Rylan Stoker of the Vanier Crusaders blocks a ball from the F.H. Collins Warriors during a Super Volley game on Oct. 17. The Crusaders won the senior boys division of the 2019 Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)

Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament draws teams from across the Yukon

Haines Junction, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks, Watson Lake and Mayo were all represented

The 41st annual Dawson Invitational Volleyball Tournament was Oct. 24 to 26 at Robert Service School in Dawson City.

Featuring four divisions – senior girls, senior boys, junior girls and junior boys – the tournament included teams from Whitehorse, Dawson, Haines Junction, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks and Watson Lake, as well as players from Mayo.

Dave Rawlings, one of the tournament organizers, said community involvement was a major highlight.

“This year’s tournament was amazing,” said Rawlings. “We had more community interest than I can remember in years past. We had lots and lots of communities coming up.”

The initial plan had been for Faro and Mayo to field a team together, as the two communities did last year, but a last-minute change meant Faro could no longer participate.

“In the spirit of sport and DIVT, we found teams for the players from Mayo to join in on and everyone had a great time,” said Rawlings.

On the court, the three Whitehorse high schools each won at least one division in the tournament.

The F.H. Collins Warriors won the seniors girls division, the Vanier Crusaders won both the senior boys and junior girls divisions, and the Porter Creek Rams won the junior boys division.

Teams from the communities were impressive though, said Rawlings.

“The most surprising thing was just the calibre of play that is coming out of some of the communities,” said Rawlings. “They can really hold their own against teams that have more frequent practise and game time. So I was quite impressed with how some of the communities performed against … Whitehorse teams.”

The tournament started as an event for all of the Yukon’s communities and Rawlings is hopeful it will get back to its roots.

“I was also really impressed with the community turnout. It keeps building each year and I’m hoping we can eventually have pretty well every community represented at DIVT,” said Rawlings. “That’s what it started as and I’m hoping maybe it can swing towards something like that in the future.”

Temperatures this year didn’t allowed for the Porter Creek junior boys to defend their beach volleyball title, but Rawlings said the community dance was a hit with all the players.

“We did have a very well-received community dance at the TH Hall,” said Rawlings. “There were team costumes and I think most schools ended up going out there and having a great time.”

The Grade 9 and 10 championships are Nov. 14 to 16 and the senior championships are Nov. 21 to 23 in Whitehorse. Both events are happening at Porter Creek Secondary School.

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

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