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.
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.
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.”