April 8, 2017

THE CCAA'S FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP COACH IN ANY SPORT

On March 22, 1975, a native of Mountain Park, Alberta became the first coach to guide a team to a CCAA national championship in any sport. Joe Voytechek coached the Camrose Lutheran College Vikings to a 6-2 win over the St. Clair College Saints of Windsor, Ontario at the inaugural CCAA National Hockey Championships in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The odds were long that men's hockey would become a national championship sport as it ranked fourth on the national championship priority list behind men's basketball, badminton, and women's basketball in 1973. The odds were longer that a college with an enrollment of 390 would bring Camrose it's first national championship of any kind.

Ironically, it was hockey that brought Voytechek to the Rose City. The Camrose Maroons were short a defenseman and Voytechek filled the vacancy. Seventy years ago this fall, the Maroons won their first and only provincial title with the future Camrose Sports Hall of Famer on left wing.

The avid sportsman coached baseball, track and field, and hockey. In a nine season run as head coach of the Vikings from 1973-74 through 1981-82, the team finished first in the regular season twice and won one conference title. The longtime Camrose resident was the first conference coach to reach 200 games coached and the second conference coach to reach 100 wins.

On May 13th in Calgary, the nonagenarian will join fellow CCAA national hockey championship coaches Al Ferchuk, Bob Moore, and Perry Pearn in the ACAC Hall of Fame. The four in a row conference champion SAIT Trojans also received the call to the hall. The 2006-07 through 2009-10 editions coached by Ken Babey were the second men's hockey team to capture four straight conference titles following in the footsteps of the 1983-84 through 1986-87 NAIT Ooks.

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