The program is extremely proud to be graduating 3 outstanding seniors this year: Jasdeep Gill, Dallas Karch and Thomas Cooper. All three have made outstanding contributions to the program - Dallas and Jasdeep for 5 years, and Thomas for the past 2.
They're all extremely grateful for the experience at the U of C and the Men's Basketball Program. Each has provided us with a tribute letter to share with our Alumni and all program supporters.
I wish I could give a speech instead of writing a letter because I have so many things to say. The city and University of Calgary has been so welcoming to me since the day I arrived and I couldn't be more thankful. My life has been like a extended vacation with all the places I've been and I am proud to say that Calgary is my favorite of them all. The support that I have received here is unreal and it continues to grow even as I prepare to depart again. The memories that I made here are memories that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
Last year when we won the Canada West Championship, I cried tears of joy because I worked so hard to get here. Coach Dan was the first person I thought about and I remember running over to him and hugging him for a long time. Most people don't know that he waited on me for two years to get my life together so I could be a Dino. I always tell him he's like a second dad to me because he has taken care of me so much since the day we've met and he's had my back like nobody else has before. He's the best coach I've ever had and I don't think anything in my future would ever change that.
Before every game, when the national anthem comes on, I bow my head and pray. One thing I tell God that I'm thankful for is being a Dino. I always tell God that I would not want to play for any other team in the world and I mean that will all my heart. I wouldn't rather go to war with any other teammates than the ones I have by my side every single night no matter if we win or lose. Playing for this University has taught me about unity and loyalty more than anything. I came here alone, but I will leave with an even bigger family than I could have imagined.
I want to say thank you to our coaches who come to practices and games to coach us daily and guide us to be the best team we can be. My teammates for being like brothers and expanding my game on the court and being great friends off the court. Thank you to the alumni supporters who literally support us with everything everywhere we go. And thank you to the University of Calgary for giving me a home these past two years. I hope the people here remember me, because I will surely remember this entire experience forever.
I remember on the first day of practice entering this year one of my teammates came up to me and said “Hey, this is your last ‘first practice of year’ ever.” I didn’t think much of it at the time but looking back it feels like just a month ago that was said to me. As I sit down and reflect on my journey of basketball it begins to hit me the end is upon me.
Growing up in Calgary, the Dinos were the team everyone looked up too and idolized. I started attending games when I was around 12 years old but at that age I seemed more interested in running around the track and playing basketball on the side hoops. As I grew older and my interest in basketball grew stronger, I knew U of C was the school I wanted to represent.
Coming in as a first year I didn’t know what to expect when it came to practices, workouts and school work. But for each thing I didn’t know there was a teammate to help me out and push me along the way. These relationships with teammates will stay with me for a long time and I know I will have people I can count on. These relationships will also be what I miss most about playing for the Dinos. Sitting in the locker room cracking jokes about the weekend before, reminiscing on stories we have gone through together and generally being in each other’s company.
My 5 years here have been truly special and pushed me to grow as a person through adversity. Memories like spending New Years in Germany with my teammates in my second year to winning a CanadaWest Championship and playing on national television in the CIS finals will stay with me for the rest of my life.
This journey would not have been possible without the support of a variety of different people so I finish by saying thanks. Thanks to my coaches, my teammates and all the support staff that helped me along the way. Thanks to the donors that allowed me to focus on basketball and school without having to worry about financials. Thanks to my family that rarely missed a home game and traveled across Western Canada to watch and support me. Thanks to everyone that had an impact on my five years at the University of Calgary. I can look back at my time here and know it was a great success and an exceptional experience.
As my fifth and final season as a University of Calgary Dino comes to an end, it only seems fitting to stop and reflect on this tremendous journey. Coming in as a 17-year-old boy playing alongside grown men (some ten years older than myself) to leaving a 22-year-old man as a leader on this team, I cannot express how grateful I am to have been a part of such an amazing program and culture at the University of Calgary. Living in Chestermere, just east of Calgary I spent many days after school driving to the University of Calgary to play for the Jr. Dinos and train with coach Craig Anderson, as well as many Friday and Saturday evenings taking in Dinos games and envisioning myself one day in their shoes. As my grade 12 year rolled around it only seemed fitting to continue my journey as a Dino and sign with the University of Calgary, as Coach Dan Vanhooren and many guys from the team had already become family.
