Dawson City, Yukon Friday, November 29, 1996


RELIVING AN HISTORICAL EVENT...Dawson hockey players will retrace the steps of the Dawson City Nuggets, who travelled 4,000 miles to compete in the Stanley Cup in 1904-5.

Feature Stories

Dawson City 7 Make Major Headlines Across Canada
Recreation Board back to Square One
Viceroy Pours First Gold
RCMP Make Themselves at Home at School
Dawson Tops Smokers List
The Dawson City Invitational Volleyball Tournament
Bazaar Raises Money for Christmas Tree Association

Dawson City 7 Make Major Headlines Across Canada

Reprinted with permission from Terrance Wills and the Montreal Gazette

So badly mauled were the Dawson City Nuggets by the Ottawa Silver Seven in that long-ago final, that in the closing period the Klondikers had eight unanswered goals shoved past them.

Most of them by one player.

Who was half blind.

One-Eyed Frank McGee scored 14 goals in all in that game -- a Stanley Cup record that Gretzky, Messier and Lindros -- combined -- will never match. The Nuggets' goals-against record has also stood -- fortunately for the sake of the game. The age of the Nuggets' goalie -- 17-year-old Albert Forrest, originally of Trois-Rivieres -- remains a record as well, and despite the embarrassing loss, Forrest was praised as a star of the game.

It's hard to believe, but without Forrest's splendid goalkeeping, the score would have been worse, according to newspaper accounts of the day. The distorted tally might suggest that hockey-playing Yukon miners should stay in the minors, should stick to panning for their sports rewards in the far north.

But they're not going to: in March, a team of amateur, hockey-loving Dawsonites are scheduled to leave the gold city by dog sled to retrace the gruelling voyage taken by the 1905 team. They'll play the Ottawa Senators Alumni.

The challenge back in 1906 stirred the excitement of Canadians across the country and piqued press interest in Europe and the U.S. as the Yukon team fought snowstorms and an avalanche, rough seas on a freighter, and a long cross-country train journey, to reach the Stanley Cup match. It took them 23 days in all and they were dog-tired by the time they stepped on the ice. "But they were absolutely convinced they'd win and bring the Stanley Cup back here and then keep it here forever - what team would travel to Dawson to get it back?" Dawsonite Pat Hogan said recently over a brew with the hockey gang at Diamond Tooth Gertie's Gambling Hall.

Like much of downtown Dawson, with its wooden sidewalks and dirt streets and not one stoplight, Gertie's has been restored to its wood-frame glory in the years following the 1896 gold strike that brought 30,000 treasure-seekers over the frozen mountains in the Klondike Rush. Their trek over the Chilkoot Pass and the White Pass and down the Yukon River by raft was echoed in the trying voyage the Nuggets underwent to challenge Ottawa's Silver Seven for hockey's foremost prize. (Back then, there were seven players on the ice, with an extra roving forward, and they played the full game with no substitutes).

The seven players from Dawson, chosen as the best of the Yukon, began their 4,000 mile journey by dog sled in December 1904. Three started by bicycle -- and ended up walking after the first snowstorm.

They took eight days to cover the 320 miles to Whitehorse. Then an avalanche temporarily knocked out the White Pass and Yukon rail line to Skagway, Alaska, and they missed their schedules ship to Vancouver. They finally got a freighter to Seattle, but the high life, such as it was, in the Alaskan port town after isolated Dawson and the long, lonely tramp to Whitehorse, was costly on their training. "Hanging out in Skagway did nothing for the team," says Kevin Anderson, another of Dawson's hockey enthusiasts.

"They were in serious liver training," Hogan said.

The partying continued on the train from Seattle to Vancouver, but then the seven turned to working out -- in the smoking car -- on the transcontinental rail trip. Crowds turned out in Prairie communities to cheer them on in hopes the coveted cup would be brought west for the first time. Back then, it was truly a challenge cup. The hurdle for a would-be challenger was to muster enough popular support that a team like the Silver Seven which boasted the top stars of the day, would be obliged to put the cup on the line. That's where "Big Thinking" that marked the Yukon gold rush and the larger-than-life characters behind it, came into play. Joe Boyle, known as the King of the Klondike, promoted the match. Boyle was born in Toronto in the year of confederation and went off to sea in his teens. By his 20s he was a boxer and promoter who joined in the Klondike rush in 1897. By the turn of the century he owned the biggest, richest claim, which was mined by giant dredges, making him a millionaire several times over.

