Work to date on the
Whitehorse Indoor Soccer Centre

For the October 1996 City of Whitehorse Multiplex Feasibility Study,69 groups who use or might indoor recreation space in Whitehorse were invited to provide input. No soccer group was invited. At the same time, soccer was (and is) the largest user of gym space in the city. Concerned that indoor soccer would be overlooked in the multiplex process, representatives from Minor, Men's, Women's and YSA formed a committee in late 1997 to promote an Indoor Soccer Centre in Whitehorse. Since then, representatives from the Yukon Climbing Association, the Yukon Selects (elite men), Coed Soccer, Rapids (over-40 men), Aurora AllStars (elite women), Ultimate Frisbee and Athletics Yukon have been added. In November of 2002 the Whitehorse Indoor Soccer Centre Facilities Committee consists of:

Brian Gillen, President, Whitehorse Minor Soccer Association
Dave Stockdale, President, Yukon Soccer Association
Charlie Hoeller, President, Whitehorse Men's Soccer
Crystal Birmingham, President, Whitehorse Women's Soccer
Brenda Casella, President, Whitehorse Coed Soccer
Doug Hitch, Coordinator, Whitehorse Rapids Soccer, Committee Chair
Jacob Hansen, Coordinator, Yukon Selects
Charlie Kelly, Coordinator, Aurora AllStars
Alan Pohl, President, Yukon Climbing Association
Jean-Paul Molgat, President, Yukon Ultimate Frisbee Association
Grant MacDonald, President, Athletics Yukon

Chronology of Events

October 1996
Multiplex Feasibility Study released. No soccer groups were invited to give input.
Late 1996
Individuals in Whitehorse begin contacts with indoor centres in southern Canada, especially Alberta. Research into all aspects of centre development and operation begins.
Fall of 1997
Establishment of the committee.
January-February 1998
An article is submitted by the committee to both local papers. The aim is to inform the community about the issues.
An indoor pitch pitch (Yukon News, January 30, 1998. No online version available)
WMSA executive looking at building soccer arena (Whitehorse Star, February 5, 1998. No online version available)
May 1998
Letters are sent to Mayor and Council stating the intent of the committee to appear before them shortly. Enclosed are the two newspaper articles mentioned above and a brief on the indoor project (Word document).
June 1998
The committee makes its first presentation to City Council on June 22, 1998, and got the headline in the next day's Whitehorse Star: Indoor soccer facility needed, city council told: The Whitehorse Star online archives for that period are no longer available. Indoor Soccer Growth Causes Need For New Facility - Association (Whitehorse Star, June 23, 1998)
October 1998
Yukon News interviews Doug Hitch about the indoor centre movement.
Indoor soccer on a roll (Yukon News, October 23, 1998)
Fall 1998
The committee toured the Kelly-Douglas building, a warehouse on Burns Road, behind the Airport Chalet. There would be enough space for one standard (80'x180') and one shorter field, provided two rows of support columns can be removed. A structural engineer from Vancouver visited the building and claimed the posts could be removed in at least two ways. The committee applied for a $3,000 CDF grant for a feasibility report showing methods and costs of post removal. The application contained letters of support from Mayor Kathy Watson and from Wally Seip, ADM Schools Branch. The grant application was turned down (March 25, 1999). The City of Whitehorse entered into negotiations with the building's owners sometime in 1998 or 1999, and it looks like the City will purchase the building for its operations. It is expensive to heat so might be ideal for broomball.
January 1999
The city agrees to let soccer provide input at the multiplex design stage.
April 1999
On April 15, 1999, the committee made a presentation at the City of Whitehorse's townhall-style meeting about the multiplex. City Council was present. Almost all the other five-minute presentations concerned the location of the multiplex. Soccer's stood out as it addressed the benefit of the sport to the community, in a positive, constructive fashion. Presenters were Grant MacDonald, WMSA President, Angélique Bernard, President of Women's Soccer, Jan Kulicki, VP of YSA, and Doug Hitch, WMSA Director. We all received good comments afterwards. The feeling is that our movement has now succeeded in convincing council and the community of the desirability of including indoor soccer in the City's recreation planning and development.
