Bigger, younger Team Yukon set for AWG

When Whitehorse hosts the Arctic Winter Games for a sixth time beginning this weekend, Team Yukon athletes will have the hometown advantage.

When Whitehorse hosts the Arctic Winter Games for a sixth time beginning this weekend, Team Yukon athletes will have the hometown advantage. However, with many of the athletes competing in their first major Games, it will be a learning experience for some.

It would be a Herculean task to determine Team Yukon’s average age for these Games and the past few, but it does seem like the territory has a younger squad of athletes competing next week.

“It’s not scientifically proven, but it seems it is one of the youngest teams we’ve had in years,” said Yukon Chef de Mission Tracey Bilsky. “All the superstars are gone so this is an opportunity for all the younger athletes to come up.

“(Curlers) Thomas Scoffin and Sarah Koltun are not going to be there so this is an opportunity for the younger teams to come up. They’ve been waiting in the wings for a while and this is their chance.

“It feels like a bit of a rookie team, which is awesome.”

Curling is an excellent example of the passing-of-the-torch the Yukon is seeing in numerous sports. Both Team Scoffin and Team Koltun have represented the Yukon at the last three Arctic Winter Games, going back to 2006, and the last two Canada Winter Games in 2007 and 2011. Scoffin and Koltun won silver and gold respectively in 2010.

This year the Yukon will be represented by first-time rinks skipped by Kelly Mahoney and David Aho.

Yukon’s snowboard team is another great example. At the 2010 Arctic Games, the snowboard team won 10 of the Yukon’s 101 medals, but this year’s team is a completely fresh crop. In fact, all but one of the six boarders is in the juvenile age range.

Though seemingly younger, the team is empirically larger.

Next week the Yukon will be represented by 272 athletes, with 46 coaches and six cultural component participants. At the 2010 Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alta., the Yukon had 238 athletes, 43 coaches and four cultural component participants. Those numbers dwarf Yukon’s contingent at the Canada Winter Games a year ago in Halifax, with 107 athletes sent to compete.

There are some easy-to-spot sources of the growth in athletes.

The Yukon has five soccer teams competing next week, up from four in 2010.

The territory is entering a wrestling team in the Games for the first time since 2002.

The Yukon’s cross-country ski team has grown to 22 athletes from 16 in 2010. The territory had no juniors level skiers, male or female, compete at the last Arctic Games.

The Yukon’s freestyle ski team got the shaft for these Games with the sport getting pulled. But the drop in those numbers is countered by the Yukon’s alpine ski team, which did not compete at the Canada Games a year ago.

The Yukon did not have a single female table tennis player at the 2010 Games, but has four this time, bringing the size of the team to eight.

For the first time since the 2006 Games, the Yukon will also have enough female speed skaters to field a relay team.

Perhaps most significant, the Yukon will have its largest arctic sports team since the sport became a competitive event in 1978, with 12 athletes competing. On board for her third Games – second in arctic sports – is Anna Rivard. At the 2010 Games, Rivard drew on her gymnastics background to win more medals than any other Yukon athlete with eight. She even set a Games record in the triple jump event.

The Yukon’s arctic sports coach, Teena Dickson, though only 41, is the veteran of the team. Next week will be Dickson’s 10th Arctic Games, having participated as an athlete, mission staff and coach. In fact, she competed in five different sports in the Games including figure skating, snowshoeing, volleyball, speed skating and, of course, arctic sports.

“I think I won six or seven medals, mostly in snowshoeing and speed skating,” said Dickson. “It’s an exciting Games. And for young people to have this opportunity is definitely a stepping stone for them in sports.

“Being a home Games, it’s a little bit different. But I think we have a very supportive sports community that will only make our athletes do better in competition.”

