The Yukon Rivermen in game action against the Northeast Trackers at Tahkini Arena in Whitehorse on Nov. 10, 2018. This season, the Rivermen will play home games in both Whitehorse and Yellowknife. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Rivermen readying for third season in B.C. tier one zone league

This year’s team will again be a combination of Whitehorse- and Yellowknife-based players

For the third year in a row, the Yukon Rivermen will skate in B.C. Hockey’s bantam tier one zone league.

And, like last year, the team will be comprised of players based in Whitehorse and another group of players based in Yellowknife.

Travis Ritchie, president of Hockey Yukon, explained that the idea is to have a competitive goaltender and eight or nine players in each locale in order to create a team closer in skill to its southern rivals.

“What they found last season after mid-season — after Christmas — (was) the team had gotten to the point where they were becoming quite competitive and were doing well against their zone competitors,” said Ritchie. “That’s the plan this year — to continue that same process. Half from N.W.T., half from Yukon.”

Selections for the upcoming season started last week, as 18 players were on the ice in Whitehorse for evaluation camp from Aug. 20 to 24.

A similar camp is scheduled for Sept. 6 to 8 at the Mutiplex Arena in Yellowknife.

Like last season, the coaching staff will also be split between the two locales.

Mike Cozens is the team’s new head coach and will handle things in the Yukon, while a lead coach will take the reins in Yellowknife. The Yellowknife-based position has not yet been finalized.

On the ice, the idea is the same as last year.

“The two coaches will collaborate on a shared training and development plan,” said Ritchie. “Then they’ll execute the same plan in both locations over the course of the winter.”

The two squads will practise separately during the week, but like last winter, will use time away for games as an opportunity to squeeze practices as a whole team.

While the first two years saw the Rivermen travel all over B.C. for games, league organizers have simplified things considerably this year as all the Rivermen road games will be held in the central Okanagan.

“We’ll all fly down to Kelowna and all the various zone competitor teams will come into that area to play against us,” said Ritchie. “That’s really helped with logistics because our two squads have to travel the farthest; that’s a good evolution to aid in simplifying logistics.”

Also new this year is the addition of Rivermen games in Yellowknife. Ritchie confirmed both Whitehorse and Yellowknife will host a home series for the team.

With just one spot available at the B.C. tier one championships for the eight zone league teams, there is a very real possibility Rivermen players may be able to play in the 2020 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse.

“We’re keeping the option certainly open,” said Ritchie. “If their season concludes afer the first round of playdowns in late February and early March, then they’ll be positioned to go on to the Arctic Winter Games team if they’re interested.”

Hockey at the AWG will include three divisions this time around – junior women, bantam men and midget men.

Evaluations for all three teams will be in December, with one set of sessions tentatively planned for the beginning of the month and one for closer to Christmas.

“All the local kids that potentially might be going away for Christmas can still get evaluated and don’t have to mess with their Christmas plans,” said Ritchie about the idea behind the two-weekend format. “We’ll hold an event closer to the Christmas holiday so we can evaluate all those players that are returning to visit their families.”

The B.C. bantam tier one zone league schedule is not yet finalized, but Ritchie said it will likely be available in early September.

The 2020 Arctic Winter Games are March 15 to 21, 2020 in Whitehorse.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read