Huskies alumni: Excellence in athleticism and community service

By in Sports & Health

Team sports started at the University of Saskatchewan in 1911, four years after the university was founded. In the early years, they had varsity teams in six sports, including hockey, soccer and football. Since then, they have expanded to include various teams, with 24 different sports played by the Huskies throughout their long history.

Since 1911, some incredible athletes have played their way through the U of S ranks. The 2017 Alumni Achievement Awards Gala will take place on Oct. 26, recognizing notable U of S alumni — including Huskies. To acknowledge this occasion, the Sheaf  has put together a list of some Huskies alumni that went on to do amazing things, both inside and outside of athletics.

Sylvia Fedoruk: Fedoruk began her time at the U of S in 1946. She played on the basketball, volleyball, track and golf teams, all of which won championship trophies during her time here. She went on to become one of the leading medical biophysicists in Canada and was the only woman doing medical-physics research in the country in the 1950s.

Fedoruk was also part of the team of scientists who developed one of the first cobalt-60 units, a machine that uses radioactive treatment in cancer patients. In 1986, she was elected as chancellor of the U of S, the first woman to fill this role. Later that year, she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

David King: King started at the U of S in 1968, where he played and was an assistant coach for the Huskies hockey team. After university, he continued to coach hockey in Saskatchewan, until he returned to the U of S as head coach of the hockey team in 1979. As head coach, he guided the Huskies team to winning the Canada West Championships three years in a row.

After his time coaching the Huskies, King went on to become the coach of Canada’s national hockey team for the Olympics in 1984, 1988 and 1992. He continued to coach for various NHL teams, including the Calgary Flames and the Montreal Canadiens. In 1992, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada, and in 1997, he was also inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame.

Margaret “Peggy” McKercher: McKercher became a student at the U of S in 1947, where she competed on eight different teams, bringing home championship titles in basketball and track and field. During her time at the university, she was a member of the Women’s Athletic Board, of which she was president in 1949-50.

After she graduated, she went on to serve her community as chair of the Meewasin Valley Authority and vice-chair of Wanuskewin Heritage Park. She was elected chancellor of the U of S in 1995, where she served until 2001. McKercher was also invested into the Order of Canada in 1995. In 2002, she was given an honorary degree at the U of S for her community service work.

Brian Thompson: Thompson started his track and field career at the U of S in 1983. During his time at the university, he won eight medals at the Canada West championships in track and field. In 1985, he ran a 600-metre race in the time of 1:17.06, which was the fastest in the world for that year and fifth on the all-time list.

He still holds the U of S 600-metre record for this time. He continued on to compete on the Canadian national team at the 1986 Commonwealth Games and is now in the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame.

These are just four of the many Huskies alumni who went on both to accomplish athletic excellence and to serve the community in a variety of ways. The Huskie Athletics program at the university continues to produce exceptional students every year.

Lyndsay Afseth / Staff Writer

Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor