yukon Championships on the last rock in the 10th end to represent the Yukon at the Brier in March. Team Solberg lost to Nova Scotia in the pre-qualifying final.
Cross-country skier Knute Johnsgaard helped make history for Canada at the end of the month capturing a bronze medal with his Canadian teammates in the men’s 4x7.5-kilometre relay at a world cup race in Sweden.
Alaskan Matt Hall won the 2017 Yukon Quest finishing in Fairbanks, Alaska in a time of 10 days, one hour and seven minutes. This was Hall’s fourth consecutive running, but his first victory beating previous champions Hugh Neff, Allen Moore and Brent Sass.
Sarah Koltun and her curling rink represented the Yukon at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. They were eliminated in the pre-qualifying tournament following losses to New Brunswick and Kerry Galusha’s rink from the Northwest Territories.
Swimmer Hannah Kingscote represented the Whitehorse Glacier Bears at the B.C. AAA Championships. Kingscote swam four personal-best times and broke a club record in the 100-metre backstroke.
Aidan Hupe captured two medals at the Cadet Biathlon Nationals winning a bronze in the junior boy’s sprint biathlon race and a silver in the junior boy’s mass start race. Hupe took home the most medals for Team North at the Games.
Special Olympics Yukon athletes took home four medals at the Special Olympics World Games in Austria at the end of the month. Tijana McCarthy and Mike Sumner won silver medals in the figure skating competition. Ernest Chua won gold in the 500-metre cross-country ski race.
On the first day of the month, the Whitehorse Huskies put a stamp on the Yukon sports scene winning the B.C. Senior AA Championship on home ice to lift the Coy Cup in front of a packed Takhini Arena crowd. In their third season since being revived, the Huskies completed their ultimate goal winning 7-4 in the final over the Kelowna Sparta.
Young snowboarder Ethan Davy won a silver at the boardercross nationals in the U-15 division, becoming the first Yukon snowboarder to land on the podium at a national championship.
Hockey player Dylan Cozens was called up to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL, after completing his season with the Yale Hockey Academy Lions, to play for the team in their playoff run. Cozens quickly had an impact for the team
tallying eight points in 12 post-season games – after playing only three regular season games for the team.
Success in volleyball struck early in the month with the Subzero U-14 boy’s team spiking to a bronze medal at the B.C. Provincial Championships. The team won all three of their pool games.
Two young gymnasts from the Polarettes club made history for the territory at the Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Manitoba. Emily King posted three top 10 results to capture ninth in the overall competition which is
the best all-around result for a Yukoner since 2004.
Skiers out of Cross Country Yukon continued to make a mark on the world stage with five athletes officially named to Canadian teams. Natalie Hynes qualified for the junior national team and Graham Nishikawa as a guide on the para-nordic national team. Three skiers were named to the senior national team: Emily Nishikawa, Dahria Beatty and Knute Johnsgaard – all who have met Olympic qualification standards and are waiting for the official nominations.
Thirteen-year-old Hunter Vincent represented the territory at the GoPro Mountain Games mid-June in Colorado. One of the youngest competitors, Vincent finished 26th out of 32 racers in the down river kayak sprint event.
Whitehorse runners took the spotlight crossing international borders to take top honours in both the Skagway Marathon and Half Marathon. David Eikelboom won the men’s long-distance race setting a new course record.
Yukoner Denise McHale won the women’s marathon also in course record time.
The milestone year continued for Dylan Cozens following the hockey season. After just turning 16, Cozens got the call to attend the Hockey Canada U-17 Development Camp.
Yukon Wild Adventures won the 19th annual Yukon River Quest in the fastest winning time in the past four years of the event.
Whitehorse hosted the Men’s World Softball Championships throughout the month. The defending champion Canadians finished the round-robin undefeated, the only team to do so but lost in the playoffs in a back-and-forth
12-11 game against the eventual champions from New Zealand. Canada finished with the bronze medal.
The Yukon swim team led the charge at the North American Indigenous Games taking home 18 medals in Toronto.
Overall, the Yukon finished the games with 24 medals: five gold, eight silver and 11 bronze.
More than 100 athletes represented the territory at the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg. The women’s soccer team picked up an historic 10th place finish – the best ever for the team at the Games.
Siblings Mael and Luanda Pronovost captured a combined 13 medals at the canoe Slalom National Championships in Ottawa. The duo won gold in the junior mixed C-2 race.
Leif Blake won four medals at the Canadian orienteering championships in Perth, Ont. in the middle of the month. He won the middle and long-distance races, taking the silver in the sprint and bronze in the team relay.
Yukon hockey player Angela Burke was selected by the Calgary Inferno in the 11th round of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League draft.
The Yukon Rivermen, the new Bantam Tier 1 hockey team announced in June, held tryouts for the team and continued growing the roster in preparation for their inaugural season in the BC Hockey zone program.
Julianne Girouard won a silver medal for the Yukon at the B.C. Flatwater Championships in the U-13 girl’s K-1 200-metre race. Rogan Parry took the bronze in the U-12 boy’s K-1 200-metre race.
Three Yukon Selects soccer clubs represented the territory at the Canadian soccer club championships. Both the U-15 girl’s and boy’s teams won their final seeding match to finish 11th out of the 12 teams. The girl’s team beat the Northwest Territories 2-0.
Dawson City runner Jack Amos, who moved down to B.C. this year to advance his running training, won gold at the B.C. Cross-Country Championships for the second straight year. This year, Amos won the youth boy’s race in a sprint
finish by only one second.
The Yukon Rivermen opened their inaugural season at home in a three-game series against the Thompson Jr. Blazers. The Rivermen lost all three games in their opening series in tight affairs.
The defending Coy Cup champion Whitehorse Huskies announced they will not be returning in the Senior AA league for the 2017-18 season due to a lack of players after several players made the decision to leave the team.
Dylan Cozens was named to Team Canada for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in B.C. Playing for Canada Red, Cozens won a silver medal falling to the United States. Cozens finished with seven points tied for the team lead.
Mount Sima became a pre-season training destination for high-calibre athletes across the country including Canada’s Paralympic para-snowboard team and Olympic snowboarder Max Parrot. The territory also hosted the first Canada
Cup freestyle skiing event of the season.
The three Yukon skiers on the national team began their Olympic season with World Cup races in Europe. In the first race of the season in Finland, Beatty placed 64th in the sprint classic with Nishikawa the second Canadian behind her in 74th.
Two Yukon peewee hockey teams were chosen to represent the territory at the Bell Capital Cup hockey tournament in Ottawa. The two house league teams are playing in the Canada 150 division and were scheduled to play on the outdoor rink at Parliament Hill before frigid temperatures moved all games indoors.