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 Yukon First Nations Hockey Association cancelled this year’s tournament on March 13. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)

Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The cancellation was announced in a press release on March 13

The Yukon First Nations Hockey Association (YFNHA) formally cancelled its 43rd annual Yukon Native Hockey Tournament on March 13 over concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a release made public just after 9 a.m., the organization announced the cancellation stating that after consulting with the Yukon’s deputy chief medical officer of health Dr. Catherine Elliott, the board of directors made the “difficult decision.”

“While this was an incredibly difficult decision for our board to make, we do believe that it was the right thing to do in light of the circumstances and the many unknowns concerning COVID-19,” Michelle Dawson-Beattie, president of the YFNHA, said in the statement. “The possibility of infection of any of our tournament goers and the subsequent threat that would pose to their families and home communities was not a risk our board was willing to take.”

The release said that information about refunding team fees and tournament passes will be released in the upcoming days.

Dawson-Beattie told the News that the cancellation of the Arctic Winter Games led the board to take a second look at the tournament.

“Before that, there was no thought of cancelling,” she said. “Once Arctic Winter Games cancelled, we thought maybe we should have a second look at this.”

While the decision was difficult, Dawson-Beattie stressed the safety aspect was not the difficult part.

“It was difficult in the sense that we know (what) the gathering of the tournament … means to people,” said Dawson-Beattie. “It’s an annual event that everybody looks forward to, so we kind of feel like by cancelling it, we’re letting people down. But the health and safety of our players and our fans is number one, and the health and safety of their home communities when they leave here.”

The tournament is one of the largest annual sporting events held in Whitehorse.

Last year’s tournament included a total of 43 teams in six divisions. Prize money for winning the “A” division last season was $6,000.

This year’s tournament was scheduled to happen March 27 to 29 at both the Tahkini Arena and the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse and would have included 44 teams. Tournament registration filled up for this year’s event in just one hour.

Rescheduling the tournament wasn’t an option, Dawson-Beattie said, because the ice is typically removed following the tournament and a fall rescheduling would be too difficult to manage with next year’s tournament looming in the spring.

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

Coronavirushockey

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

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP are making an appeal for information in the case of Mary Ann Ollie, who was murdered in Ross River last year and whose case remains unsolved. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read