With its small population, Yukon is rarely considered a powerhouse when sending sports teams to national competitions. Nonetheless, in the next school semester a handful of Whitehorse athletes will be sprinkled throughout the West as they begin their post-secondary athletic careers.
Porter Creek Secondary graduate Krista Mooney, who has been a cornerstone of the Porter Creek Rams’ basketball and volleyball teams over the last years, has been invited to play for the University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves women’s basketball team.
“At the Arctic Winter Games, the female Alaskan coach is really close with (Seawolves coach) Tim Moser and so he originally brought me up to the university coach,” said Mooney. “It all started from there.”
No athletic contract has been signed at this point, but the Mooney family and Moser have made a verbal agreement, welcoming her onto the team.
Mooney was not offered a scholarship this year because she was recruited so late in the process, but it’s an honour to be chosen for a NCAA Division 2 team just the same, she said.
“I’m super excited – I’m super nervous too,” said the undeclared student. “It’s going to be so different. I’ve been to nationals for basketball, with Yukon teams, and I’ve seen really tough players, but it’s completely different to play with them instead of against them.
“I’m going to be training multiple times a day now.”
As reported earlier this year, Glacier Bears swimmer and Vanier Catholic Secondary graduate Bronwyn Pasloski has accepted a full scholarship to the University of Indiana.
“Just coming from a small town and being able to say, ‘I got a full scholarship to go to the States,’ that’s a huge accomplishment because swimming in the States is a big deal,” said Pasloski earlier this year. “To say a top-10 school in the NCAA recruited me is phenomenal.”
In her swim career to date, Pasloski holds 43 Glacier Bears club records (27 short course and 16 long) plus four BC provincial age group records.
University of Indiana has been a top-10 NCAA ranked school in swimming for the last two years and swim team head coach Ray Looze hopes the soon-to-be biology major will help bring the team to the next level.
“Bronwyn is a very fine breaststroker, but I also think she has the ability to swim some freestyle and some individual medley, so we’re going to keep a lot of options open to her,” said Looze. “We’re extremely motivated to get her on the senior national team.”
Standing at 193 centimetres, Vanier graduate Logan Grey is not only literally heads above most other players, figuratively so is his game.
Learning of the basketball program from former Team Yukon teammate, Tony Nguyen, the former Vanier Crusader has agreed to play basketball for University of Alberta Augustana Vikings this fall.
At tryouts in April, Grey was one of just four selected from a group of about 60 to make the team. As a first-year student, studying kinesiology, Grey does not expect to see too much court time during his freshman year
“I’m not expecting to play a lot – it’s how I do in practices that will determine how much I’ll see the floor,” said Grey. “It’s about how well I do in practice and what work I do off the court.”
Although he’s a force to be reckoned with on the volleyball court as well, Grey intends to push his focus completely to basketball this coming school year.
As can be expected from a northern climate, Whitehorse also has a few hockey players prepared to make their mark on the university scene.
Assistant captain for Team Yukon’s female hockey squad at this past March’s Arctic Winter Games, which resulted in a silver outcome, FH Collins Secondary graduate Angela Burke is on her way to play for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
Isolated from scouts while living in the territory, Burke advertised herself with a video full of footage from past tournaments, including the Arctic Games.
“One of the things that helped me the most was the High Performance Hockey Camp,” said Burke. “The camp came up here with lots of people from Lethbridge, including the men’s head coach. So he saw me play and had a good look at me the whole week and said he’d talk to the head female coach for me.”
Burke, who intends to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, went down in December to skate with the Pronghorns team and attended a spring camp in May.
“I think it’s pretty big for female hockey because there are some up-and-coming girls for the Canada Winter Games next year and I really love inspiring them – they’re all my friends, we’re a tight-knit group,” she said. “I love seeing them trying to reach a higher level too and knowing that they don’t have to move anywhere as long as they try really hard and train hard.”
The forward would like to thank Jake Jirousek, a former Pronghorns player, who helped Burke with his All Out Hockey program. Thanks also go out to the Midget Mustangs B team head coach Greg Hare, who not only accepted Burke onto the predominately male team, but made her assistant captain. She also has gratitude for local Olympic weightlifter Jeane Lassen, who has been helping her with her training.
Having helped his team, the Spruce Grove Saints win the Alberta Junior Hockey League championship title, Whitehorse’s Adam Henderson is on his way to play for University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks.
“He’s been good in the playoffs,” said Saints head coach Steve Hamilton. “He’s been leading our team in the playoffs, he’s a big strong guy and he’s been pretty good for us.”
Not only did Henderson lead his team in points during the regular season, he finished third overall on the roster with 21 goals and 35 assists in 51 games.
Leading scorer at the Arctic Winter Games – not just for the Yukon, but out of all the teams – Whitehorse’s Logan Boehmer has reached a deal to play basketball for the Grande Prairie Regional College Wolves.
The former Porter Creek Rams guard tried out for the team after the Arctic Games – where he no doubt turned heads with his 119 points – and was one of 12 selected from about 60.
“(The Wolves coach) asked me, so I was really excited to go down and tryout,” said Boehmer. “The first day I was a little nervous, but eventually I got relaxed and settled in.”
Boehmer, who is going into criminology and is hoping to move on to the RCMP after graduation, will also be playing on the pan-territorial team (Yukon, NWT and Nunavut combined) at the Juvenile Men’s National Championships this August.
“My plan is to work hard all summer and eventually work myself onto (a starting position) the team,” said Boehmer.
Finishing his stay with the Junior A team the Powell River Kings, this past season’s BC Hockey League Coastal Conference championships, Haines Junction’s Reid Campbell is on his way south of the border to play for the St. Norbert College Green Knights in Wisconsin, a NCAA Division 3 team. The defenceman scored 11 goals and 18 assists in 52 games this past season.
“In all my years as a coach Reid is one of those special players that define what your program is all about,” said Kings head coach Kent Lewis in a media release. “I have no doubt that Reid will do in college what he did in junior and become a key component in the continued success of the Green Knights program.”
Vanier graduate Alex Bouchard has not acquired a spot on the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds roster just yet, but she has made sure she’ll get the chance to show her hockey skills, securing a chance to tryout – which is not as easy as it might seem.
“I don’t have a specific spot, but I’m into the tryouts and I’m doing their training right now, and I’m going early to talk to the coach,” said Bouchard. “(Burke) and I are training together right now. They sent me exercises we should be doing.
“My goal is just to make it and I’m trying so hard to be as ready as I can so I can’t regret anything.”
Bouchard, who graduated at the start of the year before helping raise the female team to silver at the Arctic Games, took the same routed as Burke, using a video to peak the interest of scouts.
“If I make the team, me and Angela (Burke) will play against each other, which is pretty exciting,” said Bouchard.
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