Keyano College will be expanding their athletics programs to attract more students to the school.
They will be applying to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference this fall to reinstate the men’s hockey team and add a women’s hockey team
In 2016 the hockey team was cut due to funding.
“Our current executive sees the value the hockey teams would bring to the community, not only for the Keyano Huskies but for the community. The community really rallied the team,” said Director of Athletics Jonathan Lambert. “We started to see some Oil Barons fans come to our games.”
Lambert notes that Oil Barons players become part of the community and once they are done playing in the AJHL he hopes they could make a natural transition to the Huskies team to continue their hockey career and get their education.
He is hoping they will put a strong enough bid to the ACAC and the hockey teams could start up in the 2020-21 season.
In the meantime starting for the 2019-20 season the College will have field cricket teams and a cheer team under the Huskies banner.
“It’s always exciting to enhance the athletic programs we offer,” said Lambert. “We believe these programs are a great fit for the Huskies and will be an important draw for student-athletes.”
Irfan Bangash will head the Keyano Huskies Men’s and Women’s Cricket teams while Kierra Pelz will lead the Keyano Huskies Cheer team.
Both coaches began recruiting potential team members soon after confirming their employment with the Athletic Director
Bangash is the founder of the Fort McMurray Cricket Association, and has already begun recruiting for the new team.
“I’ve been contacting associations across Canada and around the world,” said Coach Bangash. “I am expecting we will have some high-calibre players interested.”
Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world and there are few other college-level cricket programs in Alberta, the Huskies team is expected to play against SAIT’s Cricket team during the year, as well as club leagues in Alberta, including Fort McMurray’s.
Cheer Coach Pelz is a co-founder of the Fort McMurray Premier Cheer Academy and is Level 6 International Cheer Union Certified.
“I have loved cheer since I was very young and I’m extremely excited to give others the opportunity to take part in this sport at this level,” she said.
She expects the Huskies team to compete with other provincial collegiate teams as well as potentially against other city academies.
When available, the Cheer Team will also perform during Huskies home games throughout the season.
She says male and female students with cheer, dance, gymnastics, and other athletic experience, would be welcome to try out for the team.