Teammates pour beer into the Coy Cup for Huskies forward Kevin Petovello following the team’s win over the Kelowna Sparta last April. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Whitehorse Huskies won’t defend Coy Cup title

‘Life happens for the players’

Amy Kenny | Special to the News

The Whitehorse Huskies won’t be competing in the 2017-18 season.

Dan Johnson, general manager of the senior men’s AA team, says the worst part was telling his kids.

“I have two daughters in hockey now,” he said over the phone on Wednesday, a day after the team made the announcement. “And for them, the Huskies are right up there with the NHL. Telling them there was no more Huskies was harder than telling anybody else.”

Johnson said the team was faced with the decision immediately after winning the Coy Cup last April, when Whitehorse hosted the B.C. Senior Hockey Championship.

A number of the Huskies’ key players — including Ted Stephens, Adam Henderson, Derek Klassen, Jared Tuton, and Rob Warner — were unable to commit to another season. Some were moving out of the territory. Others had work commitments. Others were new dads.

“Life happens for the players,” said Johnson.

Being part of the team and all that entails — the toll hockey takes on your body, keeping in certain physical condition, and attending practices and games, both home and away — isn’t necessarily too much on its own, he said. However, when you layer that on top of everything else, including for some players, being on recreational teams and coaching minor hockey, the workload can become unsustainable.

Johnson, who has been general manager for a year, said that when he started with the Huskies, he expected funding to be the most difficult component of keeping the team together. Instead, he said, the local business community was quick to offer its support.

“I think in general the community, as small as we are, we like to go to Takhini at the end of the day and watch hockey,” he said. “So this is a sad turn of events.”

He said the difficulty with hockey at the senior men’s level, is that teams are often made up of guys at different periods in their lives. It’s not unique to the Huskies, who have gone on a similar hiatus a couple of times since the team was founded in 1992, once for 16 years. That’s just the way it is across Canada.

“It’s not a dying level, but it’s a level that very few select teams survive in long term,” said Johnson.

He said a group of players like the Huskies, as they were in their Coy Cup-winning incarnation this year, comes along once every couple of generations. There was talk among the board and coaching staff of filling the gaps left by the departing players, but they ultimately decided against it.

“We all know who’s (in the territory) and we know the skill levels and the depth wasn’t there,” he said.

He said they also could have made some calls around the country and brought up seven or eight players from elsewhere, but decided against it.

“That’s not what the Huskies was about. Part of our mission was we were going to do this with local talent, which we did.”

“At the end of the day it’s better to do it this way than to put a subpar product.”

The Huskies would have played their first games this season Dec. 8.

Contact the Yukon News at editor@yukon-news.com

hockeyWhitehorse Huskies

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

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read