May 1999
On May 10, 1999, the chair sent a letter to Pierce McDonald, territorial Government Leader (Word document), requesting a meeting at which the committee would propose a three-way partnership among YTG, the City and user groups to build and manage an indoor centre. The letter suggests discussing putting this facility at FH Collins high school, which severely needs a new gym.
August 1999
On August 5, 1999, the committee had a noon hour meeting with the Minister of Education, Lois Moorcroft, in the YTG cabinet meeting room. Soccer was well represented, with delegates from all groups. Each delegate expressed the need for and potential benefit of an indoor centre to their group. Doug Hitch presented a proposal for a three-way partnership among YTG, City, and user groups. Subsequent to the meeting, Doug Hitch made efforts to obtain a letter from the minister, which would state that she understood the need but could not provide any commitment of any kind. These efforts failed.
October 13, 1999
Master planning presentation by the multiplex design architects at the Westmark Hotel. The architects showcase successful facilities in other communities including indoor soccer venues. Soccer is well represented.
November 1, 1999
The committee is invited to City Hall to meet with the multiplex design architects. The document Indoor Centre Design Concept (Word document), is submitted. This suggests a three-way partnership among City, YTG and user groups to put a Lethbridge-style centre at FH Collins. The committee is assured that soccer's participation in the multiplex open house would be most welcome.
November 5, 1999
The committee puts an ad in both papers asking the community to support inclusion of soccer in the multiplex: 1,600 Whitehorse Athletes Need You
November 9, 1999
The soccer commuity responds to the ad and attends the Multiplex Open House in significant numbers. The next day, local radio station CKRW carries a positive report on the event, An Overwhelming Response, as does the Whitehorse Star, The Whitehorse Star online archives for that period are no longer available. Council hears more support for new soccer facility.
November 15, 1999
The committee makes its third appearance before City Councillors. The six speakers were Doug Hitch (Minor, Masters), Angélique Bernard (Women's), James McCullough (Men's), Carole Racz (YSA), Jacob Hanson (Selects), and Wendie Osborne (Minor). Council gave an interested and positive reception.
November 30, 1999
The committee receives a letter from the Minister of Community and Transporation Services, Dave Keenan, expressing a conditional willingness to conduct further discussions.
December 15, 1999
The committee had a procuctive meeting with Peter Milner, director of the YTG Sport and Recreation Branch. He now recognizes that inclusion in the multiplex is not viable because that project is too far in the future and would do nothing to alleviate the current indoor space crisis.
December 16, 1999
The chair sends letters to Lois Moorcroft (Word document) and Dave Keenan to request staff support from their departments, Education and Community and Transportation Services, to assist the committee to develop terms of reference for a feasibility and conceptual design options study. (Later, YTG assigns Peter Milner, director of Sport and Recreation branch, and Goed DeBruyn, Facilities Manager for Education.)
February 2, 2000
Doug Hitch addressed the FH Collins school council, proposing a partnership among the city, the territory, and soccer, to build a facility at FH. It would be used weekdays by the school and evenings and weekends by the community. The council prepares letters of support for a feasibility study.
March 2, 2000
A letter is sent to Mayor Kathy Watson requesting City staff support to assist the committee with the terms of reference for a feasibility study. (Later, the city assigns Doug Hnatiuk, Manager of Parks and Recreation.)
March 15, 2000
An application is submitted to the Community Development Fund for a grant to study the feasibility of putting a Lethbridge-style centre at FH Collins High School. The completed application is online here.
March 23, 2000
Jake Hanson of the Selects and Doug Hitch of minor soccer appear on CKRW's Talk Back program with Ron McFadyen. The discussion is about the need for and benefits of an indoor centre and on the many indoor soccer activities happening now in town. All of the several callers had positive comments about the centre proposal.
April 28, 2000
Jeff Korenko, Sports Editor of the Whitehorse Star interviews Doug Hitch. Time is now for indoor soccer facility, says Hitch.
May 2, 2000
Jeff Korenko, Sports Editor of the Whitehorse Star, follows up with an editorial in Kranky's Korner: . Soccer finding its niche here; kids need a place to play
July, 2000
The March CDF application is rejected because such a facility would normally be the responsibility of the Department of Education. The decision was delayed several months because of the change in government.
August, 2000
Preparation underway for a new CDF application for a feasibility study. This will take a step back, be more open-ended and explore other options. It will focus on establishing need, benefit, impacts, and costs. It will also look at three types of possible solutions: 1) multiplex, 2) school, 3) stand-alone.
