Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Morris Prokop

TYING GOAL – Porkchops captain Kyle Bowers, along with goalie Logan Freese, Erin Lamb (18), Trevor Hanna (on knees) and Sports Experts' Annette Kenyon (right) watch the tying goal go into the net during their semi-final game of the Bob Park Icebreaker tourney against Sports Experts at Takhini Arena in Whitehorse Nov. 18.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

ALL WOUND UP – Sports Experts' Dave Stehelin winds up for a shot at Porkchops goalie Logan Freeze. Porkchops captain Kyle Bowers (centre) and Erin Lamb (18), and Sports Experts' Kyle Lowes (behind Bowers) and Annette Kenyon (far right) look on.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

EYE ON THE BALL – The Ridge's goalie James McGrath focuses on the ball while Yukon Built Wookies' Justin Saunders watches.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

TO THE NET – The Wookies' Peter Jensen fires the ball at the net while Ridge goalie James McGrath attempts a save.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

MAD SCRAMBLE – The Wookies execute the 'Flesh Mountain Defence'. Left to right: Ridge's Shane Tisiga (88) and Vanessa Brault (8), Wookies' Matt McDonald and Chad Knight (standing), Justin Saunders (on ice) and Ridge's Thomas Worry (17).

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Photo by Morris Prokop

PORKCHOPS CHAMPS – The Castle Mountain Farms Porkchops pose for a photo with their hard-fought-for Bob Park Icebreaker Opening Tournament trophy Nov. 18 at Takhini Arena.

Porkchops take a bite out of Bob Park broomball tournament

The Castle Mountain Farms Porkchops are Bob Park Icebreaker Opening Tournament broomball champions.

By Morris Prokop on November 28, 2023

The Castle Mountain Farms Porkchops are Bob Park Icebreaker Opening Tournament broomball champions.

Park died in August 2006 after a struggle with pancreatic cancer. The 46-year-old owned the Roadhouse and was a big part of the Whitehorse sports scene.

The teams played two 18-minute periods during the tournament.

In the first semi-final on Saturday, the Porkchops downed Sports Experts 3-1.

The Porkchops led 1-0 after the first period.

The Sports Experts goalie, Tomas Tokic, kept them in the game with several great saves.

The Porkchops took numerous penalties, which finally came back to haunt them with less than three minutes left in the game, as Sports Experts tied it up 1-1.

However, the Chops came right back with the winner with 1:20 left in the game.

They added an empty-netter with 49 seconds left to ice the win, 3-1.

The Star spoke with Porkchops captain Kyle Bowers after the game.

"That was great. It was a little tense there for a second. It was a nice insurance goal at the end."

Bowers said the tying goal was a little deflating.

"You could feel your heart sink a little bit because it is the dying minutes and it's kind of like, 'OK, I hope we haven't lost our momentum and they've gained momentum here', but we were able to shut 'em down."

When asked about the key to victory, Bowers replied, "It's just been great team chemistry and the passing. We've been able to put a couple things together and score some goals."

The Porkchops are not in the Yukon Broomball league. They only play in tournaments.

"It's just a tournament team I put together, just with friends and stuff," explained Bowers. "There's two tournaments a year, the opening tournament here and then one at Haines Junction at the end of March usually.

"This is our second tournament as a team. We did the Haines Junction one last year."

In-between the two semifinals, Melanie Lachapelle, secretary of the Yukon Broomball Association, explained the concept behind the tourney.

'At this time of year, it's not always cold outside, enough to have our own rink flooded with water to have ice.

Therefore, we do a tournament, usually mid-November, just to start the season, get everybody together, newcomers or whoever wants to play.

"It's just a more fun thing. Games are shorter, there's multiple games, and people just hang out and they go afterwards and watch the games."

Lachapelle said the tourney features "good camaraderie, no fighting, people having a good time, I think, not too many injuries so far."

The league has been in existence since 1984.

When asked what the appeal of broomball is, Lachapelle replied, "It's different, it's not the traditional hockey but it's similar rules to hockey. You just work different fitness in your lungs, because you're running on ice. And you're testing all your little core muscles and all the other muscles in your body that you don't think you have sometimes.

"And doing something outdoors, other than skiing and other things."

Lachapelle added that broomball is a speed-endurance game.

"If you have a deep bench, you can do quick runs and then get off and switch off with somebody else."

The second semi-final featured The Ridge against the Yukon Built Wookies.

The Wookies came out strong and dominated the early going but Ridge goalie James McGrath held down the fort.

The Wookies eventually opened the scoring with about 5:35 left in the first. They took the 1-0 lead into the intermission.

The Ridge, still down 1-0 with 3:13 left in the game, called a timeout and pulled their goalie, resulting in numerous good scoring chances. However, the Wookies prevailed 1-0.

The Star spoke with the Wookies' Chad Knight after the game.

"It was a fun game. They're a good team. They've got some good players up front.

"We played good up and down our lineup."

When asked what the key to victory for his team was, Knight responded, "Relentless effort on our part. We just forecheck, forecheck, forecheck and we're a lot to handle. We tire teams out"

Knight agreed that his side dominated the game.

"Felt like it, for the most part. Their tendy (goaltender) played well. Stopped everything."

Knight acknowledged that it was a little tense at the end of the game.

"They made a good late push there. There was some (balls) rolling across the crease and they came close, but we held on."

Knight added the Porkchops were the team to beat.

"They've got Gabe (Nadon) and he's a fantastic player. And they're all quite a bit younger. Younger legs than us. And then we play right away, so they'll have somewhat of a rest on us, but we've been relentless this whole tournament, so I think we'll be able to keep it up."

Regarding the final, Porkchops captain Bowers said, "We're just gonna have to approach it like every game. We play a passing and possession game, so we'll just stick to what we know and hopefully it works out for us."

Apparently it did, as the Porkchops skewered the Wookies 3-0 in the final.

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