Whitehorse becoming hockey hub

The city, the facilities, the competition and the hockey community's welcoming nature are all making Whitehorse a destination for northern hockey clubs.

The city, the facilities, the competition and the hockey community’s welcoming nature are all making Whitehorse a destination for northern hockey clubs.

With the season still not over, Whitehorse has had more than twice as many visits by minor hockey teams than last season.

“Our league’s been growing, having all the great facilities, and Whitehorse just being a great place to visit, is attracting attention,” said Carl Burgess, president of the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association.

“People want to come to Whitehorse because it’s a slightly bigger centre, there are three rinks here and we’ve been pretty welcoming. It’s becoming a hub. All northern hockey associations suffer from the same problem of getting competition and enough teams to play. Whitehorse is serving as that hub to make it happen.

“Folks, like in Fort Nelson, like to come to Whitehorse, both to hang around Whitehorse, the Canada Games Centre, and play hockey.

“We’re starting to realize there are advantages to promoting Whitehorse as a hockey destination.”

A Fort Nelson, B.C. team were the most recent visitors this past weekend.

The Fort Nelson Fury played a Whitehorse squad made up of players from all four teams in the atom division of the Whitehorse league. On Sunday the Whitehorse team also included players from the Whitehorse Atom Mustangs rep team.

The Fury and the Whitehorse team played four exhibition games at the Mount Lorne Community Centre on Saturday and Sunday. (The Fort Nelson team stayed in Whitehorse during the visit.)

“We’ve been trying to do it for years, maybe five years,” said Fury head coach Brad Stokes. “We finally had a group of parents willing to travel the 10 hours that it takes – that’s probably the biggest thing.”


With the Fury’s closest neighbour four hours away from Fort Nelson, the team is in a similar situation as Whitehorse teams that don’t get much Outside competition.

“Most minor hockey associations, like Whitehorse minor, are 100 per cent volunteer driven,” said Burgess. “The parents got in touch with the convener and all the parents got together to make this happen.”

The Juneau Capitals rep club has made numerous trips into the Yukon.

The previous weekend, Whitehorse played host to the Juneau Capitals’ bantams, who played four exhibition games against Whitehorse rec league teams. Juneau lost three and tied one, before defeating the Peewee A Mustangs 4-1.

Juneau Capitals were in the territory for the Yukon Atom Hockey Championships in Haines Junction a month ago. Juneau reached the final undefeated before dropping a three-goal lead and losing in a shootout against Whitehorse Black.

The Juneau Capitals and two Aldergrove Bruins teams from B.C. were in town to play Whitehorse Mustangs during Hockey Day in Whitehorse at the start of December.

“We’re working with the city to get summer hockey going too, and we think we’ll attract some people into summer hockey camps,” added Burgess.

Whitehorse was the centre of the hockey universe during the NHL lockout in November. About 10 NHL players were in town for a fun exhibition game as part of the First Assist Charity Hockey Fundraiser Classic, the final stop in a Northern Canada tour.

More Outside teams, including from B.C. and N.W.T., will attend the Whitehorse Native Hockey Championships beginning next week.

A Juneau Capitals team also might come for the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Championships at the start of next month.

As for adults, a team from Dease Lake, B.C. played – and made a final – at the Whitehorse Oldtimer Tournament just last weekend. Another Dease Lake team played in the Kiki Karnival Recreational Hockey Tournament in Watson Lake last month.

During the 2011/12 season the Aldergrove Bruins midget team was in town for a three-game series against the Midget A Mustangs in February of last year.

And an Alaskan female team, the Fairbanks Icebreakers, played a four-game series against the Female Mustangs rep team in November 2011.

The Whitehorse squad didn’t fair well against the Fury this past weekend, losing 14-0 and 15-2 on Saturday, and 8-2 and 13-2 Sunday.

“Part of hockey is learning how to lose and learning how to win,” said Burgess.

“We just have a good group,” said Stokes. “Every couple years you get a good group and this is our lucky year.

“We’re having a good season and we’re really happy to be here. The hospitality has been really good. It’s been really fun.”

Joey Schultz and Alex Petriw scored for Whitehorse on Saturday. Landon Marsh, Cole McCulloug, Keegan Bevilacqua and Cole Francis scored for Whitehorse on Sunday.

Contact Tom Patrick at


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

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision


Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read