Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Dustin Cook

TEAM YUKON – The PNW Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association team is seen in action Monday night against Heat Yukon. PNW will represent the territory at the Bell Capital Cup in Ottawa and play on Parliament Hill.

Peewee teams to represent Yukon in Ottawa

Playing hockey on Parliament Hill in front of a massive crowd as Canada’s 150th anniversary year comes to a close sounds like a dream.

By Dustin Cook on December 21, 2017

Playing hockey on Parliament Hill in front of a massive crowd as Canada’s 150th anniversary year comes to a close sounds like a dream. But it will soon be a reality for two Yukon peewee hockey teams who were chosen to represent the territory in the Bell Capital Cup tournament in a special Canada 150 division.

This year’s annual ice hockey tournament in Ottawa will feature a 16-team peewee house league division for both boys and girls with teams selected to represent specific regions across the country.

Through a Hockey on the Hill contest, teams had to put together a video and a 250 word response as to why their teams should be chosen for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Team PNW from Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association was chosen on the boy’s side and coach Pat Tobler put a peewee-aged girls team together specifically for the opportunity.

Tobler is the female hockey co-ordinator for both Whitehorse Minor and Hockey Yukon and facilitates weekly ice time for young female players who just want to come out and have fun rather than play in a league.

In order to get enough players for this modified team, Tobler said they put the word out to the communities and received a great response with five players on the 16-member team coming from outside Whitehorse.

“Once I heard about the contest and rules I knew right away we didn’t have enough peewee-aged girls in town and it was a great opportunity to offer it up to girls from across the territory,” Tobler said.

Now with a full roster, the team needed a name – which came from Tobler’s daughter – and the Yukon North Stars girl’s hockey team was formed.

Tobler is also a coach with PNW who his daughter plays for in the house league division, but jumped at the chance to get a girl’s team together to play.

Two girls on PNW will travel with their teammates but jump to play for the girl’s team along with many other peewee-aged girls in the house league division.

Mike Nemeth, coach for PNW, said an email was sent out by the league president about the contest and along with Tobler, he decided to enter the contest realizing the great odds due to the small population of teams.

“I brought a camcorder to practice for the kids to goof off in front of the camera,” Nemeth said. “I’m definitely no Hollywood producer, probably the last time I did that was in high school.”

After sending off the videos, Nemeth said he received a call from the Ottawa Senators notifying him the team had been chosen.

Nemeth said their team may have been the only one on the boy’s side to enter the contest in the Yukon, and Tobler’s girls team was the only entry for the territory.

“We might have been the only one who did it, all the coaches got the email,” Nemeth said. “Video editing is a little intimidating.”

But that doesn’t take away from the experience they will have in Ottawa.

The teams will play in a three-game round-robin tournament with the potential for playoffs and each team will play one round-robin game on the outdoor rink in front of Parliament.

Nemeth said the team is very excited to have this chance to represent the territory and play in such a significant tournament.

“When I told them I think they thought I was joking or pulling a prank on them, we were helping out at the food bank when I told them,” he said.

The North Stars will play their first game of the tournament Dec. 28 on the outdoor rink against a house league team from Quebec.

“The reaction has been great. The kids are tremendously excited, just going on a trip together as a girl’s team is truly unique and special. But when you add in the fact that it’s a tournament to celebrate Canada 150, an outdoor rink on Parliament Hill, the girls’ minds will just be blown – I don’t think it’s sunk in how big and special this event is,” Tobler said.

The teams will be flying down together on Dec. 27 with Air North.Both coaches said the airline has added flights direct from Yellowknife to Ottawa to take both the Yukon and Northwest Territories teams and families down for the tournament.

The house league tournament runs throughout Ottawa Dec. 28-31 and the teams will also be flying back on New Year’s Eve.

Adding to the exciting weekend of playing hockey in the nation’s capital, Tobler said the teams will also get a tour of the Parliament Building and a trip to an Ottawa Senators game.

Hockey during the holidays, representing the Yukon, and playing the game they love in front of Parliament Hill to honour the country’s 150th anniversary. As Nemeth said, “nothing more Canadian.”

Comments (2)

Up 0 Down 0

yukon56 on Dec 27, 2017 at 5:58 pm

Do not worry about the score. Do your best and enjoy the experience Good Luck

Up 1 Down 0

Bryan Pemberton on Dec 21, 2017 at 11:33 pm

What an opportunity, enjoy every moment of your visit to Parliament Hill. Show the nation your skills, bask in the glory of a once in a lifetime chance to be a star, make new friends, skate your hearts out but most of all enjoy your challenge, it's something you will remember for the rest of your life. Well done Yukon.

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