The Female Mustangs break out against the Juneau Capitals during a round-robin game. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Alaska Heat the hottest team at Yukon Bantam Cup

‘When a tournament goes well, it’s because the volunteers were super, super engaged’

The Alaska Heat from Tok bested Northern Vision Development 6-1 in the final of the Yukon Bantam Cup on Jan. 28 in Whitehorse.

It was a rematch of an earlier round-robin game that the Heat also won, prevailing 11-3.

Earlier that morning, the U13 Peewee Mustangs defeated the Haines Junction Huskies in the bronze medal game.

Eight teams took part in the hockey tournament Jan. 26-28, cohosted by the U13 Peewee Mustangs and the U19 Female Mustangs, but the plan had originally been for a six-team tournament.

The Alaska Heat, the Juneau Capitals, Fort Nelson and Haines Junction joined the four teams that make up Whitehorse Minor Hockey’s bantam division — Northern Vision Development, P&M Recycling, the U13 Peewee Mustangs and the U19 Female Mustangs — to form the eight-team bracket.

Tournament co-chair Marlaine Anderson-Lindsay said that when Haines Junction asked to take part, it was a bit of a scramble to rework the schedule.

“Once we’d heard from Haines Junction that they were all in, I contacted Fort Nelson,” said Anderson-Lindsay.

Fort Nelson had expressed interest a couple of weeks prior in travelling to Whitehorse for the tournament.

“It was about a week and a half before the tournament,” said Anderson-Lindsay. “So we were absolutely thrilled when Fort Nelson said they’re going to try to make this work.”

With a range in both age and skill among participants, the goal for a tournament like this is always to keep things close.

The tournament isn’t run as an invitational. A lack of teams and travel difficulties make the usual type of restrictions on entry, that are common in Outside tournaments, unfeasible.

Just ask the Juneau Capitals. They were scheduled to travel by ferry but a last-minute cancellation meant the team had to catch a charter flight just to make it in time for puck drop.

Luckily for the Yukon’s hockey players, the tournament is a popular choice for teams.

“What we’ve noticed is you’ve got a lot of repeat customers because they like to come. They like the Whitehorse hospitality, they like the tournaments, they like the calibre of play and they like the general attitude that puts fair play and fun ahead of everything else,” said Anderson-Lindsay.

Calling the tournament a success, Anderson-Lindsay said the credit goes to volunteers and conveners.

“When a tournament goes well, it’s because the volunteers were super, super engaged.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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