The Canada Games Centre and various other Whitehorse locations were bustling with sports activities Friday and Saturday, but the athleticism did not result in accolades or champions, just good times.
“The Polar Games is about having fun; it’s a non-competitive event where all the kids are mixed up,” said organizer Dave Stockdale. “There’s no school against school, it’s just a fun thing. We don’t keep score, there’s no awards, it’s just for pure participation.”
The 41st Polar Games held last weekend was attended by 655 Grade 5 and 6 students from 21 Yukon schools, including single participants sent from Kluane Lake School and a home school in Faro. The Games are often an introduction to new sports, and possibly new friends.
Each participant chose a pair of sports to play for two days. Included in the selection were soccer, handball, mini tennis, table tennis, floor hockey, curling, bowling and beach ball volleyball, with swimming in the middle. In addition to sports, participants were treated to a dance at Whitehorse Elementary Friday evening.
The Polar Games started in 1968 as a competitive high school event, welcoming schools from through out the territory, Alaska, and BC. The Games began to dissolve with the creation of the Northern BC Games in 1975, drawing the BC teams away, and Alaska soon after stopped attending.
The Games temporarily changed from the high school level to junior high, but the change failed to stick because those grade levels already have extra curricular sports to play. (Tom Patrick).