Team Yukon roster

Alpine skiing

Kaitlynn Mitchell

Tayler Mitchell

Samantha Richardson

Lyndsey Boorse

Josephine Storey

Charlie Hawes

Marek Henderson-Pekarik

Sam Schimer

Coach: Yves Titley

Arctic sports

Megan Banks

Foreste Martin

Robyn Poulter

Luke Londero

Duran Simon

Jesse Whalen

Ben Wright

Anna Rivard

Allen Evenson

Tom Fulop

Seo Juhyun

Josh Carr

Coaches:

Teena Dickson

Josh Carr

Badminton

Montong Javannatum

Afsal Djearam

Casey Parker

Shermaine Chua

Emily Knickle

Peter Jensen

Mustafa Syed

Coaches:

Ken Frankish

Abbie Rotondi

Female Basketball

Jenna Blanchette

Teah Dickson

Robyn Fortune

Shakiba Kazemi

Mikaela Lane

Amanda Mervyn

Quynh Nguyen

Colleen Prensolo

Galena Roots

Jacy Sam

Coach: Sarah Crane

Male basketball

Christian Carino

Joshua Hansen

Peter Hanson

Bryan Hermosa

Rowan Huggard

Jake Jacobs

Gerard New

Brian Prenoslo

Soleil Stimson

Will Thomson

Coach: Tim Brady

Ski biathlon

Olivia Findlay

Ale Peters

Will Rees

Nadia Moser

Tristan Sparks

Jakov Tokic

Coaches:

Dennis Peters

Laurie Jacobsen

Snowshoe biathlon

Kieran Halliday

Sam Rees

Erin Hoehn

Francis Reid

Pelly Vincent-Braun

Coaches:

Jim Boyde

Jane Vincent

Cross-country skiing

Holly Bull

Adrenne Hynes

Katie Peters

Nahanni Sagar

Trevor Bray

Fabian Brook

Reid Seal

Cambria Fuerstner

Zoe Painter

Eliza Paul

Heather Thomson

Marcus Deuling

Caelan Mclean

Andrew Seal

Maggie Brook

Alexis Gee

Natalie Hynes

Hannah Schier

Simon Cash

Ian Hogeboom-Burr

Michael Kishchuck

Elias Sagar

Coaches:

Alain Masson

Amanda Deuling

Nick Stratis

Culture

Odessa Beatty

Mairi Fraser

Breagha Fraser

Kate Power

Tessa Rittel

Grayson Vanderbyl

Manager:

Breanne Leschert

Curling

Bailey Horte

Kelsey Meger

Kelly Mahoney

Sian Molloy

Coach: Rhonda Horte

David Aho

Ryan Burke

Kurt Hills

Spencer Wallace

Coach: Wade Scoffin

Dene games

Brittney Brown

Andria Mayes

Charissa Tizya

Tayler Vallevand

Matthew Brown

Terrence O’Brien

Anthony Primozic

Taylor Sembsmoen

Percilla Charlie-Tizya

Jasmine Johnson

Sarina Primozic

Tora-Lee Williams

Dustin Blackjack

Doronn Fox

Justin Smith

Coaches:

Jonah Caeser

Kristel Vance

Dog mushing

Rachel Kinvig

Kat Atmanspacher

Coaches:

Stephan Atmanspacher

Darren Kinvig

Figure skating

Kelcy Armstrong

Maya Austin

Bryn Hoffman

Marika Kitchen

Kristen LeGrow

Maria Peters

Rachel Pettitt

Taylor Schneider

Coaches:

Lori Austin

Michelle Gorczyca

Gymnastics

Reena Coyne

Fayne O’Donovan

Kendra Peters

Caitlyn Venasse

Coach: Catherine O’Donovan

Junior female hockey

Adrianne Dewhurst LW

Linsey Eby C

Madison Logan C

Tshayla Nothstein C

Sierra Oakley LW

Ashtyn Sandulak RW

Chyanne Spenner RW

Dana van Vliet RW

Hannah Wood-Walker LW

Natalja Blanchard D

Tamara Greek D

Lynsey Keaton D

Emilie Nugent D

Jolene Pitts D

Savannah van Vliet D

Teneesha Merkel G

Jocelyn Wynnyk G

Coaches:

