If the soccer net that fell and killed five-year-old Jaedyn Amann was inspected by government workers during the three years that led up to the young Watson Lake girl’s death in July, no record of this work exists.
Email correspondence between territorial officials, obtained by the News through an access-to-information request, shows officials with the departments of Education and Public Works scrambling to find information on the nets following the fatal accident.
The territory did conduct an “education facility conditions assessment” in 2011. But that review makes “no mention of sports and playground equipment,” wrote Chic Callas, facilities project manager for Education.
Shelby Workman, director of facilities, confirmed that all of the documents the department had regarding the soccer nets at Watson Lake’s high school were provided.
What little is known about the soccer nets has been announced by the territory’s chief coroner following Amann’s death. Manufactured by Raymond Company, the collapsible metal net stands six-foot-six high, 10 feet across and weighs about 180 pounds.
The nets were likely purchased in the mid-1980s for less than $1,000, according to emails.
“I think these are pretty old,” wrote Mike Woods, superintendent of schools.
Efforts to find information about the manufacturer and original purchase turned up nothing.
“Internet searches didn’t turn up any information,” wrote Callas. “Checked with our dept. of finance to see if they had records of purchase – but records are only kept for seven years. It is believed a couple of fold-up interior soccer nets were purchased in 1990, when the new gym was added, but whether these are the same nets or not is unknown.”
A change in computer systems meant any purchases less than $1,000 were deleted in 2005.
Regular staff turnover at the Watson Lake school presented another challenge.
A former gym teacher, who taught at the school for 20 years, confirmed the school did get indoor nets that were metal and folded down.
“I don’t know when they got moved outside,” he was quoted in an email by Callas.
Government officials wouldn’t comment further until investigations by the RCMP and coroner are complete.
“We’re continuing our work to identify actions we can take to contribute to safety on our school soccer fields,” said Michele Royle with the department of education.
The department’s new deputy minister, Valerie Royle, who is moving over from the Workers’ Health and Compensation Board, has “extensive knowledge and experience that will guide our department’s work in this file as a top priority.”
Information from the RCMP was redacted from the obtained documents because releasing it could “interfere with law enforcement,” or “prejudice the legal rights of a public body in the conduct of existing or reasonably expected proceedings in court or before an adjudicative body.”
Following the death of his daughter, Paul Amann said the family was considering legal action. But his main focus is to try to persuade the government to ban or enforce proper installation of these types of nets and regulate quarterly inspections of all sports and playground equipment.
In August, a petition of more than 5,000 signatures was circulating to force the Yukon government to write “Jaedyn’s Law.”
At that time, Education Minister Scott Kent said the government wouldn’t discuss legislation until after the investigations were complete.
Jaedyn Amann was the second child in Canada to die from falling, collapsible soccer nets this year. She is also number 94 on an unofficial list of all children killed by falling nets in North America.
Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at