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Who’s back in action and who isn’t in Yellowknife? Depends on the sport

With the city and its unionized employees finally getting together on a new collective bargaining agreement, that means city-run facilities can open their doors again.
Megan Koehler, left, and Cole Parsons put down the brooms on Margot Flemming’s delivery during the NWT Mixed Curling Championship at the Yellowknife Curling Centre in March 2022. The centre has decided to end its programming for this season, even though the strike has ended. NNSL file photo

With the city and its unionized employees finally getting together on a new collective bargaining agreement, that means city-run facilities can open their doors again.

So who’s back and who’s out? Depends on what sport you’re talking about.

The five-week work stoppage has meant there will be no more action when it comes to such sports as hockey and curling. The Yk Rec Hockey League confirmed in an e-mail to Yellowknifer that its season is now done and all outstanding monies not spent have been refunded to its teams.

When it comes to determining its champions, Charles Wyman, the league’s president, said the regular season champions have been awarded the titles. That means Ace has been declared champs of the A division, while Aurora Ford won the B division.

The cancellation of the rest of the season also means that the Easter Rec Hockey Tournament has now been gutted for a fourth consecutive year. It didn’t happen between 2020 and 2022 because of the pandemic.

As well, the Balsillie Cup oldtimers tournament has been cancelled; Wyman said the deadline was March 10 to make it viable.

The Yellowknife Curling Centre has also decided to wrap up its affairs for this season. In a post on its Facebook page on March 18, the board of directors decided after “much discussion and careful consideration” to keep the club closed for the rest of this season.

The post also stated that a letter has gone out to the membership explaining the reasons why, along with details about refunds for league fees still outstanding.

But not everyone is in the same boat as hockey and curling.

The Yellowknife Bay Soccer Club, known as the Sundogs, are planning on getting back to action at the Fieldhouse this coming Monday.

Joe Acorn, the club’s president, said that there would have been no action this week because of March break, but he’s looking forward to action resuming on the pitch.

“We got an e-mail from the city asking us what we wanted to do and we’re planning on going back,” he said.

The Sundogs had to get creative while the strike was ongoing — it found space at N.J. Macpherson School so the players could get some sort of practice and training while locked out of the Fieldhouse.

Acorn said the gym there served its purpose quite well.

“We focused on individual player development more because of the smaller space, things like passing and movement,” he said.

The Yellowknife Women’s Hockey League, or Yk Robins, had originally planned on shutting the doors for the remainder of its season, but there are plans in the works to try and get back out on the ice at the Multiplex.

Karen Brown, the league’s president, said the league has reached out to the city to see if there’s any chance of getting ice time now that things have opened up.

“We would love to get back out there and have some skates and even have our year-end tournament,” she said. “If the ice is available, we’d love to end things on a good note for this season, but we’re at the mercy of the city right now.”