The Juneau Peewee youth hockey team struck gold when it went north to the Yukon earlier this month.
The Peewees (born 1992-93) won the gold medal at the Yukon Amateur Hockey Association's Peewee Championships, held March 5-6 in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. They were the first Juneau youth team to travel to a organized tournament.
Juneau beat the Dawson City boys 9-0 and the Dawson City girls 14-5 in their early games March 5, then lost to Watson Lake 6-3 in the late game.
Tom Rutecki, one of Juneau's coaches, reported that the team had arrived in Skagway on the ferry after midnight on March 5, and then got up at 6:40 a.m. for the two-hour drive to Whitehorse. The team was exhausted by the time they played Watson Lake at 6:30 p.m.
Still, Juneau's 2-1 record qualified it for the March 6 championship game - a rematch with Watson Lake. With a good night's sleep, the Juneau players used strong teamwork on offense and defense to post a 3-2 win over Watson Lake to win the gold medal.
"They played incredibly well as a team and were good on and off the ice," said Lance Miller, another Juneau coach. "It was a good eye-opener for the kids."
In addition to playing, the Juneau team got to watch some strong Whitehorse teams compete in the tourney's other division.
Players making the trip were: Rhett Bennett, Zach Bicknell, Anthony Boyd, Cole Carnahan, Zane Chapman, Garret Cheeseman, Jake Eames, Sam Greene, Trever Held, Zander Hoke, Taylor Lehnhart, Logan Miller, Mario Perez, Nick Rutecki, Eric Verrelli and Matt Whistler. They were coached by Lance Miller, Mario Perez, Tom Rutecki and Chip Verrelli.