Fund to cement hockey team’s legacy

Success on the ice to come from success off the ice through new initiative

By John Grainger

As a proud men’s Huskie hockey alumni, Kerry Preete (BComm’95) wants to ensure that men’s Huskie hockey has the resources to deliver excellence year in and year out.

With the help of some alumni and program friends, the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Huskie men’s hockey team has launched an ambitious $5-million fundraising campaign to solidify its foundation as a Top 5 USport sports program in the nation.

Preete is aware the Huskie men’s team already has a reputation as a premier university sports team in Canada, the Men’s Hockey Excellence Fund aims to protect their legacy and grow to be one of the best programs in the country.

Preete knows how important creating a fund such as this will have on the program and the players today and in the future.

“The four years I spent with the Huskie Hockey program have very much contributed to shaping the success I have had in my career,” says Preete, who played defence for the Huskies from 1980-84.

“The bond and relationships I developed with my teammates over those years have endured. Even today, many remain close friends.”

Preete, along with Merlis Belsher, Glen Hawker and former Huskie hockey coach Mike Babcock, are the driving forces behind the launch with a combined $1-million donation to kick off this campaign which they hope fellow alumni, community and program supporters will embrace.

Preete’s $500,000 gift to the fund will be used to match new donations on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

He says the first piece of the foundation was when the state-of-the-art Merlis Belsher Place was opened three years ago, it signaled to the other teams and universities across Canada that both Huskie hockey teams have their sights set on national excellence.

Cheryl Hamelin, USask Vice-President University Relations, believes that supporting all of our Huskie student-athletes helps build the next generation of leaders who become difference-makers in the community and role models for youth interested in sports and academics.

“USask is committed to the success of both our men’s and women’s Huskie programs and providing the support they need to excel as national leaders in their sport,” said Hamelin.

To run a top-tier program requires resources above and beyond the day-to-day operations and requires our broader community to get involved.

This fund will do exactly this, believes Shannon Chinn, USask’s Huskies Chief Athletics Officer.

“Our team will be well positioned to reach the next level of excellence thanks to our Huskie alumni who know what it takes for a program to be successful on the biggest stage of university sports.

“The new structure of this fund has created a blueprint for our other teams to follow as we focus on the student-athlete experience across all sports.”

This new fund will enable increased scholarships, enhanced recruiting, player and coaching development, as well as academic support for student-athletes.

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