He financed his own machine gun company in World War One and roamed Russia and Romania, seeking to save the royal families. "He is a man in a million and I thank God, Providence, Fate, whatever strange fate put him on my road." Queen Marie of Romania wrote in her diary in the summer of 1918. "Boyle's relentless energy and almost hypnotic power over others -- I never saw such a man, such willpower..."

Boyle's titles included the Distinguished Service Order, the Croix de Guerre and grand Officer of the Star of Romania.

This is the man who promoted the 1905 Stanley Cup challenge by his Dawson City Nuggets, urging them on their epic journey from the north.

In the first game of the best two out of three series, the travel exhausted Nuggets held the Silver Seven to a 9-3 victory, despite having their best player; Norman Watt, and their young goalie, Forrest, spend much of the game in the penalty box.

It was a rough game, "Watt tripped Moore, who gave the Dawson man a stick across the mouth, putting him down. Watt then skated across the rink and struck Moore over the head putting him out for ten minutes," said the news account in the Yukon World.

The Nuggets held One-Eyed McGee, Ottawa's best player, who averaged nearly a hat trick per game in his career, to just one goal. This induced the Dawsonites to repair to a local bar and boast they'd win the next match by bottling up MaGee.

Next day, an incensed MaGee scored three goals in 90 seconds on his way to accounting for 14 goals in the 23-2 rout. He was later killed in France in World War One.

The current Dawson team is a local powerhouse ("We've lost only one tournament in the last 27" Anderson said), but would hardly be a match for the NHL veterans on the Ottawa Senators Alumini.

The Nuggets played some of the Legends on Ice -- Maurice and Henri Richard, Frank Mahovlich, J.C. Tremblay, Steve Shutt -- a few years back in Dawson. "We were doing alright till they came up from quarter-throttle in the second period." Hogan recalled. "We put out this little weeny net with a huge goalie stick and Shutt skated through us, juggling the puck on his stick, and flipped it in."

Hogan and his team-mates, as well as Yukon MP Audrey McLaughlin, have been talking to the Ottawa Senators for months, in fact years, to arrange a replay of the 1905 contest.

This week the Nuggets and the Senators Alumni settled on Saturday March 22, for an afternoon game at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

"We'll be arriving in our prospectors outfits -- the costumes of period -- after following the same route taken by the 1905 team, including getting out of here by dog team," Hogan said this week by phone from Dawson, where the thermometer has already dipped to minus -38C and there's ice across the Yukon River. "And we'll be bringing Diamond Tooth Gertie and her Can Can girls with us for a show between periods."

Former Senators Captain Brad Marsh, now spokesman for the Ottawa club, has set up the game with the Alumni, for whom he plays. It's not been easy to co-ordinate, given the distances.

We've been talking across thousands of miles." Marsh remarked, "But we got some ideas now on how to turn it into a real Klondike Day event, including the Friday night. A casino, prizes, a big band, dancing, with the proceeds to charity."

The Dawson team, many of them prospectors, have already collected 30 ounces of gold, including some nuggets, to put up as prize money, which the winning team will give to charity."

The Dawson team, many prospectors, have already collected 30 ounces of gold, including some nuggets, to put up as prize money, which the winning team will give to charity.

"Hopefully, it will be a grand weekend." Marsh said.

Hogan hopes so, too -- although the Dawson team is not looking for an upset win. "We aspire to a 23-2 defeat solely in the interest of historical accuracy," Hogan said.

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Recreation Board back to Square One

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

The Dawson Recreation Board is back to square one in its proposed six step process towards the creation of a new recreation centre in Dawson City. The public meeting held to establish the site and give city council the go-ahead to develop a conceptual plan stalled at the level of site selection.

There are a variety of ways to judge the success of a meeting. The November 19 special gathering shows several of them.

