Ooks teams bring home silver and bronze medals
The NAIT Ooks men’s hockey team has wrapped up a landmark year with a silver finish in the provincial championship. The hockey squad joins the Ooks women’s curling team in recently concluding very successful seasons.
The silver finish came March 23, in Game 4 of the 2011-12 Alberta College Athletic Conference (ACAC) championship. The men’s hockey team dropped a tough 3-2 decision in double overtime to the Augustana Vikings of Camrose. The Vikings won the best-of-five series 3-1.
“I am so proud of what our men's hockey team was able to accomplish this year,” said Linda Henderson, NAIT’s director of athletics and recreation. “They played with heart, desire and composure all year. These student-athletes are highly skilled people both on the ice and in the community. They are a class act with outstanding leadership from their head coach Serge Lajoie.”
The team last won a medal in 2007, when they took home silver in the ACAC finals. The 2011-12 season was significant not only because of the silver medal finish, but also because it was the first time a woman has ever made the team’s roster. Shannon Szabados, an Olympic gold medal champion, was one of the team's goalies.
Szabados was a member of the Team Canada women’s hockey team that won gold at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. In November, she joined the Canadian women’s hockey team again for the Four Nations Cup tournament in Sweden. Szabados spent three seasons with the Grant MacEwan University Griffins before transferring to NAIT this academic year. She’s enrolled in the two-year Personal Fitness Trainer program.
Elsewhere, the women's curling team, lead by Brittany Whittemore, captured bronze at the 2012 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Invitational Curling Championships, hosted by Fleming College in Peterborough, Ont. This was the first CCAA curling national championship held in 22 years.
The Ooks finished the round-robin with a 5-2 record before falling to the Grande Prairie Wolves in the semi-finals 12-3 Saturday afternoon.
“NAIT can be extremely proud of the way Brittany and her rink represented our institute at the curling nationals,” said Gregg Meropoulis, NAIT athletics coordinator. “At the national level, games are won or lost by a matter of inches and the NAIT squad was just that far away from playing for CCAA gold. The NAIT ladies curled well throughout the week and are very deserving of their CCAA bronze medals.”
NAIT is one of Canada’s leading polytechnics, with almost 80,000 registrations worldwide in key areas including science, technology and the environment, business, health care and trades. Known for real-world education and student success, NAIT also engages with business and industry in applied research and innovation and provides corporate training around the world. NAIT enrolled its first students - 29 communication electrician apprentices - in 1962 and this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.
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