Canadians here to show Yukon do it

Whitehorse Goldpuckers player Greg Lane controls the puck in a match against Jurassics during a...
Whitehorse Goldpuckers player Greg Lane controls the puck in a match against Jurassics during a Masters Games fixture at the Dunedin Ice Stadium yesterday. Jurassics player Greg Rotto of Queenstown gives chase. PETER MCINTOSH
Have you heard the one about the crazy Canadians who travelled all the way from the Yukon to Dunedin to play a handful of ice hockey games?

That would be like a handful of Dutchmen going to Brazil to have their clogs fitted.

But it is no joke. Ten hardy men, and some family members, have switched real ice for the rink at the Dunedin Ice Stadium.

It is a round trip of more than 25,000km and sounds a little mad. But not according to 52-year-old Greg Lane. It would have been mad not to come as far as he was concerned.

And, actually, it was a New Zealander who got the puck sliding. Aucklander Bernie Brantsma took a team to Whitehorse ``a few years back, believe it or not'', Lane said.

The relationships which were forged on that trip inspired the men to travel to Dunedin to compete at the Masters Games.

``That's when we heard about this tournament. A bunch of us signed up and here we are.''

Most of the men live and work in Whitehorse - population 25,085. It is about a two-and-a-half-hour flight north of Vancouver.

While it sounds remote, it is actually the largest ``city'' in Northern Canada.

Mining, forestry and tourism are the major industries and there is a ``big government presence'' in Whitehorse.

Lane is an information technology manager for a workers compensation board but he loves the outdoors, which is ironic, given the daily mean temperature in February is -12.7degC.

``It is minus 30 in Whitehorse today, so we're happy to be here,'' he said.

``We have snow on the ground five to six months of the year.''

So no shortage of ice, then?


Lane's wife Carolyn has joined him on the trip and the couple have been ``touring around''. After the Masters Games they plan to take in the sights during the next two weeks before heading home.

``It is beautiful here,'' he said.''

The Whitehorse Goldpuckers, as they call themselves, started off with an 8-0 win against the Gore Grizzlies on Wednesday but lost 3-0 to Jurassics (Queenstown) yesterday.

Lane loves his ice hockey but it is the excuse, not the reason, for being here.

``It is more about the experience. This is one of the places I've always wanted to come to, so when I saw I could combine playing hockey, escaping winter and coming to a beautiful country, I leapt at it.''


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