Young ladies of the Yukon women’s hockey team, please accept our apologies. This paper never intended to mock your tenacious performance at the Canada Games this week.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
Your grit and determination in Halifax, competing against older, far more experienced players from far bigger cities has been an inspiration to people across the territory. And the country.
It embodied, in the words of our cartoonist, “the true sourdough spirit.”
In game after game, you hit the ice and took on the nation’s best in the nation’s game.
You faced adversity. And, despite the overwhelming odds, you never gave up.
Goalie Jocelyn Wynnyk faced a fusillade of pucks – more than any goalie has a right to expect. It must have been overwhelming. Yet, despite this, she laced up her skates, took to the crease and faced down her opponents again. And again. And again.
“It’s not the easiest thing to go out there and take on these big teams,” she told our reporter Tom Patrick in Halifax. “But it’s all about having fun.”
That takes guts and chutzpah. It’s something we wanted to recognize, not mock.
Her teammates matched the unassailable effort.
And it is that type of effort that prompted us to send a team to the Canada Games in the first place. There, Patrick and Ian Stewart have chronicled, through thousands of words and hundreds of photographs, our young athlete’s triumphs and, sometimes, bitter defeats.
It has been an amazing couple of weeks for this little territory. Something we are proud to have been a part of.
Stories like Bryn Hoffman, 13, who landed an axel and a combination double-flip double toe for sixth-place in the pre-novice short program.
There was Team Scoffin’s heartbreaking last-rock loss to BC in curling on Wednesday.
And Team Yukon’s boys’ hockey team defeating Newfoundland, the first time a territory has bettered a province in the Games’ 44-year history.
Or the Marcotte sisters’ awesome gold-medal performance in the team women’s air pistol event.
In all, more than 110 athletes are standing their ground against seasoned athletes from far larger jurisdictions.
And we’re winning. Even when the scoreboard doesn’t show it.
Never was this clearer than when, in the dying seconds of the game against hometown Nova Scotia, Dana van Vliet surprised the nation and slipped the puck into the net, scoring the beleaguered territorial team’s first goal of the tourney.
The entire Halifax Metro Centre stadium erupted in applause – it was so loud, some thought Halifax had just won the game.
In fact, the territory had.
It was a triumph. One of our greatest moments of the Games.
Certainly not something we here at the Yukon News would mock.
Which is why we ask your forgiveness.
We realize now our attempt to pay homage to your indefatigable courage on Wednesday was clumsy.
But believe us, it was sincere.