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Huskies Bow out of ACAL Futsal, Will Join ACAC in 2010/11

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The Keyano College Huskies will no longer call the Alberta Colleges Athletic League their basketball and futsal home.

COREY ATKINSON

The Huskies pulled out of ACAL a year in advance of their move to the larger Alberta College Athletic Conference for 2010-11.

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“We had competed in the league and were members in good standing,” Huskies athletics co-ordinator Wade Kolmel said. “The league expanded into southern Saskatchewan and it created some unique travel concerns, being from Fort McMurray, so I would say there was a change of environmental conditions.”

Kolmel said the Huskies talked with the coaches they hired this summer for the basketball teams to talk over their goals for the season, and one of their goals was getting as much ACAC action as possible.

“It’s one of the measures of success, and the only way we could do that was to free up our league expectations in ACAL,” Kolmel said. “The decision to get out of ACAL was more about a decision of opportunity more than it was anything else. We had to increase the number of weekends possible to compete against ACAC teams, when they’re on their own bye weekends in ACAC play.”

In order to play against those bigger teams well next year, the teams will need to know exactly what they’re going to be facing in ACAC once they do start.

Keyano holds 2009 championship titles in both men’s and women’s basketball and men’s and women’s futsal.

One benefit of not playing in the league will be that players won’t use a year of eligibility this season.

“We’re able to provide our athletes a competitive schedule without worrying about eligibility implications as we head into the new year,” Kolmel said.

Mike Connolly, new men’s basketball coach, is looking at a very busy schedule this season with 25 games — all in either exhibition or tournaments throughout the year against ACAC teams.

“We’re talking about building a program,” Connolly said. “We have an opportunity to come in and train like it’s a real season and real game.”

Connolly admits next year will be an easier year to recruit for players

“We don’t look at it as a negative. We look at it as a positive,” he said. “Kids aren’t using eligibility. We get an extra year together. We get an extra year to spend time.

“Yeah, we’re working to win every game, but we’re also looking at the big picture where we’re going to try to develop for next year, and I really feel we’ve got a core of eight kids together. We’ll only need to add pieces next year and I think that’s a positive.”

The team is going to spend a lot of time on conditioning and skill and less time on tactics as a result of not being in a league.

The team will have an intrasquad game soon and is confirming home dates. Augustana University College is a possibility for the first weekend of November.

Connolly has contacts at schools throughout the ACAC and other collegiate leagues to try to organize a tournament at Keyano at Christmas or at the end of the ACAC season.