Dawsonites half of Yukon’s table tennis team for Arctics

Dawsonites will attempt to serve up wins alongside Whitehorse teammates this March in Greenland.

Dawsonites will attempt to serve up wins alongside Whitehorse teammates this March in Greenland.

Players from Dawson City make up half the table tennis team that will represent the territory at the 2016 Arctic Winter Games, Table Tennis Yukon announced this week.

“The kids did a lot of work and deserve every spot they earned on the team,” said Yukon head coach Kevin Murphy. “I’m quite proud of the diversity on the team. It’s going to be great.

“Half from Dawson, half from Whitehorse – that’s real great representation.”

Dawson’s Emily Gaw and Kate Crocker have been selected to represent Yukon in juvenile girls and their older brothers Ethan Gaw and Sam Crocker will compete in junior boys.

At the 2014 Arctic Games in Fairbanks, Alaska, all eight Yukon players were from Whitehorse.

“It helps when you have a couple of families who seem to be involved in the sport. So you have sisters and brothers who are playing, and the parents are involved, and they are eager to see the sport do well,” said Murphy. “There are some pretty simple factors there that allow it to be a success and thrive.”

Filling out the rest of the squad are Whitehorse players Arcel Siosan and Zachary Zimmerman in juvenile boys and Ashley Harris and Grace Anne Janssen in junior girls.

Dawson’s presence also extends into the team’s staff. While Murphy is from Whitehorse, coach/chaperone Carmen Dubois is from Dawson, as is mission staffer Irwin Gaw.

With increased participation by Dawson players at Table Tennis Yukon events – helping the territory win the Yukon-Alaska Challenge in June, for example – the organization even held one of the team tryouts in Dawson early December.

“I kind of wish Dawson was closer to Whitehorse and we could go up there more often, or bring them down here a little more often,” said Murphy.

Even the team’s alternates include a Dawsonite with Kacie Hastings for juvenile girls. Other alternates include Whitehorse’s Jake Charlton for juvenile boys, Whitehorse’s Thomas Brenner for junior boys and Whitehorse’s Kelcy Armstrong for junior girls.

Siosan, Janssen and Harris all played for Yukon at the 2014 Games in Fairbanks. Siosan, Brenner and Armstrong also played at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C., just under a year ago.

Armstrong and Siosan both won junior singles titles at the 2015 Yukon Table Tennis Championship last April.

The 2016 Arctic Winter Games will take place March 6-11 in Nuuk, Greenland. To help prepare the team, Table Tennis Yukon hopes to bring the team to an Outside tournament before the start of the Games.

“We’re seeing if we can get out to another tournament, either in B.C. or Alberta,” said Murphy. “We’re checking the calendar of events right now and we’ll see if there’s a good tournament to get out to and test the kids out and get them involved in a good level of play.”

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