More than 500 players from across the Yukon took part in the Toonie Tournament, hosted by Whitehorse Minor Soccer, raising food and more than $1,200 in cash for the Whitehorse Foodbank on Dec. 8 and 9. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Whitehorse Minor Soccer’s Toonie Tournament raises money and food for food bank

‘We doubled the amount of food we had last year’

Whitehorse Minor Soccer hosted its annual Toonie Tournament on Dec. 8 and 9 at the Canada Games Centre raising money and food for the Whitehorse Food Bank.

More than 500 players on 49 teams from across the Yukon took part in the futsal tournament, including sides from Dawson City and Haines Junction.

Lisa-Marie Vowk, executive director for WMS, said that this year’s tournament was more successful than last year.

“This year we raised $1,251.20 and we had a huge amount of food,” said Vowk. “We doubled the amount of food we had last year.”

The tournament doesn’t award medals for finishing first, second or third, instead choosing to focus on the fundraising.

“We found it was getting far too serious and the fun was getting lost. There was no fundraising, it wasn’t really a highlight, so two years ago we changed the whole idea,” said Vowk.

In place of medals, tournament organizers give out awards in each division for most food donated, most money donated and a fair play award.

Vowk said players are often impressed by the large trophy for fair play and want to win the award.

“We tell them how to win that trophy is to be a good sportsman, to be out there and be respectful to your players, your coaches, your referees and your parents,” said Vowk.

The futsal season starts in October and runs until March, so this tournament is a natural midpoint and allows for coaches to gauge the progress of their teams prior to the Christmas break.

“We’ve just played for two and a half months, so they’re ready to have their first test in a tournament to see how their teams are doing,” said Vowk. “What they can do from here, between now and the Yukon championships in March, is fine tune their teams a little bit.”

Michael Lauer, president of WMS, said the tournament allows players to do something for the community.

“We’re happy to work with the food bank and have the kids giving back to the community. They have fun playing soccer, but there is also a social responsibility message with the proceeds going to the food bank,” said Lauer. “Some of the kids, especially at the younger ages, might not be thinking about the food bank, so it’s a way of bringing in a bit of awareness as well.”

The tournament gave out awards in four different age divisions.

In the division for players born in 2010 and 2011, Metro Chrysler won the award for most food donated with 136 items, Smart Choice Business Machines won the award for most money donated with $223 and Dawson City Lions #2 won the fair play award.

In the FUNdamentals 1 division, Jack’s Bistro won the award for most food donated with 106 items, Up North Adventures won the award for most money donated with $59 and Locksmith Services won the fair play award.

In the FUNdamentals 2 division, Yukon Yamaha won the award for most food donated with 408 items, Castle Rock Enterprises won the award for most money donated with $119 and Salé Salvage won the fair play award.

In the intermediate boys and girls division, Haines Packing Company won the award for most food donated with 191 items, Coldwell Banker won the award for most money donated with $53 and Haines Junction Eagles girls side won the fair play award.

Futsal is an indoor form of soccer played on a hard surface with lines to mark the boundaries rather than boards like other indoor soccer variants.

The next major futsal tournament in Whitehorse is the Yukon championships in March.

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

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