Mad Trappers bowling alley set to close this spring

Whitehorse bowlers should knock some pins while they still can. Mad Trappers Alleys, Whitehorse's only bowling alley, is set to close this spring following the end of the season.

Whitehorse bowlers should knock some pins while they still can.

Mad Trappers Alleys, Whitehorse’s only bowling alley, is set to close this spring following the end of the season.

The bowling alley, located in the Riverdale plaza Leisure on Lewes, hasn’t turned a profit in years, said plaza owner Chris Sorg.

“The bowling alley has been a labour of love for a number of years,” said Sorg. “It doesn’t actually turn a profit really.”

“It isn’t just the fact that it’s a money-loser, it’s been that way for a long time, the equipment is in such an old state of repair,” he added. “It’s extremely old equipment – like the pins-setters and that stuff. It’s just reached a point where it will be needing a major overhaul. It’s just reaching the end of its life here…

“The equipment is killing us there. We’re looking at having to invest maybe $100,000 to refurbish or replace (equipment). It’s throwing good money after bad because we really don’t have a profitable business there.”

The five-pin alley with 10 lanes opened in 1976, says Stephen Kwok, who has managed the alley since 2002. Kwok has mixed feelings about the potential closure.

“To me, it’s half and half,” said Kwok. “Half is disappointment because I have to give up something that me and my wife really enjoy. But the other way I look at it is relief because the machine is getting really old. It’s almost 40 years old.

“Like an automobile that is 40 years old, I’m sure a mechanic can fix it every day, but that’s not the point.”

Mad Trappers still sees a lot of action. It is home to men, junior, mixed and senior leagues. It hosts a number of corporate, birthday and Christmas parties each year. Big Brothers and Big Sisters hosts fundraising events there.

Special Olympics Yukon also uses the alleys and has prospered from the practice lately. They won Yukon’s first-ever team medal – a silver – and came away with three individual medals as well at the 2014 Special Olympics Canada Summer Games in July.

Mad Trappers is also practice grounds for the teams who compete in the Youth Bowling Canada National Championships every year. Yukon has sent junior teams to the championships every year since 2001, said coach Kevin Murphy.

“We send kids out every year, from Newfoundland to B.C.,” said Murphy. “I think we’ve stopped in every province, with the exception of the Maritime provinces.”

“I’m not surprised. The economics of the decision are fairly apparent to me,” added Murphy, who also plays in the men’s league. “I’m disappointed, of course, because it’s one of the recreation sports that people can enter into at any age and continue the rest of their life enjoying. I’m disappointed that the sport won’t be available in Whitehorse after decades of bowling being taken for granted as something to do in this town.”

Kwok, whose son Harrison won a silver at the junior nationals in 2002, has informed leagues that this will be the last season. But closure of the alley is not an absolute certainty.

The arrival of an investor with deep pockets, or a sizable jump in attendance, could potentially keep it afloat, said Sorg.

“If the community really demonstrated it’s prepared to support it at a level that has not been there – like I said, we haven’t made an arrangement with a future tenant at this point,” said Sorg. “We have made the decision, but barring anything miraculous happening, something unexpected happens, and investor coming along saying they want to purchase the facility, then we’ll see what happens.

“If the sales were to double or triple – doubling would be enough. There’ll have to be an awful lot of additional activity.”

If Mad Trappers does close, Whitehorse bowlers will have to gas up the car to get some frames under their belts.

The Watson Lake Recreation Centre has four lanes that were recently upgraded to include computerized scorekeeping.

“It’s going to run for another eight months or so, then we’ll see what happens,” said Sorg.

“There are quite a few leagues and various commitments that are already in place and obviously we didn’t want to do anything to harm those commitments, and give people adequate notice and make them aware.

“We don’t have a firm plan in place for a transition, we’ve just come to the decision it might be time to cut our losses here and just move on.”

“A miracle can happen, but we don’t plan on that,” said Kwok. “It’s a possibility, if I find an investor. That would be a totally different story.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Sarah Walz leads a softball training session in Dawson City. Photo submitted by Sport Yukon.
Girls and women are underserved in sport: Sport Yukon

Sport Yukon held a virtual event to celebrate and discuss girls and women in sport

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bagged meter fees could be discounted for patios

Council passes first reading at special meeting

The Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell is among a number of sites that are expected to make more commercial/industrial land available in the coming years. (Submitted)
Council hears update on commercial land

Number of developments expected to make land available in near future

keith halliday
Yukonomist: Have I got an opportunity for you!

Are you tired of the same-old, same-old at work? Would you like to be a captain of industry, surveying your domain from your helicopter and enjoying steak dinners with influential government officials at the high-profile Roundup mining conference?

Clouds pass by the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Friday, June 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon government, B.C. company want Supreme Court of Canada appeal of Wolverine Mine case

Government concerned with recouping cleanup costs, creditor wants review of receiver’s actions.

The Village of Carmacks has received federal funding for an updated asset management plan. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Federal funding coming to Carmacks

The program is aimed at helping municipalities improve planning and decision-making around infrastructure

Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. The 2021 Yukon River Quest will have a different look. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
The 22nd annual Yukon River Quest moves closer to start date

Although the race will be modified in 2021, a field of 48 teams are prepared to take the 715 kilometre journey from Whitehorse to Dawson City on the Yukon River

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its June 7 meeting

Letters to the editor.
This week’s mailbox: the impact of residential schools, Whitehorse Connects, wildfires

Dear Editor; Anguish – extreme pain, distress or anxiety. Justice – the… Continue reading

PROOF CEO Ben Sanders is seen with the PROOF team in Whitehorse. (Submitted)
Proof and Yukon Soaps listed as semifinalists for national award

The two companies were shortlisted from more than 400 nominated

The RCMP Critical Incident Program will be training in Watson Lake from June 14-16. Mike Thomas/Yukon News
RCMP will conduct three days of training in Watson Lake

Lakeview Apartment in Watson Lake will be used for RCMP training

John Tonin/Yukon News Squash players duke it out during Yukon Open tournament action at Better Bodies on June 5.
Four division titles earned at squash Yukon Open

The territory’s squash talent was on full display at the 2021 Yukon Open

Most Read