Yukon Inn lives up to top seed

Carmacks' James Billy ended his oldtimer hockey career on top. After playing in the Whitehorse Oldtimer Hockey League for more than a decade, the Yukon Inn goalie helped his team take the league title on Friday at the Canada Games Centre.

Carmacks’ James Billy ended his oldtimer hockey career on top.

After playing in the Whitehorse Oldtimer Hockey League for more than a decade, the Yukon Inn goalie helped his team take the league title on Friday at the Canada Games Centre.

“I couldn’t have done it without all the guys here,” said Billy. “We gelled right from the first game and everybody did their part.”

Yukon Inn captured the oldtimer title with a 5-2 win over the Firth Rangers on Thursday and a 4-1 win Friday. In the two-game final format, after losing Thursday the Rangers needed to win in regulation on Friday to push the game to an overtime that would decide the league champions.

“They were actually close games, well played,” said Yukon Inn forward Sean McLeish. “Both teams played hard but responsibly. There was no chippiness out there. We didn’t pull away until late in the second period.”

Yukon Inn finished the regular season in first with a 23-11-8 record. Billy was the top goalie in the league with a 2.68 goals against average, posting four shutouts during the regular season.

“Firth had some pretty good shooters,” said Billy. “My defence let me see the puck and what I didn’t stop, they stopped.

“We gelled as a team and all came together at the crucial time.”

Firth went into the playoffs seventh out of nine teams with a losing 15-19-8 record. The Rangers defeated Medicine Chest 5-2 on April 9 to reach the final.

“We kind of put it together. We were missing lots of players,” said Rangers captain Dave Ecker. “We played five or six games with just three defencemen … When you play with just three defenceman, there’s not much you can do but just survive.”

The Rangers were missing Greg Charlie, who was third in the league for points during the regular season with 34 goals and 34 assists. They also lost goalie Eugene Johnson to an injury sustained during the Yukon Native Hockey Tournament last month.

“They have lots of speed. They play hockey, I’m not sure what it is we play,” added Ecker. “(Goalie) Glen (Traverse) gave us a chance, but it was too much for him too.”

Yukon Inn took control of Friday’s game in the second. Starting the period tied 1-1, Yukon Inn centre Gord Campbell scored his second and third of the game for a natural hat trick. He also had two assists in Thursday’s game.

Campbell finished fourth in points during the regular season with 31 goals and 37 assists.

“Gordie’s really fast but also really quick,” said McLeish. “He’s solid with the puck and can stickhandle through two or three guys routinely and makes great passes. He set me up a number of times this year.”

Chad Cowan, who was second on the team in scoring, got Yukon Inn’s final goal of the season on Friday and had two in Thursday’s game. Lawrence Ignace, Pat Tobler and McLeish also scored on Thursday.

Brian McWatters scored the Rangers’ one goal on Friday while Mike Gau and Mike Rispin scored on Thursday.

Rispin was second in the league for points during the regular season with 33 goals and 37 assists.

“We’re a good group of guys and everyone played a contributing role,” said McLeish. “All year we played good defence – we didn’t blow people out. We had close, good games against every team in the league.

“We all share the puck, pass it well and get back to play some pretty good defence. I think that was our secret this year.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Benjamin Poudou, Mount MacIntyre’s ski club manager, poses for a photo in the club’s ski rental area on Nov. 16. The club has sold around 1,850 passes already this year, compared to 1067 passes on Oct. 31 last year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Early season ski pass sales up as Yukoners prepare for pandemic winter

Season passe sales at Mount McIntyre for cross-country skiing are up by around 60 per cent this year

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read