The inaugural Special Olympics Yukon Indoor Soccer Invitational was at the Canada Games Centre on March 23 and 24.
The four-team tournament included three sides from B.C. — Delta FC, the Surrey Seagulls and the Chilliwack Wildcats — and Whitehorse’s own Charging Moose.
When the dust settled on the weekend, the Charging Moose secured third place with a solid victory against the Chilliwack Wildcats.
In the gold medal game, Delta FC defeated the Surrey Seagulls.
Serge Michaud, executive director of Special Olympics Yukon, said that the tournament was one of many firsts.
“Basically everyone except one player from Surrey had never been to the Yukon before, so that’s pretty cool,” said Michaud. “I know that the Northwestel Charging Moose were super excited to have three teams come up.”
Michaud said this is the first time since 1996 that Whitehorse or the Yukon has hosted a major Special Olympics event.
“It was great,” said Michaud. “I think that the three teams that came up from B.C. had a good time.”
The Charging Moose soccer program started in 2002 and is currently preparing for the 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, this summer.
In three previous appearances at the summer games, Yukon athletes have enjoyed considerable success.
A bronze medal in their debut in 2006 was followed by a silver in 2010 and gold in 2014.
Michaud said the team is training hard to continue that success.
“They train three times a week right now,” said Michaud. “They’ll intensify that a bit once they can get outside, but they’re training Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays right now and they’re working their tails off.”
The 2018 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games are July 31 to August 4 and athletes will compete in athletics, basketball, bocce, golf, powerlifting, rhythmic gymnastics, soccer, softball and swimming.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org