Sarah Walz is stepping up to the plate to take on the role of Softball Yukon’s executive director.
Walz assumed her new role Sept. 1 after three years as program coordinator for the organization that oversees softball in the territory.
The position opened after long-time executive director George Arcand announced his retirement earlier this year.
“I am very excited to be stepping into the role as executive director of Softball Yukon,” Walz said. “We have seen a lot of positive growth in our organization in the past few years and I look forward to continuing to effect change and contribute to the development of softball in the territory.”
Walz has worked in sports for more than a decade, including the last three years with Softball Yukon. Prior to that she spent five years as the sport coordinator and instructor with the Yukon Aboriginal Sport Circle.
As he hands over the reigns at Softball Yukon, Arcand said the organization is in good hands with Walz at the helm.
“Sarah has demonstrated her capacity to plan, develop, and deliver high-performance and recreation programs and contribute to the overall development of Softball Yukon and our members,” he said.
Arcand retired after close to three decades in the position, and longer still in a variety of other roles.
In 1969, Arcand began as a player. He also coached and serve as a volunteer board member through the 1970s, into the 1980s before taking on the role of executive director in 1983.
Arcand helped lead the Canadian National Men’s team to a bronze medal at the 1986 World Championships, was a team leader at the 1987 Championships where the Canadian National Men’s team won gold and “led a star-studded” Yukon team to silver at the 1989 Canadian Senior Men’s Fastball Championship.
As Softball Yukon and Sport Yukon summed up, he’s been “a long-standing fixture in softball’s history in the Yukon.”
Arcand was inducted into the Yukon Sport Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Softball Canada Hall of Fame in 2007 with other recognition including the Community Service Prestige Award from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance and the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
Among his accomplishments, the Pepsi Centre softball complex in the Takhini neighbourhood is one Arcand takes great pride in.
“That’s one thing I’ve had a pretty big stake in, that complex,” he said. “Everyone likes to have a legacy to leave behind and I guess that’s part of mine. It’s certainly a positive thing.”
Since it opened in 1983, more than 50 international, national, and western Canadian championships have been hosted at the complex, in addition to hundreds of other local tournaments.
Arcand’s influence can also be seen throughout the entire sports community in the territory.
He has served on the Sport Yukon board of directors since its inception in 1973, including 20 years as president. Arcand has also been instrumental to the successful hosting of several Arctic Winter Games. He served as host society president for the 1992, 2012 and 2020 (which were cancelled due to COVID-19) AWG .
“I, Sport Yukon and the sport community are all going to miss George,” Tracey Bilsky, Sport Yukon’s executive director, said. “His leadership and dedication to Sport Yukon will be hard to replace. We wish him all the best in retirement.”
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com