Team Yukon athletes, volunteers and officials meet in 2020 to celebrate their hard work, despite the cancellation of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games. PHOTO: Courtesy of Sport Yukon

Some activities and events will look different this year, but Yukoners can still get their sport on

It’s been a tough couple years for sports, and the pandemic has taken a big bite out of many of the outdoor activities we love, but the dedicated members of Sport Yukon have adapted to the best of their ability to bring sports to the territory this summer. 

Sport Yukon is a member organization which includes sport governing bodies, clubs and associations that offer a variety of sport, recreation and other community-based programs. Typically, the biggest annual summer event Sport Yukon is their annual fundraiser, the Klondike Road Relay, a 175 KM foot race extending from Skagway, AK, to Whitehorse which first took place in 1983. Last year’s edition had to be cancelled due to COVID and a virtual event was hosted to make up for the cancellation. While what this summer will look like is still unclear in many ways, Sport Yukon is determined to host a relay in some form and is asking potential attendees to stay tuned for info on the 2021 “Kinda-Klondike” Road Relay.

Several more sports are slated to start up once the snow is gone, including softball and soccer. Additionally, Flatwater Paddling, Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club, Yukon Orienteering Association and Athletics Yukon are expected to offer summer programming. Polarettes Gymnastics, Aboriginal Sport Circle, Wolfpack Basketball and Glacier Bears Swim Club have been operating indoors all year and should continue to operate during the summer. 

The City of Whitehorse offers camps for youth and will continue to do so this year, with some modified programming and safety measures. 

Many guidelines for summer sport’s programs in the territory revolve around the usual steps to control the spread of the pandemic: masks, distancing, sanitizing, gathering limits, etc.It can be complicated to ensure all these things happen with certain team sports, so it is important for Sport Yukon’s members to have thorough plans for how their guidelines will look.

To participate in Polarettes Gymnastics’ summer programming for example, all athletes must wear masks and keep plastic bags to store their masks in the event that they are removed. Members must also wash their hands thoroughly before entering the facilities, declare their health and travel history and show up dressed to play, as changing rooms are closed. The facilities also have a one-way traffic flow to prevent crowding. 

Softball Yukon’s return-to-play protocols include the league being required to play in bubbles, each of no more than 60 people. Players are also required to wash their hands before entering the dugouts and discouraged from having team meetings. Community water jugs are not permitted, and players must have their own personal water bottles. Equipment is also not allowed to be shared amongst players. Necessary cleaning will take place between games. Luckily, during sports like softball, players are able to stand very far apart.

To learn more about Sport Yukon, visit sportyukon.com