The stated purpose of the meeting was to assess the land use possibilities of Block Q, the current Gold Rush Campground, which is the plot of land on which city council had instructed the board to look when planning its new recreation centre.

Such was the vocal opposition to Block Q, for a variety of reasons from size, to location and land suitability, that the board must take back the message that the public meeting rejected the site by a wide majority.

So was the meeting a failure?

Those board members and recreation users who still want to discuss placing the new facility elsewhere wouldn't say so. They managed to put forward a clear preference for returning to the plan of placing the structure just south of the downtown area, beneath the cliffs known as Crocus Bluff.

Neither Mayor Glen Everitt nor Councillor Shirley Pennell would be able to return to the next city council planning meeting without reporting that this was the message they were given.

So in that sense, there were certainly some members of the recreation board, particularly meeting chair Monna Sprokkreeff, who would have to feel vindicated by the discussion.

No one argued against the plan to spend up to $6 million in a phased plan to replace our aging structures, beginning with the community's identified priorities of a swimming pool and an arena. As recreation director Peter Menzies noted, the community has a temporary breathing space between sewer and water crises for the first time in more than a decade, and it's time to start looking at other priorities before the window closes.

The present plan is the end product of a process that began back in 1991, but with all of the city's resources being flushed away in water and sewer repairs, there really has been no opportunity to address the issues financially until now.

Before things can begin, however, a plan of action must be adopted, and there are two major plans now vying for the community's attention and money.

That was the second major surprise of the November 19 meeting, a brand new proposal from our new mayor, complete with a very basic site plan, to recycle and upgrade the existing Bonanza Centre.

Loosely based on an old plan once developed and rejected by the recreation department, this proposal would see Diamond Tooth Gerties detached from the rec centre and moved across 4th Ave, leaving that land for the development of a pool and enlargement of the arena.

Gerties would grow a convention centre in its new location and the Bonanza Centre would be renovated and upgraded from an aging eyesore into a "new" and more useful recreation centre.

This scheme, which seems to have passed from rumour to proposal quite quickly, has the advantage of being cheaper, and of using some of the existing structure and site. An indoor pool - the highest rated item in every survey over the last 6 years - could be built fairly quickly and put into operation. This is important when you consider that the current outdoor pool is becoming less and less viable each year.

The arena, the other part of any plan, is intended to extend the ice season in Dawson and also provide a building with a decent floor which could comfortably be used for other activities in the other three seasons.

Most people at the meeting had not heard of this plan before and it took the group by surprise, shifting the discussion well away from the original intention of the meeting. Those listening to the meeting over CFYT-fm could have had only a dim idea of what a surprise this was.

The meeting then began to dance around and around the same basic land and parking issues, to the point where local curler Duff Felker finally got up to leave, noting that the board should call another meeting once the location issue was settled and the two plans were sorted out.

No question. If it was the recreation board's intention to move quickly on this issue, having to stop to compare two sites and two plans will probably slow things down quite a bit. The resulting debate may, however, clarify exactly what is needed and what can be afforded.

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Viceroy Pours First Gold

Press Release

Viceroy Resource Corporation poured its first gold bar Friday amid great celebration. This is the result of years of work and investment to bring the mine into production.

Trevor Harding, Minister of Economic Development said he was happy for the Viceroy organization in what is a momentous time for any mining operation. "This is the first pay day that comes from a tremendous amount of work by many people. I'm also happy to see support from so many Yukon people for this project and I am confident that there will be continued jobs and other economic benefits from a strong and vibrant mining industry," Harding said, "This company has demonstrated a good track record so far in dealing with First Nations, local hiring and use of local contractors. They've also met their environmental obligations under existing processes."

The Brewery Creek property, located 58 kilometers due east of Dawson City, was first discovered by Noranda Exploration in 1987. Loki Gold optioned the property in 1990 and began an aggressive program to bring the property from exploration to development status. a total of $17 million was spent prior to the start of construction.

The Brewery Creek mine is utilizing a heap leach technology. This is the first time such technology has been used in the far north and it offers exciting possibilities for future mining development of its kind in the Yukon.