15 August, 2000
The application for the new approach to the feasibiity study is submitted. It is online: Need, Benefit, Impact, Cost of an Indoor Soccer Centre in Whitehorse
September, 2000
The committee asks the six candidates for Mayor and the 32 candidates for Council to examine this web site for information on the indoor centre issue. The response is overwhelmingly positive.
October, 2000
An indoor soccer centre question is posed to the Mayoralty candidates. Four give strong support. One of these is elected Mayor.
November, 2000
The CDF funding request submitted in August is approved. Preparatory work begins on the feasibility study.
December, 2000
(1)The terms of reference committee for the study is set up with participation from City Parks and Rec (Doug Hnatiuk), Territorial Education Facilities (Gord DeBruyn), and Territorial Sport and Recreation (Peter Milner).
(2) The consultants Luigi Zanasi and Malcolm Taggart are selected by the committee and they begin the study.
(3) The City budget contains $10,000 for development work on an indoor soccer centre.
(4) Whitehorse Minor Soccer produces the "I Love Indoor Soccer" bumper sticker and begins distribution.
March, 2001
Phase One of the feasibility study is complete: Needs Analysis For Indoor Soccer in Whitehorse. Phase 1 Final Report.(1.4 MB Word document.) The committee unanimously feels that this report is extremely thorough and convincing. Copies are submitted to Mayor and Council, and to the Ministers of Community and Transportation Services and Education with letters requesting meetings. The report is released to the media.
April, 2001
Ron McFadyen of CKRW and Roch Shannon Fraser of CBC do separate live interviews with Doug Hitch, committe chair, about the needs analysis.
April 25, 2001
Mayor Ernie Bourassa of the City of Whitehorse receives a small delegation from soccer: John McPhail, coach of the Canada Games men and numerous rep and recreational teams, Andrea Wilson of the Women's League and Doug Hitch, committee chair. The mayor recognizes the need but felt that the ball was in YTG's court. He repeated a rumour that had been heard from several sources that YTG was considering building an indoor centre as part of the FH Collins high school reconstruction. We learned that the City has no say as to how the money earmarked by YTG for the Canada Winter Games facilities will be spent.
June 19, 2001
Dale Eftoda, Minister of Education, and Pam Buckway, Minister of Community and Transportation Services met with Dave Stockdale, YSA president, Gerald Haase, WMSA director, Jean-Paul Molgat, Yukon Ultimate Frisbee Association president, and Doug Hitch, committee chair. Just one half-hour was available for the meeting. The ministers had not thoroughly studied the Phase One document or this web site and were unaware of the need for and benefits of an indoor centre. They did recognize the bumper sticker. They were unaware of an association between an indoor centre and an FH Collins high school reconstruction. The Deputy Minister of Education, Janet Mann, who also attended the meeting with Lois Moorcroft in August of 1999, said she had heard nothing about the project since that time. The committee needs to find creative new ways to get its message out.
Summer, 2001
Work continues on the second phase of the feasibility study. A questionnaire is sent to soccer facilities and organizations in western Canadian cities of between 10,000 and 100,000 people. Delays and difficulties are encountered in gathering information. Much of this intelligence gathering is carried out by Hanne of the WMSA office, and Dean of the YSA office.
Late October, 2001
The terms of reference committee decides to allocate the $10,000 allocated towards a feasibility study in the municipal budget towards architectural renderings in support of the larger study underway.
November 1, 2001
The terms of reference committee met to review a preliminary draft of Phase Two of the feasibility study.
November 5, 2001
Brian Gillen, President of Whitehorse Minor Soccer, makes a presentation before city council in support of a motion by councillor (and YSA president) Dave Stockdale to fund development of a “Multi-use indoor soccer centre“. Council chambers are packed with enthusiastic supporters. Councillor Conelly is negative, but concillors Graham, Austin and Casson ask sympathetic questions. In the hallway a professionally produced display was set up showing the results of the feasibility study. Brian Gillen is interviewed by CBC radio the next morning at 7:40. The same day the Whitehorse Star has the headline Indoor soccer facility sought. Soccer buffs jam city council chambers; say sport’s development being choked. The print article has a fine picture of a pensive Brian, which the Star on-line archive version, Lack of facilities strangling soccer’s growth, lacks. But it has the full text. And the Wednesday Yukon News featured Soccer’s wish list. Indoor soccer is feeling the pinch of small and cluttered gymnasiums on the front page. The full text of the article, Minor soccer pitches indoor facility to council is posted with permission (the archives are not working - 15 November 2001). Copies of a draft of Phase Two are submitted to all of the city councillors on Friday, November 9.
