Cougar hockey: Excellence of all kinds

Posted: June 11, 2008

TerryDyckThings keep looking up for Briercrest Athletics. With Terry Dyck coming on board, the Cougars get a new hockey coach and a bright future—one that might include athletic scholarships, Triple-A national tournaments…and a reputation for excellence on and off the ice.

"We are excited about the possibilities that lay ahead with the Cougar program under [Terry’s] direction," said Kyle Matthies, Briercrest’s Assistant Dean of Students. "We are confident that his experience, significant connections in the hockey world, and drive to make this a premiere program in Canada will take us to new levels."

In recent years, the Cougar hockey teams have climbed to heights they’ve never been to before—they’ve been the provincial champions more than once—and Matthies believes that Dyck’s passion, talent, and experience (almost 20 years’ worth) will bring them even further.

Perhaps most significant, though, will be the direction the program takes off the ice. The Cougars have accomplished amazing things athletically, but according to Matthies, they want to "see more affirmation of the school’s mission…and of what it means for Cougar Hockey to be part of our school. We want it to be more about character development and more about supporting academics."

It would seem that Briercrest has found the right pair for the job. According to Dyck, he and Stan Peters, the new Director of Athletics, have "the same philosophy when it comes to elite sports and programs of excellence." The two men have been friends for years—they attended and graduated from Briercrest College and Trinity Western University together, and as adults, they discussed what an ideal hockey program might look like. "We were always on the same page," said Dyck. "I believe in where [Stan] wants to take athletics."

Where would that be? As far as it can possibly go, according to Dyck. "I’d love to see the program get to a Triple-A position so that we’re competing against the best of the best….We want to make it [so that] when people say, 'Caronport hockey,' you get the same kind of vision that you do with Notre Dame," he said.

And Dyck just might have the resources to make that happen. "If some of these kids want to go and play in the Clipper program after the Cougar program, excellent," he said. "But if…they want to go to an American college [that offers athletic scholarships], well, I’ve already got a packet together and I’ve got some contacts with NHL Central Scouting that have given me all of the addresses for these American colleges. We’ll send them out, we’ll say, 'Hey, listen. Whenever you’re in Saskatchewan, come by and take a look at our program.' The more visibility we give the program, the more people are going to say, 'Hey, these kids are getting a shot to go down to these American colleges,' or 'This coach and this program is moving along to a Junior A program,' and they get a higher-profile look. That’s what we want to do."

We are confident that his experience, significant connections in the hockey world, and drive to make this a premiere program in Canada will take us to new levels.
As lofty as their goals are, though, their vision goes far beyond the ice—Dyck doesn’t just want to train hockey players; he wants to develop people who value excellence and growth in each area of their lives. “I’m excited to build the program as far as getting the players there and having a focus on not just athletic excellence, but also academic excellence and hopefully trying to mould these kids and help them in their walk with Christ,” he said. “I’m just hoping and praying that I’m going to be that positive mentor they’re going to need in their lives....I want these kids to learn that they can overcome, they can work through adversity, and be successful—and not only on the ice.”