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 mens 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.”

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Heroic blue heeler back in the field thanks to donor support

Dwane McLaren calls his dog Jango a “firecracker.”

The three-year-old blue heeler is an expert cattle herder, and when McLaren found himself cornered by 14 angry bulls, Jango came to his rescue.

Jango outside the WCVM after his final appointment after surgery (photo by Jeanette Neufeld).

The small dog took on the bulls, and Jango didn’t stop protecting McLaren even after suffering a broken jaw.

“The bulls were 2,200 pounds — and he’s 40,” says McLaren, who hauls cattle for a living. “One [bull] decided he didn’t like me very much, and he started coming after me … [Jango] grabbed onto the back of his ankle and distracted him enough that I could get over the fence.”

McLaren says he’s amazed at Jango’s protective nature.

“For him to know to come and do that — I didn’t call him or anything. The natural instinct to help in a dog is unbelievable,” he says.

After a three-hour struggle, McLaren finally got the bulls loaded in his semi-trailer. That’s when he noticed Jango was bleeding from his mouth. Despite being injured, the dog hadn’t stopped helping his owner the entire time.

“He’s tougher than nails, this fellow,” he says of his dog. Continue reading

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