Louis Bouchard

Susan Roy

Natasha Dunmell

Bantam male hockey

Kole Comin F

Bodhi Elias F

Chance Goodman F

Alex Hanson F

Levi Johnson F

Karter Kazakoff F

Kadin Kormendy F

Malachi Lavallee F

Dylan McQuaig F

Jack Blisner D

Nick Dobush D

Tyson Hope F/D

Nick Light D

Ben McClelland D

Marcus McLeod D

Josh Tetlichi G

Devon Troke G

Coaches:

Barry Blisner

Jamie Cairns

Midget male hockey

Mike Arnold F

Wyatt Gale F

Tyson Glass F

Mike Hare F

Tyrell Hope F

Brayden Kulych F

Matt McCarthy F

Cole Morris F

Tyler Weins F

Craig Berube D

Graham Close D

Chase Hobbis D

Brad Koprowsky D

Isaac Moses D

Mike Skookum D

Nigel Sinclair-Eckert G

Patrick Soprovich G

Coaches:

Jay Glass

Kirk Gale

Juvenile female soccer

Avery Bramadat

Anna Janowicz

Jamie Joe-Hudson

Jamie McLeisch

Hannah Milner

Aimee Parker

Mikaela Ponsioen

Teaghan Wilson

Samantha Wintemute

Coach: Arnold Headstrom

Juvenile male soccer

Brendan Irish

Trygg Jensen

Sam Lee

Allan Mark

Malcolm Muir

Timber Schroff

Kieran Stacey

Chris Torgerson

Luka van Randen

Coach: Ed van Randen

Junior female soccer

Samantha Burgis

Emily Dorosz

Camille Galloway

Jaylene Kelly

Megan Lanigan

Carolyn Miller

Brittany Milner

Morgan Paul

Emily Wilson

Coach: Charly Kelly

Junior male soccer

Mike Amirault

Travis Banks

Ali Khodakarami

Dominic Korn

Tristen Olynyk

Jonathan Runions

Andrew Scoffin

Martin Sealy

Mike Wintemute

Coach: Derrick Lewis

Intermediate female soccer

Nicole Bendera

Micah Copland

Avery Enzenauer

Jesse Hudson

Claire Lindsey

Ella Parler

Terri Publicover

Odette Rivard

Hanna Val

Coach: River Walton

Snowboarding

Lara Bellon

Francis Bouffard

Haylie Grant

Alidas Jamnicky

Tim Schirmer

Adam Waddington

Coaches:

Katrina Couch

Gabriel Rivest

Snowshoeing

Sara Burke-Forsyth

Kate Londero

Aidan Bradley

Logan Roots

Sophie Rees

Sam Bonar

Tomas Tokic

Coach: Don White

Speed skating

Heather Clarke

Emily Klassen

Rasheeda Slater

Donald Fortune

Shea Hoffman

Kathryn Fortune

Hanna Wirth

Daryn Lovell

Michael Ritchie

Christopher Ritchie

Coaches:

Phil Hoffman

Stacey Pennington

Table tennis

Alysha Gullison

Whitney Musil

Kyle Gonder

Alex Zheng

Grace-Anne Janssen

Sana Syed

Abed Al-Rammahi

Ehsan Idrees

Coaches:

Kevin Murphy

Zara Bachli

Junior female volleyball

Corey Baxter

Rowan Brown

Courtney Greenway

Samantha Henney

Erika New

Brooke Nielsen

Kiana Palamar

Kelsey Smeeton

Anna Smith

Patty Wallingham

Coach: Natasha Bilodeau

Junior male volleyball

Brady Bonnycastle

Justin Dragoman

Mason Gray

Michael Hunter

Charles Kedziora

Henry Kedziora

Jeremy Mann

Daniel Naef

Albert Spycher

Lowell Tait

Coach: Shaun McLoughlin

Wrestling

Kim Cleveland

Kelly Glada

Tanisha Leas

Antoine Broeckx

Kieran Charron-Ohagan

Terry Dick

Coaches:

Mary Jane Allison

Bruce Ross

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com