The start of a new year means a number of things: for Huskies athletes at the University of Saskatchewan, it means a return to the action with a renewed sense of optimism and drive after a long — and well deserved — winter break.
Although many of us are looking forward to 2017, let’s not forget all the successes of 2016. It was a standout year for all 15 U of S Huskies teams, with plenty of ups and downs to keep sports fans on the edges of their seats. It’s important to acknowledge all the hard work that our student athletes, coaches and administrators have put in over the last 52 weeks. With that in mind, the Sheaf has compiled its top Huskies moments from 2016.
New Huskies’ arena announced
There’s a new doghouse in town. In October, the U of S announced that it had approved the building of a new $41 million multi-purpose sports arena to replace the aging Rutherford Arena. The new arena will house a twin-ice facility and accommodate nearly 1,830 spectators. The arena is partially funded by U of S alumnus Merlis Belsher, who donated $12.25 million towards the building of the arena, which will be named in his honour.
Men’s wrestling team earns first Canada West championship in 30 years
For the first time since 1986, the Huskies men’s wrestling team took home the CanWest championship — a victory 30 years in the making. The team earned a total of 53 points — four more than the reigning champions, the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Additionally, Richard Cux (54-kg), Josh Bodnarchuk (57-kg) and Andrew Johnson (82-kg) all took home gold medals and several other team members also finished on the podium.
Women’s basketball team captures first national title
In a triumphant conclusion to the 2015-16 season, the U of S women’s basketball team won the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship — a Huskie first. Following an 18-2 regular season and a CanWest victory, the team managed to get an 85–71 victory over the Ryerson University Rams in the final. Led by fifth-year players Laura Dally and Dalyce Emmerson and rookie Sabine Dukate, the powerful women’s team made Huskie history.
Huskies host CanWest track and field championships
The U of S played host to the 2016 CanWest track and field championships, which took place on Feb. 27. It was a double victory for the men’s team, who managed to take home first place on home turf with a total of 75 team points — the first time since 2013. The women’s team also put in a very strong performance, coming in third with 68.5 team points behind the U of A Pandas.
Huskie connections at Rio Olympics
Brazil played host to the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the games had a surprising number of U of S connections. Huskie women’s basketball coach Lisa Thomaidis led Canada’s women’s team to a fifth-place finish, ending a remarkable run as head of the national team. Individual athletes included former Huskies’ wrestler Jillian Gallays, who competed in the women’s 53-kg division, track and field athlete Taryn Suttie, who finished 28th in shot put and men’s volleyball team member Gavin Schmitt. These outstanding athletes and coaches prove that being a Huskie can lead to international success!
Men’s hockey team sweeps Golden Bears; sits on top of standings
The Huskies’ men’s hockey team finished out the first half of the 2016-17 season in a triumphant defeat of rivals the U of A Golden Bears on Dec. 3. Ranked number three nationally, the Huskies sit at 10-3-2 and ended the year in first place in the CanWest standings, with the Golden Bears sitting in second overall. Both teams return to the ice on Jan. 6, which should undoubtedly make for an exciting second half of the season.
Laura Dally named athlete of the year, signs professional contract
After leading her team in the CIS championships, former Huskies’ basketball player Laura Dally finished off her university career with a number of important achievements. She was named the CanWest Outstanding Player of the Year, as well as a CIS 1st Team All-Canadian athlete. Additionally, she signed a one-year contract to play professional basketball with the BG ’89 Avides Hurricanes Rotenburg of the Damen Basketball Bundesliga in Germany. During the 2015-16 season, Dally led her team in scoring with 17.2 points per game and averaged 4.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. Dally will no doubt continue to make an impact in the basketball world long after leaving the U of S.
Emily Klatt / Sports & Health Editor
Photo: Jeremy Britz / Photo Editor