Huskies Athletics moves forward with new leadership position

By in Sports & Health

This fall, Huskies Athletics will get a fresh face in the form of a new management position meant to unify the program. This position comes in the wake of large changes to the way the athletics program is governed.

Shawn Burt was officially announced as the chief athletics officer, a position that is  brand new to the University of Saskatchewan, on Aug 18. The new position will place Burt underneath the Board of Trustees, a university-wide governance model that was designed to elevate Huskie Athletics after its implementation in 2016.

Burt, who will officially begin his duties with the Huskies on Sept. 1, is looking forward to a new opportunity.

“The ability to join a school with an athletic program as tremendous as the Huskies is exciting,” Burt said.

A fan of the new governmental model, Burt believes it will be huge for the Huskies going forward. He warns that the board’s goals will take time to come to fruition but also assures that we can expect great results.

“The newly formed governance model allows for out-of-the-box thinking by combining 12 perspectives on one board. I believe this group will enable us to become the best program in the nation,” Burt said.

Burt already has experience in a sports environment at a Canadian university. Before securing his position as chief athletics officer at the U of S, he spent six months at Ryerson University, evaluating and constructing ideas for the redevelopment of Maple Leaf Gardens, a sports arena turned multi-purpose facility. For the past seven years, he was the chief hockey officer for the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and led the Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer initiative that has raised over 16 million dollars for cancer research.

A fresh face to the U of S, Burt plans to start by getting to know the City of Saskatoon, a city that he believes is extremely underrated, and he’ll look to change that reputation and drive the Huskie brand across the country. Burt enters his tenure with the Huskies with many ambitions.

Burt is seeking to aide in the transformation of Huskies governance.

“A key goal of mine is to truly provide student athletes with a world-class post-secondary experience. That starts from the second the recruiting process begins and continues once they’re on our campus,” Burt said.

Another desire of Burt’s is to continue to grow aspirations among future athletes, as he believes doing so will help create a passion to be a Huskie.

“I’m a huge believer in U Sports. I believe that it’s an under-leveraged and underrated platform, something that we’ll look to help change,” Burt said.

Burt graduated from Dartmouth College in 1993, and was a member of the varsity hockey team while attending the Ivy League school. As a former collegiate-level hockey player, Burt understands the impact of the new Huskies rink — announced on Oct. 13, 2016, and set to have the ice surface operational by Fall 2018.

“Student athletes want to see investments in infrastructure. It shows [a] drive to build your program. Merlis Belsher Place will have an incredible impact on our hockey programs and Huskies Athletics as a whole,” Burt said.

Burt explains that he will be joined this term by fellow newcomer Scott Flory, who is taking over the role of head coach for the Huskies football team. Burt is extremely excited to see what Flory will be able to bring to the program.

“Were looking for [Flory] to set the expectation for what it means to be a Huskie,” Burt said.

With a wealth of experience behind him, Burt brings both expertise and enthusiasm to Huskie Athletics, and students can look forward to a great sports season.

Matthew Johnson

Photo: Dave Stobbe / Supplied