Huskies are howling

Catch you on the rebound

Curtis J. Phillips, Connect Contributor

Keyano Huskies have earned some bumps and bruises (as shown by the shiner under the right-eye of Donnie Churchill shown in the middle), while skating to a third place in the ACAC nine team men’s hockey league. Photo by Erwin Kuhr

Keyano Huskies have earned some bumps and bruises (as shown by the shiner under the right-eye of Donnie Churchill shown in the middle), while skating to a third place in the ACAC nine team men’s hockey league. Photo by Erwin Kuhr

From when they stanked to now be ranked… It’s improper English, but it is to the point.

I’ve sat courtside, watching the Keyano College Huskies go from the bottom-of-the-barrel to the cream-of- the-crop.

Joining the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) in 1985, like many a fledgling program, they were unstaffed and undertalented.

Sometimes – the truth be told, whoever showed up for the team was on it. It was no fault to the people in charge, but the demographics were different back then – as were the priorities.

But they stayed the course, and pathed the way for future success. Along the way, the Huskies put forward teams in badminton, cross country, curling and golf to varying degrees.

They were later dropped by the school. At no fault of their own because the sports were dropped by the ACAC, the Huskies also dabbled in bowling, racquetball and swimming.

At one time, the Huskies were ACAC dominant in swimming with ACAC banners for women’s swimming in 1989 and 1991.

The athletes have and continue to try their best, be it in the current Huskies represented sports of basketball, futsal, hockey, soccer and volleyball. In its 30-plus year history within the ACAC, the Huskies have had five teams placed in the Top 10 rankings in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) weekly polls heading into this 2015-2016 season.

This year, the program has made a tremendous leap. The men’s soccer team won its first ACAC banner and finished the season CCAA ranked No. 2, although they were ranked No. 1 majority of the season.

The women’s volleyball side made the ACAC playoffs for the first time since the 2009-2010 season and on November 24, 2015 they were listed No. 14 by the CCAA.

The men’s volleyball side recently earned silver at the ACAC championships. They are now off to the CCAA nationals in New Westminster, B.C. as a Wild Car entry. They garnered a No. 7 CCAA standing on January 20, 2016.

Men’s hoops had the best record in the ACAC this season at 19-5 and are currently playing at the ACAC provincials. With a No. 5 CCAA high on January 5, they will be hosting the CCAA Men’s Basketball Championships March 16 to March 19, 2016 at the Syncrude Sport & Wellness Centre.

Futsal, playing in a small four team ACAC setup, have found our men’s team winning three straight gold, while the women were three time bronze medal winners prior to last season.

True it may be quality compared to quantity, but it would be nice to see more teams enter the futsal ranks with the sport of basketball having 15 schools and volleyball 14 schools participating.

Our men’s hockey side finished third this year in what is probably one of the toughest hockey conferences in Canada. Our top teams can go skate-to-skate with university teams. They play quarterfinals against MacEwan Griffins.

It would be great, once the price of oil creeps back up, to see the Huskies perhaps post teams back in badminton, curling, golf and indoor track as the schedule for travel is only two or three times a year now to make it affordable.

But for now. The Huskies are howling.

Catch you on the rebound.