Minor soccer players from across the Yukon were in Whitehorse for the annual Toonie Tournament on Nov. 29 and 30 at the Canada Games Centre.
Hosted by Whitehorse Minor Soccer which will soon officially be known as Whitehorse United F.C., the tournament included a total of 48 teams that competed in age categories from U6 up to U16. In addition to the WMS teams, the tournament also included a combined eight teams from Haines Junction and Dawson City.
The tournament serves as a fundraiser for the Whitehorse Food Bank, and the name is in reference to the minimum donation requested of players.
Travis Banks, office administrator for WMS, said the feeling is this may have been the most successful year to date — nearly $2,000 in cash and three large bins of non-perishable food.
“It exceeded expectations … in terms of food donations,” said Banks. “The talk from parents and everybody around was as far as they know, that’s probably the best fundraising that’s ever been done at a Toonie Tournament.”
Teams in Whitehorse typically have hour-long sessions of arena-style indoor soccer during league play, but due to the high number of teams games were shortened to 30 minutes of playing time in 40 minute windows.
“It worked out really well,” said Banks. “We were a little worried it wouldn’t run as smooth as it did, but I think it went great and we weren’t behind schedule at all or anything.”
While the U6 and U8 age groups didn’t have a full round robin, each division had a one-hour time slot on each day and notably included a team in each age group from Haines Junction and a combined team from Dawson.
“We had a really good turnout,” said Banks. “The communities were glad to come down and we were happy to have them.”
Like most tournaments, this one ended with final matches in each division. Unlike most tournaments, the teams playing in the finals were the ones that did the most fundraising.
“We had a bit of a competition this year for the teams that fundraised the most money or brought in the most food,” said Banks. “It was more about getting the kids out playing soccer and fundraising for the food bank.”
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