Being a Dino at the University of Calgary had become a lifestyle and largely shaped the way that I lived my life for the past 5 years, and although it may seem easy now I know that when my final game as a Dino has come to an end I will look back and miss all the great memories I have had during my time. I will miss all the evening practices throughout the years, the film sessions on Mondays, the challenging strength and conditioning workouts with Rich, the road trips on the bus, the summer camps and scrimmages, the going out and celebrating a sweep on the road with the guys, but most importantly I will cherish all the lifelong relationships I have built through my time as a Dino.
Being a Dino has not only taught me how to be a better basketball player on the court but also a better person in the team room, classroom, and the community. It has helped me discover more about myself and shaped me into who I am as a person today. It has taught me the values of discipline and commitment which are both extremely essential in all aspects of life. As I look back at where I once started, to where I am today, and even further into the future and the opportunities that have opened as a result of my time as a Dino I can say that I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to play as a Dino. In a few short months, I will be graduating from the Haskayne School of Business with a major in Accounting and starting up the next chapter of my life. I will be pursing my CPA designation at Deloitte locally in downtown Calgary starting next fall.
In closing, I would simply like to say thank you. To all the family, friends, coaches, teammates, trainers, mentors, alumni, donors, and fans who have continually supported and pushed me to become the person I am today. Each and every one of you have left a unique mark on my five-year journey as a Dino that I will never forget, and for that I am forever thankful. I can proudly say that I leave this program at the University of Calgary a better person than when I had arrived, not only as a basketball player but in all aspects of life. I look forward to continuing the many great relationships I have been able to make, and I can say with great pride that I will always be a Dino! Thank you!
Members of the SMC have received questions about our fundraising plan and how monies raised are going to be spent.
Alum Geoff Thompson is in charge of the fundraising committee and prepared a fund raising strategy and plan. Download a copy of the plan now.
If you have specific questions that are not answered, feel free to reach out to Geoff: githompson at shaw.ca .
Sixth Man Club fundraising activities are going extremely well. Through a variety of private donations; commitments by the University of Calgary to increase funding for the program and to provide matching dollars for scholarships; approximately $120,000 has already been raise/committed for the 2016/2017 season.
A massive shout out to Alum Geoff Thompson who's been "The Man" leading the charge. He developed a strategic fundraising plan last summer and has been busy executing it. He has collaborated closely with Dan Vanhooren to build up a strong relationship with the Development group and with new administrators at the University.
University Stepping up with $50,000 of Matching Funds
Alum Ian Minnifee, was formerly a member of the U of C Senate for two terms which connected him with many senior leaders at the U of C. He has brokered some great connections and meetings with the U of C brass which has resulted in an offer to match $50,000 of donations we raise that will go toward the Men's Basketball program.
The Sixth Man Club is creating a plan to raise these funds in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary celebration this Fall. More details to follow.
Mark Your Calendars - November 4th & 5th
The U of C is celebrating it's 50th Anniversary in the Fall, which also means next season represents the 50th year a men's basketball team was fielded by the University. There will be special recognition for players from the 60's during the games that weekend.
Wayne Thomas has been busy spearheading a plethora of activities for all Alumni and program supporters. More to come in the near future on this as well. Stay tuned.
It was an exciting weekend at the Jack as the boys brought home the Canada West Crown.
See Wayne Thomas's coverage at his blog.
"Like anything in life it seems we are never fully able to appreciate the preciousness and beauty of something until it begins to fade or not until it is gone altogether. In my 6th year with the University of Calgary my Dino career clock is making its last pass. With each passing practice, road trip and game I am humbled and evermore thankful for the 6 years that I have had the privilege and honour to call myself a Dino. When I was just beginning my basketball Journey in Chilliwack BC at the age of 15, I remember going to my first ever CIS basketball game. The red and white giants, who to me at the time seemed like superheroes, carried the Dino name with pride and honour. Ironically 3 years later I would share this same honour and embark on a six-year journey wearing the Dino name proudly.
Representing the Dino program has always been so much more than just playing basketball. Coming in as a rookie I soon learned that this commitment entailed much outside the realm of the game. The importance of the community, the campus, and the classroom became an important focus supplementing what was to be done on the court. Shortly after a successful first year and a summer stint with the Jr. National team I realized how basketball could not be my cornerstone in life. Shocking medical news forced me to face the very real reality that I may never play this game I loved again. With a newly found faith and through series of miraculous events, I had been given a second opportunity to step back onto the court and play. Through these trials I came to greatly appreciate the opportunity to play at such a high level with such high caliber players.
