Huskies to play first game at home next weekend

Huskies to play first game at home next weekend

Joined: October 19th, 2008, 6:05 am

November 25th, 2009, 4:42 pm #1

Whitehorse Star
By Annalee Grant on November 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm

The Whitehorse Huskies have been revived after a 16 year hiatus, and the team will play their first games at home in Whitehorse next weekend.

The Huskies, led by coach and former Husky Randy Merkel will face off against the Powell River Regals on Friday Nov. 20 and Saturday Nov. 21 at Takhini Arena after a full month of practices.

Newly hired general manager Jim King says the team has been through a fairly rigorous training session, and are ready for their first games.

“There’s some pretty talented hockey players in Whitehorse,” he said. “I can tell you that the players have really stepped up their game.”

King says the team has chosen the right goalies for the job.

“We have two very talented goalies,” he said.

Merkel says the team is made up of only Whitehorse players at the moment.

“The team is at this point 100 per cent local,” said Merkel. The team will remain that way for the beginning of the season, but as they get closer to the playoffs for the coveted Allan Cup, they may change up the roster and bring in out of town players.

That decision will be based in part on next weekend’s tournament, once Merkel is able to see how his team performs together.

“We’re going to see at that point where we sit,” he said.

Bringing in outside players will bring the team up to Triple A calibre hockey, Merkel says. The upcoming games will give him a chance to see what level the team is already playing at.

Merkel and King are hoping to host home games at least every month, bringing in teams from outside Whitehorse. The next games are tentatively scheduled for December.

“We don’t know what those games are going to be,” said Merkel.

This year the Allan Cup, the trophy Triple A teams compete for, is being held in Dawson Creek, B.C. and hosted by Fort St. John. The tournament was moved to Dawson Creek due to construction on a new arena in the host city.

Fort St. John gets an automatic buy in to the tournament for hosting. Merkel says this is the best year for Whitehorse to rejoin the Triple A league. At this point it appears the Huskies will have to take a best of five against Powell River later in the season to get their chance at the Allan Cup.

“It doesn’t get any easier than this to get a run at the Allan Cup,” said Merkel.

It’s a trophy that the Huskies are familiar with – in their final year as a team, 1992, the Huskies brought the Allan Cup back home to Whitehorse. It was the last year of play the Huskies had until now.

“It has been 16 years since the last Triple A hockey game was played in Whitehorse,” King said.

Merkel says Triple A men’s hockey is a high calibre of hockey that doesn’t have an active league. Many of the teams that compete for the Allan Cup play as Double A during the regular season, then form Triple A later on by adding higher ranked players.

This may give an advantage to the Huskies, and allow them to be a threat to the Allan Cup in their first year back.

“We’re starting from scratch,” said Merkel.

The Huskies have taken on all the costs associated with bringing the Regals to Whitehorse for the two game series next weekend.

“The games in Whitehorse are going to be a lot of fun,” said King. “The only part that’s not fun is that it’s expensive.”

Tickets for the event are $12, but King says the tickets are not for the team to make money.

“The $12 ticket price is to offset some of the cost,” said King. “This is not a money making deal.”

The Whitehorse Bantam and Midget Mustangs will be helping out with 50/50 draws in exchange for fund raising for their clubs.

Despite the costs and the challenges the team must face in its first year back, King says the players are stepping up to the plate.

“There’s interest, the players are keen,” he said.

Even though the Huskies stopped playing in Whitehorse 16 years ago, the dream of holding the cup again has never died. King says it would be incredible for the Huskies to get to bring the trophy back to the north this season, after the hiatus.

“It’s given quite a spark to some of the players,” said King.

Tickets will be available at the gate at Takhini Arena. Friday’s game starts at 8 p.m. and Saturday’s game will begin at 6 p.m.

Joined: January 25th, 2005, 2:48 pm

November 25th, 2009, 5:30 pm #2

but wasn't Nov. 20 and 21 last week? What happened - somebody?

Joined: October 19th, 2008, 6:05 am

November 25th, 2009, 6:37 pm #3

sorry, a little out of order and a bit late, but thought people might like to know whats happening in whitehorse with the new team

Joined: October 6th, 2008, 4:08 am

November 26th, 2009, 12:14 am #4

thanks for the update Oswald... I guess this pretty much confirms that Powell River is AAA, which would also make one think that Dawson Creek will eventually be announced as the Coy Cup host.

Go Stamps Go!
Go Stamps Go!