Despite the troubling times of 2020, the Huskies were at an all-time high this year, claiming championship titles and breaking records left and right.
The end of last February was memorable for fans and athletes alike. The pack grabbed hold of not one, not two, but three championship titles. The howling crowd celebrating its champions as they claimed their triumph is a memory that will stay with many.
The experience, with all the wins, felt unreal.
On Feb. 21, the women’s track and field team defended their conference title on home turf, and broke records alongside the men’s track and field team. Saskatoon homegrown Michelle Harrison was ranked number one in the nation in women’s 60-metre hurdles. Runner Karson Lehner, on the other hand, carved his name into the Canada West records, breaking a record set by Canadian olympian and University of Saskatchewan alumnus Cyprian Enweani.
Michelle Harrison | Josh Schaefer – Huskie Athletics/GetMyPhoto.ca
A week later, the women’s basketball team claimed the Canada West championship title after going neck-to-neck with the University of Alberta Pandas in a heated game. On Feb. 29, a day after the basketball team’s victory, the men’s hockey team won the Canada West hockey championship. For many watching, it was a triumphant way to end the week.
In early March, the University of Saskatchewan closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this did not stop our student athletes. Track-and-field athlete Harrison brought home the Mary Ethel Cartwright Trophy for Female Athlete of the Year. Nipawin-born Taran Kozun, who has been skating since the age of four, became the first in U SPORTS history to be named Goaltender and Player of the Year.
The end-of-the-year awards also witnessed soccer player Halle Krynowsky and wrestling player Carson Lee winning the Female and Male Rookie of the Year award, respectively. The All-Round Female award went to basketball player Megan Ahlstrom and the All-Round Male award went to football player Evan Machibroda. The head coach of the women’s basketball team, Lisa Thomaidis, received the Colb McEwon Trophy Coach of the Year.
Fast forward to Nov. 23, when a news release from the Huskies announced that the program reached a record-breaking number of All-Academics in 2019-20. Chief Athletic Officer Dave Hardy congratulated the athletes for their determination, drive and work ethic.
“Having 209 All-Academics is an impressive number that we take great pride in and hope to build on each season,” Hardy said.
It was a successful season, but it was not without a few departures of formidable coaches and leaders.
In a statement released on Sept. 9, the Huskie Athletics announced it was opening its doors to a new chief athletics officer.
Dave Hardy sent in his resignation after staying with the Huskies for 13 months. Chad London, dean of the College of Kinesiology, says that Hardy agreed to be with the Huskies for a couple of years and perhaps extend his stay afterwards. However, COVID-19 brought so much change to the athletics department that Hardy believes it is in the “best interest of the program to have long-term leadership in place,” according to his statement.
“That decision that he’s made… Dave is a real selfless leader,” London said.
On Dec. 7, coaching legend and the men’s hockey head coach Dave Adolph, announced his retirement effective May 1, 2021.
“After a lot of self-discussion, I’ve decided that now is the right time to step back as the men’s hockey coach,” said Adolph. “Over the last 28 years, the team has accomplished more than I could have imagined, and my family and I are all proud to be members of the Huskie men’s hockey program.”
Despite Hardy’s and Adolph’s announcement, it is without a doubt that the Huskies had a great 2020 year. It was full of challenges, but the victories our student athletes, coaches and leaders in the program achieved early in the year, continued into later months.
With championships and conferences cancelled this school year, you can’t help but wonder what’s in store for the Huskies once the regular season returns.