Another breakthrough development is the company's use of a waste oil burning system. The waste oil is collected from as far away as Whitehorse and safely disposed of in the mine plant. The company is in a position to dispose of all waste oil Yukoners can presently produce.

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RCMP Make Themselves at Home at School

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Every Wednesday the RCMP visit the Robert Service School. It's not that there are serious problems. Instead, it's part of a regular program to get the force more involved with the young people of the community, and help students to see the police as more than someone they might encounter if they got into trouble.

Constable Brenda Butterworth-Carr, the coordinator of the new program, sees it as a positive addition to activities the police have been doing in the past.

For some years now the RCMP have offered the Police Assisting Community Education (PACE) program as well as the more native oriented Aboriginal Shield Program. These two programs are designed to be presented by officers who have taken special training. The detachment's concern was simply that when only two members were regularly in the school, that left everyone else pretty much a mystery.

In addition the PACE program covers only grades 4 to 9.

"We didn't think that that covered everyone. We didn't want to exclude the senior grades."

The detachment has divided the year in two. For the first half they've been visiting the elementary grades, kindergarten to grade 6. Sometimes it means talking with students and answering questions, sometimes it's just helping out if the class is going on a field trip and the teacher could use an extra pair of hands.

"(The members) are very receptive to this. We've even had members in finger painting with some of the kids. It's strictly to improve relations with them, to make them feel comfortable with us and know that we are their friends." In this way, if the students need the police for some reason, they will already know them and feel comfortable with them.

"At first it was 'Wow! Lookit! They're here.'" But the police have now become a normal part of school life.

"When we initially went in one of the things we did was to explain what we had, what we carried, what was on our persons, what all the little gadgets on the belts were for. That's one of the most fascinating things to them, along with how do we use them and when, and if we have used them."

Sometimes they visit a class to discuss issues. Butterworth-Carr explains: "What we decided is that we would get together with the teachers as a group and find out specifically what they wanted us to teach in their classes or what they wanted us to talk about.

Issues might include things like pushing and shoving on the schoolground, vandalism, mischief. Or they might include such things as career opportunities within the force.

She said that one teacher simply felt it would be good for some of her students to meet the police at a point when they weren't in trouble, that too many of them had already had too many negative interactions with the legal authorities.

The kids have raised issues like why society needs rules, opening up the opportunity to discuss the function of rules, both inside and outside of school.

The program isn't just for the kids. It's also intended to give people like teachers improved access to the members of the force and create times when the two worlds can communicate.

Butterworth-Carr says the response has been excellent.

"I've been here two years now, and I notice that even with the high school students there's been a major change from last year, both in attitude as well as them talking to me. Even out of work or outside of the school if they see me. Especially this year with the elementary students and with the teachers there's been a very good response.

"We've had a lot of positive feedback with this because they get to know everybody. It's also beneficial for the members because they get to know the students as well as the teachers."

In addition, it provides a building orientation for the police, who might be called to the school on other official business or an emergency and now know the layout better.

"We didn't want to run into the problem of having a member show up at the school and never being there before, knowing how to find his way around or who even some of the teachers were. So this way everyone gets a hands on opportunity to deal with each of the members. All the members deal with all the different classes."

In the second half of the year, the focus will shift somewhat to the senior grades. The detachment already sees a need to cover such topics as impaired driving and related issues.

"It's not particularly going to be preaching to them. It'll be more like 'if you do this, these are the consequences you face'."

Butterworth-Carr says that the new program seems to taken a lot of uneasiness out of relations between the RCMP and some of the students at the school. After a month and a half she sees an opening of opportunities for communication that weren't there before.

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Dawson Tops Smokers List

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

A survey now being released for discussion by the Dawson Tobacco Reduction Strategy indicates that Dawson residents appear to smoke more per capita than just about anyone else in Canada.

Discussion of the survey results and its implications is a major part of the community's participation in this year's National Addiction Awareness Week.

Rosemary Graham took a year off from nursing last year, but during part of this time she put together a random survey funded by the Yukon Tobacco Reduction Strategy to find out what smoking patterns were in the town. Three young people surveyed made 195 contacts and actually surveyed 157 individuals in town to find out what their smoking habits were.

