First time curling teams set for Arctic Games

Two long-time Yukon representative curling rinks, Team Scoffin and Team Koltun, have passed the torch to the next generation.

Two long-time Yukon representative curling rinks, Team Scoffin and Team Koltun, have passed the torch to the next generation.

The two junior teams, skipped by Thomas Scoffin and Sarah 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.

Now the Yukon will have some new blood throwing granite this March at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse.

Representing the Yukon in the junior male division will be a rink led by skip David Aho, including Kurtis Hills, Ryan Burke and Dawson City’s Spencer Wallace.

“The whole team is excited. It’s something we’ve been hoping to do this season and I think everyone is glad to be participating,” said Aho. “We’ve had a good season so far and I think we just need to work on playing together a bit. If we get some games in and get the teamwork going, I think we could have a good year.”

Aho, who is fairly new to the Yukon, brings a ton of experience to the team. Originally from Yellowknife, Aho has represented N.W.T. at the Arctic Winter Games in 2006, 2008 and 2010. He also curled for N.W.T. at six junior national championships.

While the rink is new, Hills also has major Games experience, curling on Team Scoffin at the 2011 Canada Winter Games last February in Halifax.

While not on the ice, Scoffin is still involved as coach of the junior team. Scoffin is currently skip for Canada’s junior national team heading to the Youth Olympic Games at the start of next year in Innsbruck, Austria. As a member of the national team, Scoffin was ineligible for the Arctic Games.

Aho and his teammates earned their spot on Team Yukon winning the Arctic Winter Games trial playdowns on Saturday at the Whitehorse Curling Club. The team won the best-of-three playdown in two straight matches – 8-6 and 9-4 – over Joe Wallingham’s team, which includes Shawn Kitchen, Brayden Klassen and Bailey Muir-Cressman.

Representing the Yukon in the junior female division is a rink skipped by Kelly Mahoney, with Bailey Horte, Kelsey Meager and Sian Molloy.

The rink, which is coached by Rhonda Horte, was the only team to vie for the spot.

“That was sort of too bad, but it’s good that they’re getting this opportunity,” said Yukon Curling Association president Wade Scoffin. “They’ve been playing quite often against the older juniors, Sarah Koltun’s group, but because of their younger age and less experience they have been the runner-up for a lot of those competitions, for the Canada Games and the Canadian junior (championships).”

The team, led by Mahoney, won silver at the International Children’s Games in Kelowna, B.C., at the start of the year.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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