The annual Toonie Tournament was Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in Whitehorse, with participants raising money and collecting food for the Whitehorse Food Bank. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Toonie Tournament returns to help the Whitehorse Food Bank

“I’ve got kids running up to see which team is bringing in the most money.”

Whitehorse Minor Soccer held its annual Toonie Tournament at the Canada Games Centre and Vanier Catholic Secondary School on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

The tournament included more than 500 futsal players on 52 teams from Whitehorse, Dawson City, Teslin and Haines Junction age seven to 17 playing a total of 76 games in just a day and a half.

What sets the Toonie Tournament apart from other competitions is the focus on giving.

Proceeds from the tournament as well as non-perishable food donations are given to the Whitehorse Food Bank and teams are given awards based on the amount of money raised, the amount of food gathered and for fair play.

This year’s tournament participants raised $983 and collected a truckload of food.

Lisa-Marie Vowk, executive director for Whitehorse Minor Soccer, said this year’s event was a bit smaller than years past, but went off without a hitch.

“(It ran) really smooth — no glitches,” said Vowk. “Everybody was happy. … We’re just shy of $1,000 and it’s still a large truckload. It’s … a lot of food, so we’re quite happy with that.”

The tournament sprung up as a way to take some of the stress out of a competitive setting, explained Vowk.

“They all had fun. There was no serious, crazy competition where there was crying and that’s one of the things we were trying to get away from by doing this change to the Toonie Tournament a couple years ago,” said Vowk.

Before the changes, Vowk said players, parents, referees and coaches weren’t in the best frame of mind.

“The whole sense of competition was dark,” she said. “It’s great when I’m sitting at the results table and I’ve got kids running up to see which team is bringing in the most money. They’re not looking at who won (this) game and who won that game because they all know who won those games. … We’re starting the conversation about who’s giving the most. Basically, whoever gives the most gets the prizes. The giving gets.”

While the most money and most food are easy to figure out in each division, the fair play awards are a bit more complicated. Vowk explained that the coaches reach a consensus and the award goes to the team that best uses the respect in sport model.

“They respect the referees, they respect the other team,” said Vowk. “They might have been the ones that lost and said, ‘Hey, great job for winning’ or it could have been the winning team.”

An added benefit of the process means winning teams often have no idea.

“It’s nice to see it’s not always the ones who know that they’ve already won that are going to win,” said Vowk, citing one example in particular. “The kids lit up and the coaches were like, ‘What? Really?’ They were so ecstatic to win it.”

The tournament also included a handful of showcase games for Whitehorse F.C. competitive teams.

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

Under 9 boys division

Most food donated — Metro Chrysler

Most money donated — Whitehorse Firefighters ($67)

Fair play award — Haines Junction Eagles

Under 9 girls division

Most food donated — Due North Maternity & Baby

Most money donated — Alpine Aviation ($76)

Fair play award — Dawson City Mammoths

Under 11 boys division

Most food donated — Riverstone Dental

Most money donated — Porter Creek Self Storage ($50)

Fair play award — Teslin Predators

Under 11 girls division

Most food donated — Haines Junction Eagles

Most money donated — Riverstone Dental ($50)

Fair play award — Marble Slab Creamery

Under 13 boys division

Most food donated — Coldwell Banker & Jacobs Industries

Most money donated — Medicine Chest Pharmacy & Tangerine Technology ($44 each)

Fair play award — Teslin Predators

Under 13 and under 16 girls division

Most food donated — YukonInfo.com

Most money donated — Porter Creek Super A ($24)

Fair play award — Titan Gaming & Collectibles

Under 16 and under 17 boys division

Most food donated — Conservative Party of Canada

Most money donated — Haines Junction and Dawson United ($20)

Fair play award — Lotteries Yukon

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