A territorial survey done in 1993 indicated that 28% of Canadians generally smoke, while Yukoners were high at 33%. Graham's survey beat that percentage hands down, with 47% of those questioned indicating they smoked.

The survey revealed that 25% of the respondents between the ages of 15 and 25 considered themselves light smokers, that is consuming 15 cigarettes or less per day. 37.5% were moderate smokes (15-25 per day) while 19.4% smoked more than 25 cigarettes each day. There are 25 cigarettes in a regular package.

Dawson smokers are more likely to be female (57%) than male (43%). 71% smoke in their homes and 59% in their vehicles, even though they may be transporting children in them.

On the bright side, 52% of those smoking were interested in quitting, usually for health reasons or simply because the habit is so expensive. Most of them had already tried to quit 2 or 3 times.

Graham says that most people who try to quit go cold turkey, which appears to be the least effective method to use. One of the spinoffs of her activity has been a Butt Out support program, which operates on Tuesday nights. She is also advocating training for a community resource person to provide more support programs, a Guide Your Patients to a Smoke Free Future program with the local doctors, a Teen Quit program and Beauty From Within program for teen girls, who seem to smoke a lot more than teen-age boys in this community.

Dawson City is celebrating national Addiction Awareness Week with a variety of activities planned to bring out the positive side of social gatherings. From November 18 to 22 the Tr'ondek Heritage Hall will be the site of workshops, luncheons, a healing circle and coffee house, all intended to bring people together, and get out the messages that go with drug and alcohol awareness.

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The Dawson City Invitational Volleyball Tournament

by Kevin McCauley

Robert Service School hosted its 18th annual Volleyball Tournament on the weekend of November 15-16, organized by the grade 11/12 P.E. class. Twenty-one teams came from Whitehorse, Faro, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks, Haines Junction, and Dawson to compete for victory.

An old rivalry was renewed when the F.H. Collins Warriors played the R.S.S. Knights in the Senior Boys final. The match was an exciting one, but in the end the Knights wound up with the silver medal. In the Senior Girls division, the final match was also between a Whitehorse and Dawson team; The F.H. Collins Warriors, and the R.S.S. Damsels. In a complete upset win, the F.H. Collins Warriors took the gold.

In Junior Boys division play, Christ the King junior secondary took the gold, with the R.S.S. Squires taking silver. Porter Creek took gold in the Junior Girls division, while Eliza Van Bibber school of Pelly Crossing taking the silver.

As the gymnasium cleared out after the final day of playing, Dawson City's medal count stood at 3 silver medals in 3 of the 4 divisions. It was a successful tournament, and a fine taste of what to expect at the Yukon Volleyball Championships being held in Whitehorse from November 29 until December 1, 1996.

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Bazaar Raises Money for Christmas Tree Association

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff


Dawson City Santa and child admirer.

Aside from the haze of exhaust fumes outside the Robert Service School, you might not have realized that it was nearly 40 below in Dawson on Saturday. The street was lined with vehicles that the gymnasium inside was packed with residents for the annual Christmas Bazaar.

Folks had been setting up since the night before and by mid-afternoon the place was packed with adults picking their way among the tables and kids excitedly chasing each other around the room.

The bazaar is the big time of the year for people to show their crafts and home goods. Stuffed toys, Christmas tree ornaments, quilted pillows and hangings and fur lined leather goods all filled the tables.

"Reindeer Food for Sale" read one sign, leaving one to wonder what that might be. The members of the grade 12 class were assembled to raffle off their creation - an enormous Christmas castle made of Rice Krispies and decorated with candies. T-shirts, baked good, wood crafts and many other things were displayed for the Christmas buyer.

Up on the stage nervous children and expectant parents waited to take their turn with Santa, sitting for a picture and a candy cane.

The Klondyke Centennials Society held a special raffle to raise money for the Christmas Tree Association. Robin Buyck won a fully decorated Christmas tree and a delighted Andrea McGee received a cheque for $350 from the KCS's Peggy Amendola.

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