Ushering in a new era with Home Ice

With a new era of hockey on the horizon, alumni Kerry (BCOMM’85) and Bonnie Preete (BSPE’82; BED’84) reflect fondly on their memories of playing with the Huskies.

Kerry Preete, top row, fifth from left, with the Huskie’s men’s hockey team in 1983.

Both were student athletes while they attended the U of S – Bonnie playing with the Huskiettes from 1979-1982, while Kerry joined the men’s hockey team in 1980. It was a turning point for the men’s team in particular, as new coach Dave King propelled them to the final game of the University Cup three years in a row.  But it wasn’t until 1983 that the team was finally victorious, having lost in the championship game during the first two runs. Kerry explained that the roller coaster of emotions that the team shared during those years helped build the foundations of friendship with his teammates that, nearly four decades later, remain today.

“I think we had something special going on,” Kerry said. “Maybe part of that was forged by being so successful as a group over those three or four years and coming really close twice, and then to end up winning, it added an extra something special to the relationship and to the bond that all of us had.”

The Preete’s relocated to St. Louis, Missouri nearly 20 years ago, where Kerry has assumed the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Monsanto. He says much of his professional success can be attributed back to the lessons and values he learned as a Huskie.

“I look back and I see what playing in that program did for me personally, in terms of some of the life lessons that I learned from playing the game at that level, the things I learned from extremely successful teammates, and from Dave King, who was a mentor to all of us,” Kerry said.

Bonnie and Kerry Preete.

The Preete’s have stayed connected to hockey in St. Louis, spending hours at the rink cheering on their three sons with Kerry acting as a coach.  Watching their boys grow up with the game and having been players themselves, Bonnie and Kerry know how important a good facility is to building a strong program.

“In order to have strong sports team you need good facilities,” Bonnie said. “I think a new rink facility for the U of S and the Huskies is long overdue.”

Ensuring the Huskies hockey program continues to be successful and offer players the same kinds of opportunities they had inspired Kerry and Bonnie to support the Home Ice Campaign and usher in a new era for the Huskies. They generously donated $150,000 to the campaign to help build a new home for the dogs – Merlis Belsher Place.

“As much affection that I certainly have for Rutherford – we call it the doghouse – I do think programs at all kinds of levels now have to realize that having a nice facility allows you to attract players and keep a program successful,” Kerry said.

“The University of Saskatchewan is a very important place for both Kerry and I, and the Rutherford rink was a place we both spent a lot of time,” Bonnie adds. “We know the ‘old doghouse’ will not stand up forever so it is time for a ‘new doghouse’.”

The Preete’s are looking forward to a bright future for the Huskies, and plan on making a trip back to Saskatchewan soon to cheer them on at the new facility. Kerry said he’s ready to see his former line-mate – current head coach of men’s hockey, Dave Adolph – lead the Dogs to another National Championship.

“I’m just so excited about the U of S and the Huskies being able to move into a new rink,” Kerry said. “I think it will just add to the legacy and their success going forward.”

Invictus inspiration

“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

This line from the poem Invictus by English poet William Ernest Henley is the ethos of the Invictus Games, the brainchild of Prince Harry of Wales.

The Invictus Games is an international athletics competition for active duty and veteran service members who have become ill or injured during, or resulting from, their service. Featuring 12 sports including powerlifting and wheelchair tennis, the Games are an Olympics-style event for adaptive sport athletes. Hosted in Toronto, the Games will welcome more than 550 competitors from 17 countries, including Canada.

The indomitable spirit of these men and women has always been an inspiration for Andy McCreath (BA’99), co-chair of this year’s competition in Toronto. In his role, McCreath is leading fundraising efforts and sponsorship of the Games.

Andy McCreath (far left) with Prince Harry at the launch announcement of the 2017 Invictus Games.

McCreath’s devotion to servicemen and women is nothing new. For several years, he was involved with the True Patriot Love Foundation, a national charity which raises funds for veterans and their families. In 2014, McCreath and his business partner Christian Darbyshire spearheaded efforts to raise $1.2 million for the foundation through a charity dinner in Calgary.

McCreath is proud that it was ultimately the work done by the True Patriot Love Foundation which attracted interest from the Invictus Games organizers to host the event in Canada.

“The True Patriot Love Foundation is something very close to my heart, as my grandfather served our country,” he said. “The countless sacrifices made by our Canadian armed forces, be it physical or mental, should be highly recognized by Canadians everywhere.”

Sharing the common bond of supporting and celebrating the resilience of the Invictus Games competitors, McCreath met Prince Harry at the launch announcement of the 2017 Games.

“He was very humble,” McCreath said of the prince. “It was great that he was able to make it out for the launch. He should be very proud of what he has created.”

The Invictus Games take place Sept. 23-30, beginning with the opening ceremonies. The closing ceremonies on Sept. 30 will feature performances by Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson and more.

Read more at Invictus Games.

Canada 150 Citizens

As part of the U of S Canada 150 Project, the University of Saskatchewan is proud to recognize 10 remarkable members of the university community as U of S Canada 150 Citizens. These individuals have significantly contributed to Canada becoming a more diverse, inclusive and environmentally sustainable country.

The honourees were nominated by members of the public, and were selected for exemplifying the Canada 150 themes of diversity and inclusion, reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, environment and youth. Congratulations to the following alumni for their contributions to enriching Canada’s present and future:

CeCe Baptiste (BComm’04)

CeCe is passionate about community. A university employee, CeCe is also a dedicated volunteer serving on various provincial and non-profit boards. As a Cree woman, she is committed to advocating for Indigenous Peoples, and works hard to ensure Indigenous perspectives are represented at decision-making tables locally and provincially.



Angie Bugg (BE’85)

Angie is a passionate advocate for environmental stewardship and youth engagement. A graduate from the College of Engineering, she works for the Saskatchewan Environmental Society and educates children, businesses, and non-profits on the importance of energy conservation and waste prevention.




Max FineDay (BA’15)

Passionate about youth leadership development, theories of change-making, and First Nations community revitalization, Max is currently co-executive director of Canadian Roots Exchange, a national charity committed to building relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth.



Harry Lafond (MEDUC’89)

Harry is an advocate for Indigenous Peoples and the Cree language. He has a range of experience in politics and academics, and is currently the executive director of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and serves as chair of the Board of Trustees First Nations Trust.




Naheda Sahtout (GPSC’17)

An award-winning graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, Naheda never lets anything stand in the way of accomplishing her goals. She has a deep commitment to helping others and spends countless hours volunteering in the community.