Looking back it is not the wins or the losses that I will remember but all the relationships and friendships that have been forged over the years. The stories from the road, the moments in the locker room where guys are in tears laughing so hard, and the bonds which have formed with many brothers along the way.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned as a Dino has been commitment. I have learned that its not always ‘fun’ and passion will not win out every time. There have been many times where I have not been eagerly excited to shoot, lift, practice or sit through a 3 hour lecture, but it is the relationships and the bond to something greater than myself that has always brought me back and pushed me forward to be fully committed to the team and the program throughout the years.
Although the time to clean out my locker and take off my jersey is drawing near, I am even more proud to leave as a Dino and make room for the next one to rise up and fully embrace the Dino experience."
This year we are proud to announce that we have two graduating seniors, Matt Letkeman and Josh Owen-Thomas, both of whom played their entire five-year career at the U of C. That is an amazing accomplishment and we're proud they will be joining our Alumni group.
Seniors Night will be held on Friday, February 12th before the tip-off of the 8:00 game versus the University of Regina. Be sure to arrive early so you don't miss the pre-game ceremony.
This muscular, congenial, charismatic post man has been a special Dinos teammate since his arrival from Abbotsford, B.C. in the Fall of 2010; he averaged 8.5 ppg in 19 minutes/game in his freshman year. In the 6 year period since that time, Matt has overcome mysterious illness, injury, and the challenges those things bring to a young man’s playing career.
Matt is a leader on and off the court, and when he’s not sitting out with fouls, he is an effective inside scorer, and a robust defender at the other end. He was the obvious choice to be the first basketball Dino to take part in the new ‘Dinos Lead’ program; his work with other UC athletes in reaching out to children in Africa (a visit to Rwanda), and doing volunteer work in Calgary and across Canada has been remarkable.
Matt will continue to make a difference in the world, and as a Dinos alumnus, we are sure!
A native of Australia, Josh arrived at UC in 2011, after having come to the attention of former Dinos A.D. Ron Wuotila, as a member of the British Junior National program. “ This is a tough, hard-working, character kid”, said Wuotila at the time. And 5 years later, we see Josh playing 25 minutes a game, and producing clutch hoops, taking a turn at the point, and defending very dependably.
His under-stated style lets his performance do the talking. Josh has blossomed into a strong, versatile, dependable 2-way stalwart for a Dinos team in contention for League honours. His plan to study Law after his basketball career, which might include a pro shot in Britain, has him following in his Dad’s foot-steps. A proud UC Dino, Josh has delivered on the promise he showed 5-6 years ago, as a player, a high-quality teammate, and a leader on the court and in the class-room.
19 alumni showed up to run on December 5, spanning five decades. It was a great run with five games played (two games to 7 and then three 15-min quarters once the clock was figured out.....).
Team Red (see attached photo) took 3 out of 5 games to get the W to achieve a moral victory.
Team White (from left to right in photo): Rob Driscoll, Lindsay Thouret, Phil Barndt, Ian Ferguson, Keenan Milburn, Tyler Fidler, Matt Friesen, Paul Babcock and Mark Jorgenson.
Team Red (also left to right): Jamie McLeod, Bill Lathrop, Brian Masikewich, Josh Feist, Andy Stordeur, Mark Gillrie, Chris Wright, Dave Laskin, Sandor Kiss
There was great attendance that evening when the Dinos squared off against the Bears; with the Dinos winning in convincing fashion. Well over 20 Alum and supporters hung out at the beer gardens to have a few and cheer the boys on.
Be on the lookout for notices about future Alumni events.
The Sixth Man Club is pleased to announce the launch of our official web site!
The site is designed to promote the organization and ultimately help rally Alumni and program supporters to provide the necessary energy and financial support to foster a championship program.
This site will be the hub for all activity related to the Sixth Man Club including the opportunity for all Alumni and program supporters to register and become official members of the organization. For as little as $10/month, you can join the Sixth Man Club to offer your support.
We hope you join the team!
Special announcements or bulletins listed here
Sixth Man Club
Member Relations Contact: Sandor Kiss
sandor.kiss at shaw.ca
In Partnership With The:
© Copyright Dinos Basketball Sixth Man Club