Haines Junction swaps used zamboni for 40 sockeye salmon

This 4th of July, Haines Junction Mayor Mike Crawshay drove a second-hand zamboni in the annual parade in Haines, Alaska.

This 4th of July, Haines Junction Mayor Mike Crawshay drove a second-hand zamboni in the annual parade in Haines, Alaska.

Donning a sparkly silver jacket, the mayor was flanked by ice princesses and a hockey player who knocked candy into the crowd with a hockey stick.

“There’s not a lot of stuff that mayors get to do that’s just for fun and this is it. This is the most fun I’ve ever had being on council.”

It was a stylish delivery. Haines had paid for the zamboni in full – with about 300 servings of Alaskan sockeye salmon.

It was about as northern a swap as you will ever find. Instead of buying what they needed, the two communities – about 240 km apart – decided on a trade just in time for holidays on either sides of the border.

Haines needed the ice resurfacing machine, said the borough’s director of tourism, Leslie Ross.

“We have an outdoor rink and an ever-growing group that are playing hockey and recreational skating that are looking to have a larger rink,” she said.

“There’s been talk going on about trying to raise funding to have a indoor rink or a larger rink.”

Right now a volunteer group – mainly the local hockey club – is responsible for shoveling off the rink and putting water down.

The zamboni – actually an Olympia brand machine – will mean a higher quality ice surface, she said.

Talks about giving Haines a spare machine began years ago, said Crawshay. He originally promised one of Haines Junction’s old ones before realizing it wasn’t available to be given away.

Things worked out better this year when Crawshay got a call from Mount Lorne.

A former resident of Haines Junction told the mayor that Mount Lorne had received funding for a new zamboni of their own, so they had an old one to spare.

Mount Lorne had bought the machine from the City of Whitehorse in 1992 for $1.

Haines Junction bought the zamboni from Mount Lorne for 50 cents.

After a small repair to the door of the hopper that holds chips shaved off the ice, Crawshay said the machine is in good working order.

On Canada Day, Haines’ mayor, Jan Hill, visited the Junction to pay up with sockeye salmon for everyone.

Crawshay estimates they were able to serve about 300 people with 40 sockeye at the barbecue.

A local Haines fisherman, paid by the chamber of commerce, caught the fish. The borough paid the cost of processing the catch.

“It was just a huge community event. Everybody chipped in to make it happen and everybody was just tickled,” Crawshay said.

The zamboni has a plaque that reads: “From the Yukon communities of Haines Junction and Mount Lorne to Haines Alaska July 1 and July 4, 2015.”

The Chilkat Valley Dancers from Haines and Champagne and Aishihik’s Dakwakada Dancers were at both events.

“They did a traditional exchange where the Tlingit asked permission to come in to the Champagne Aishihik territory and they did a dance back and forth and then ended up dancing together as they welcomed them,” Ross said.

A similar dance was done on Independence Day.

The swapping of goods is a tradition that goes back long before there was a Haines Junction and a Haines, Alaska, Crawshay said. “We’re continuing that tradition in the form of salmon and a zamboni.”

There are already talks of doing it again – maybe next year with a Yukon bison to swap.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

A cyclist rides along the Millenium Trail in downtown Whitehorse on a frigid Feb. 9. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of an e-bike bylaw that would designate how e-bike riders can use city trails. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
First two readings passed on Whitehorse e-bike bylaw

Delegate calls on city to consider age restrictions and further regulations

Whitehorse City Hall at its Steele Street entrance. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Change of plans approved for city hall

Project would see 1966 city hall demolished

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Most Read