November 13, 2001
An appearance by Grant MacDonald, YSA rep team coach, before city council is cancelled as Dave Stockdale withdraws his motion. Letters are submitted earlier to the city by Grant and Brian Gillen formally requesting that funding for an indoor centre be considered in budget discussions. Consideration is automatic when a request comes from the public. Discussions begin on November 14. Several thousand fingers are crossed.
December 10, 2001
The Mayor reads the budget address. Julian Fraser reports in the Yukon News of December 12 (Taxes going up $32 on average,page 5):
The proposed $4.4-million indoor soccer centre was left out of the budget, pending a grant from the federal government.
  "You cannot consider a soccer centre in isolation of the Canada Winter Games," said Bourassa.
  The city needs $20 million from the federal government to help it win its bid to host the 2007 Games. The deadline is December 31.
  "If we get the funding, it means a new soccer centre and a couple of new arenas," said Bourassa.

The same Yukon News issue featured a more in-depth analysis by Jillian Rogers No money for soccer centre ... yet, Yukon News, December 12, 2001.
December, 2001
Phase two of the feasibility study is completed (text, November 27, reproduction and binding, mid December) and distribution is begun: Feasibility Study and Building Programme for an Indoor Soccer Facility in Whitehorse. Phase 2 Final Report (1.4 MB Word document.) The steering committee for the study is dissolved. (The Facililty Committee continues.)
May 29, 2002
$20 million in federal funding for facilities for the Canada Winter Games is announced by paul Devillers, Secretary of State (Amateur Sport) Read the Whitehorse Star article by Stephanie Waddell. This announcement came after many delays.
June 19, 2002
Soccer needs room to grow, a column from "the bull pen" by Jillian Rogers, Yukon News, covering both outdoor and indoor facility problems.
June 20, 2002
Brian Gillen, President of Whitehorse Minor Soccer is invited to a meeting with city and territorial officials. He is told that a new facility which could be used for soccer can not be built at a school, and that it could only be built at the multiplex site.
June 24, 2002
What soccer wants, by Richard Mostyn, is the lead editorial in the Yukon News.. He writes about both outdoor and indoor needs, "For those who don't know it yet, the Yukon's soccer infrastructure in Whitehorse is decrepit and dangerous.
  The fields are uneven and pockmarked with ankle-twisting holes. When they're tripped up, players are, more often than not, falling on hard-as-concrete dirt, not soft grass."
  ...Today, more children kick the soccer ball around local school gyms than stickhandle a puck in the local arenas.
  The soccer community is large, influential and getting restless.
  Parents are tired of their children risking injuries in sub-standard facilities and on fields.
  ...any local politicians who ignore the demands of this popular sport do so at their own peril."
July 2, 2002
At the Standing Committees' meeting city administration presented councillors a report on the design and construction of the Multiplex Phase 2. Issue 2 had the option of proceeding with the Conceptual Plan or of amending it to "include the soccer facility as part of the Multiplex." Councillor Doug Graham spoke in favour of inclusion of soccer saying that the flexihall could be "the largest white elephant we've ever seen" if it did not have revenue from soccer. Brian Gillen and Doug Hitch also briefly spoke in favour. There was dissent on council. Related articles:
July 8, 2002
City Councillor Doug Graham proposed an amendment to the administration recommendation that soccer only be considered after the requirements for the games had been met. He proposed that the soccer facility be considered at this stage. Council voted unanimously to have soccer considered in the planning. Related articles:
July 9, 2002
A Multiplex Phase II meeting between City staff (M. Moroziuk, W. Tuck, M. Frasher, L. Rapp) and indoor centre proponents (D. Stockdale, D. Hitch, G. Haase, B. Carveth, B. Gillen) to exchange views. A large distance remains between what the city staff feel they can do, and the needs of soccer.
