Whitehorse drops out from hosting B.C. Hockey Championships

"It was a bitter pill to swallow," said Carl Burgess, president of the Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association. Due to lack of midget rep players in Whitehorse, the city will no longer be hosting the B.C.

2Due to lack of midget rep players in Whitehorse, the city will no longer be hosting the B.C. Hockey Championships, Whitehorse Minor decided last month.

The Yukon capital was supposed to host the Tier 3 midget championships in March.

“Unfortunately we weren’t given much choice with how the season unfolded,” said Burgess. “B.C. makes all the commitments in the summer and tryouts and everything starts in September, so we were sort of caught by surprise on how the season unfolded this fall.”

“We were hoping it would come together, but in December we made the decision to pull out to make sure there was enough time for B.C. Hockey to adjust,” he added.

B.C. Hockey has not determined where the midget Tier 3 tournament will be held but a decision will be made soon, a representative told the News on Thursday.

Whitehorse Minor and the Whitehorse Mustangs rep club are apparently doing a good job at producing top-notch hockey players.

Many of Yukon’s players who are eligible for the Midget Mustangs – a Tier 3 team – have gone south to play on Tier 1 and 2 teams.

“What gutted our competitive midget program this year was we now have 13 players playing Outside on elite and junior and Tier 1 teams all through Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C.,” said Burgess.

“When you have 13 of your top players out, that is a big hit on a program.

“There are other midget players in town, many of them committed to the minor midget program who would still be eligible. But Whitehorse Minor is 100 per cent volunteer driven, so when 13 players leave it means their parents’ focus changes as well.”

“There are still competitive players in town, but there also wasn’t a coaching team that came together.”

Among those playing high-level midget outside the territory are Jack Blisner, Marcus McLeod, Levi Johnson and Kole Comin on the Dawson Creek and Yukon NEBC Trackers in the Northern Alberta Midget Hockey League.

Bohdi Elias joined the Ochapowace Thunder in the Prairie Junior Hockey League in November.

Dylan McCuaig is playing midget AA with the Airdrie Lightning in the South Central Alberta Hockey League.

Tomas Jirousek is playing in net for the Southwest Rockies in AA in the same league.

Alex Hanson is playing on the midget AAA Cariboo Cougars in Prince George. Hanson and the Cougars won the Mac’s AAA Midget Tournament – a huge international competition with teams from across Canada, the U.S. and Europe – in Calgary last week for the first time in the team’s history.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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