June 21, 2018 – The Kodiaks Association has long been Lethbridge College Kodiaks Athletics’ largest fan club, but the group’s cheering has often been done silently. Now the association is making more noise with a $50,000 multi-faceted gift to support student-athletes.
“The Kodiaks Association has been involved every year but haven’t really been properly noticed, acknowledged or recognized for the work they do,” says Todd Caughlin, manager of Athletics, Residence and Recreation Services. “To take this step, which is so student-athlete focused, you really couldn’t ask for a better show of support. The student-athletes are the ones who will benefit from this the most, which is crucial for us to get better as an entire department.”
The largest portion of the gift is the purchase of new athletic therapy equipment that will benefit all Kodiaks student-athletes. This includes a therapy tub, two Game Ready therapy systems that help with injury rehabilitation and a variety of smaller pieces of equipment. Combined with the installation of a full-time athletic therapist beginning in the 2018-19 season, Lethbridge College can now offer a therapy program that Caughlin believes is as good as any institution in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).
“In working with Todd, we discovered there was a need for therapy for athletes that would help them both during games and over the course of the season,” says Jean Schnarr, president of the Kodiaks Association. “We saw this as a win-win, where we had the funds and were able to meet our mandate of supporting the Kodiaks by allocating this money to them, for a need that has been sitting out there for a while.”
Other aspects of the gift include:
· sponsorship of Lethbridge College’s hosting of ACAC championship tournaments in 2017, 2018 and 2019;
· sole sponsorship of the Kodiaks Hall of Fame, which was launched in October 2017;
· and the purchase of a new sound system for the Val Matteotti Gymnasium.
“In my 30 years as athletic director of the Kodiaks, one of my key philosophies was that you work so hard to get these student-athletes on campus and it’s just as important to take care of them once they’re here,” says Tim Tollestrup, Kodiaks Association board member and athletic director from 1976 to 2006. “I think this new equipment the association has helped purchase is a step in the right direction.”
The Kodiaks Association raises money through a season-long 50/50 raffle and by participating in casinos, with all funds returned to the athletics program. On-going initiatives include funding Kodiaks travel for exhibition games, scholarships for student-athletes and equipment upgrades.
“We can help by supplying some extra resources for the teams, as well as funding those scholarships,” says Knud Petersen, Kodiaks Association board member. “Those are really important to help attract the student-athletes who you want to have in the program, and we’re happy we’re able to help in that way.”
Throughout its history, Lethbridge College has earned 57 ACAC championships and produced 58 academic all-Canadians. Caughlin says the support of the Kodiaks Association allows the program to continue to compete at a championship level.
“We have great support from our administration and leadership team, but the association is invaluable when it comes to filling in the gaps that our budgets don’t allow,” says Caughlin. “The association’s work is all behind the scenes but they’ve always been there. The work and support that they’ve provided truly makes life better for our student-athletes.”
Each season, more than 120 student-athletes suit up in Kodiaks colours, in six ACAC sports. More information about the Kodiaks can be found online.