October, 2002
The City of Whitehorse selects Barr Ryder from Edmonton to coordinate the consultation, planning and design team for Phase II of the multiplex. Phase II will now include all remaining facilities; there will be no Phase III.
October 23, 2002
A watershed meeting between the phase II planning team and the committee. Stephen Barr of Barr Ryder and local team members including Antonio Zedda, Jack Kobayashi, Piers MacDonald and others met with indoor centre proponents D. Stockdale, D. Hitch, G. Haase, B. Gillen, G. MacDonald, L. Randell and others. Wayne Tuck, the City's lead on Phase II also attended. Barr Ryder has built four centres and that week learned it would do two more. Steven Barr is well versed in the cost, community benefits, and design issues. The committee feels he will be a strong advocate and ally in this process. He proposed that there was more chance of accommodating soccer in the multiplex if soccer would accept playing on a wooden floor. No one on the committee had any objection.
November 13, 2002
The CBC televison program Northbeat ran a story on indoor soccer in the north. It showed Yellowknife coach Ray Erasmus noting that more kids in Yellowknife play soccer than hockey, yet that city with two ice sheets was installing two more and not considering soccer in its recreation planning. Scot Regehr interviewed Doug Hitch outside the new Whitehorse Aquatic Centre, the multiplex site. Doug noted that soccer was now included in the planning process and that the community had more reason to be optimistic than ever before.
November 19, 2002
Stephen Barr, chief architect for the completion of the multiplex, made a public presentation at the Beringia Centre. Using an effective PowerPoint display, he described what does and does not work well in several recreation complexes in Alberta. It is important for the overall viability to have as many people as possible coming through the doors and to keep them there as long as possible. Some multiplexes have become family and social hot spots. In every case, indoor soccer is a net contributor to the operations, while ice and water facilities require subsidies. Five related media reports appeared the next day. All mention indoor soccer.
January 10, 2003
A follow-up meeting between the committee and the multiplex design consultant team. Discussion of the configuration options developed by the team.
January 20, 2003
Broadcast of a CBC story by Tanis Davey about coed soccer and the need for an indoor centre. She conducted interviews at a game at Vanier large gymnasium, on January 16. Among the interviewees were Sue DeForest, Simon Pulido and Doug Hitch.
February, 2003
Letters are sent to Mayor and Council from Whitehorse Minor Soccer, Coed Soccer, Over-35 Soccer and the Yukon Soccer Association expressing a willingness to pay reasonable rates to use an indoor centre. These are sent after it is learned that there were opinions among some decision-makers that soccer would not be willing to pay its own way.
February 10, 2003
Another follow-up meeting between the committee and the multiplex design consultant team. Discussion of possible rate structures for the soccer component of the multiplex. They asked that soccer inform its members about the proposal before it be made public.
February 11, 2003
City Council met in camera to decide among the three design options. Earlier that day, Chuck Tobin of the Whitehorse Star had learned of the meeting and interviewed the Mayor and Doug Hitch about the importance of Council's decision for soccer and the community. The Star's headline referred to indoor soccer in the multiplex in big, bold letters. The story on page 4, Mayor prefers indoor soccer option detailed the financial reasons why the sport is good for the multiplex. The following day, CHON FM took a sound clip from Doug Hitch on the recreational value of the indoor centre for the community.
February—May 2003
A flurry of activity. Many meetings, securing the future of two courts in the multiplex. The consultants and City Recreation staff requested the soccer community commit to a rate of $110/hour for adults, and $65/hour for youth, otherwise soccer could not be included in the multiplex. At the same time, it is not possible to make public the true operating costs of the soccer component. The soccer community feels it will be subsidizing other multiplex activities, but is left with little choice. Still, it is possible to run solid programs at those rates.
May 29, 2003
Now that the centre project is going ahead, the original need for this site is over. From now on, please follow developments at the special Whitehorse Multiplex Phase Two Project Information Web Site.
October 2004
The siding is going on the new structure. The builders still claim to be ahead of schedule. Play should begin in the fall of 2005. .


Alternative Uses  What is an Indoor Centre?  Other Indoor Centres
Why It's Needed  Lethbridge Photo Tour  Alberta article
Indoor Centre Main  Soccer Umbrella

Last updated, 29 May 2003
D. Hitch