Whitehorse Daily Star

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SOFTBALL YUKON LEGEND – Former Softball Yukon executive director George Arcand speaks at the Men’s World Softball Championship July 7, 2017 in Whitehorse.

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POUNDING AWAY – New Softball Yukon executive director Sarah Walz hammers in a base during a softball tourna- ment at Whitehorse in June 2022.

Sarah Walz settles into new role as Softball Yukon executive director

Sarah Walz is settling into her new role as Softball Yukon executive director.

By Morris Prokop on September 14, 2022

Sarah Walz is settling into her new role as Softball Yukon executive director.

Her first day was officially Sep. 1.

Needless to say, she has big cleats to fill following the departure of former ED George Arcand.

“Yeah, definitely,” agreed Walz. “George has put a lifetime into this, Softball Yukon, so the expectations are pretty high but I’m excited to get going and bring some new ideas and kind of build on the great foundation that we already have. It’s nice being able to walk into an organization that’s already very well established.”

“I’m sure George and I will stay in touch, for sure. There’s gonna be things that come up that we missed in our transition phase. Particularly, right now, I’m taking on the bingo side of things ... I’ve been involved in bingo ever since I’ve been working here but I know a lot more about softball than I do about bingo.

“It’s no small undertaking. George has definitely put a lot of time and energy into building radio bingo into what it is. We kind of joked that we have pretty much two seasons: bingo and softball.”

According to a Sport Yukon press release, Walz brings more than 10 years of professional sport experience to her new role.

“Sarah has demonstrated her capacity to plan, develop, and deliver high-performance and recreation programs and contribute to the overall development of Softball Yukon and our members,” said Arcand. “Softball Yukon will be in good hands with Sarah at the helm.”

Walz added “I’ve been with Softball Yukon now for, I think, almost four seasons and working closely with George, so I was kind of aware that he was going to be retiring some time soon, so not a total surprise, but I did have to apply on the job and compete against whoever else applied, so it was a happy moment when I knew I actually got the job.”

In her new role, Walz will oversee the association’s programs, operations, sport development, and facilities.

“My first order of business is ... backfilling my position, so getting a new program coordinator and getting bingo going because we had our first bingo on the 9th and now we’re basically every Friday into the Fall, so we changed gears heavily from softball to bingo for my first week,” related Walz.

As for what changes we should expect to see at Softball Yukon, Walz said “Part of my time as program coordinator, I’ve been really dedicated to our youth programs and we’ve got them going in a really good direction, so I would like to see that continue and maybe into different program areas that we haven’t in the past but also just continuing all the good things we have.

“We’ve got great membership numbers in our leagues. And beyond that, I would also like us to start engaging more with the communities and acting more as a territory-wide umbrella instead of focusing solely on Whitehorse but really just kind of carrying on what we’re doing.”

Walz added that she’s “super excited to take on this new opportunity and I think Softball Yukon is headed for some awesome growth opportunities and I look forward to seeing what we can put in place next season.”

Arcand had been involved in the softball scene in the Yukon for several decades. He began as a player in 1969, and was a coach and volunteer board member in the 70s and 80s.

He was inducted into the Yukon Sport Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in 2007. Other national recognition includes the Community Service Prestige Award from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance and the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Of Arcand’s many accomplishments, the Pepsi Centre in Whitehorse is one he takes great pride in.

“That’s one thing I’ve had a pretty big stake in, that complex,” said Arcand. “Everyone likes to have a legacy to leave behind and I guess that’s part of mine. It’s certainly a positive thing.”

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