Kendal Netmaker, set to succeed

Keyano Graduate presents at stomping grounds

By KEVIN THORNTON, Connect Contributor

Kendal Netmaker speaks to an audience at Keyano College. PHOTO: Sean Mclennan, Keyano College

Kendal Netmaker speaks to an audience at Keyano College. PHOTO: Sean Mclennan, Keyano College

There are some strong memories that Kendal Netmaker talks about, things that have remained with him, markers along the way to his success.

His mother’s decision to be there for the kids, all the time is an important one. The generosity of an elementary school friend’s family that enabled him to play organized sport is another. He peppers his motivational talks with these examples. The high school coach who encouraged his volleyball talent was important, as was the recruiter who brought him to Keyano College to play ball and to study business.

He is happy to acknowledge everyone who helped him on the way to where he is today, and in the same way he never mentions anyone who did him harm. That’s not his way.

When asked how he deals with all his successes. He looks puzzled, like he’s confused with someone else. “I don’t see my life that way. I fail all the time,” he said. “I just don’t think about it.”

While in the city to address the students at Keyano College on November 3, Kendal is as impressive as his achievements. The founder of Neechie Gear – a clothing company on ‘a mission to empower youth through sports’, he shares how he started out poor. The way he tells it, had a lot of help to overcome that.

What he doesn’t mention, and he won’t, is that the biggest reason he has done so well is himself. People have helped him because they have seen something in him worth helping along, but while Netmaker is happy to acknowledge everyone else on his road to success, the truth is… this has been a journey largely of his own making.

Trent Mason, the volleyball coach at Keyano saw Netmaker, still in high school, playing in a men’s tournament. He was quick to recruit him, and in his two years at the college, Netmaker was rookie of the year, and later team captain. He studied Business back then, and when told his two-year diploma course is now a four-year Bachelor degree, he looks wistful for a second.

“I’d have stayed if it had been available. I loved Keyano, love coming back to see it,” Netmaker shared.

“I’d have stayed if it had been available. I loved Keyano, love coming back to see it,” Netmaker shared.

Instead, he returned to Saskatchewan and gained two degrees at the University of Saskatchewan. The entrepreneurial side of him was already stirring, and when he wrote a business plan for a competition and won, it seemed like opportunity was knocking

Neechie Gear is a positive lifestyle company not only aimed at indigenous people. It has grown exponentially, in part due to its caring outlook. Netmaker is well aware of the importance sport played in keeping him busy, teaching him values he still adheres to today, and offering him a chance to do better.

Part of the profits of Neechie Gear are used to offer the same opportunities to the next generation of sports kids, and even the name of the company is responsible for positivity. Netmaker originally chose Neechie for its friendly and warm meaning. In doing so, it has returned to him a hundredfold.

As seen in this definition: ‘Neechie’ is a positive word derived from the Cree language. Originally a greeting, it is no longer confined to the Cree. ‘Neechie’ is now used most often to introduce oneself to anyone else in the greater North American indigenous community. This wider usage is due in large part to being associated with the popular clothing brand: Neechie Gear.

What goes around comes around it would seem, a philosophy Kendal Netmaker is more than familiar with.

– Connect Weekly –