SFU Student Athlete Spotlight: Kale Wild

SFU Student Athlete Spotlight: Kale Wild

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Kale Wild is an economics major and in his second season with the SFU Men’s hockey team.

Wild came out to BC from his hometown of Navan, Ontario after spending three years with the Cumberland Grads of the CCHL while attending the University of Ottawa. Although a desire to experience BC living brought him out west, it was SFU’s strong academic record and the hockey team’s history of success (three-year BCIHL Champions) that brought him to Burnaby mountain.

As with any student athlete, Wild understands the importance of careful scheduling.

“The school and hockey schedules do not accommodate each other so there are times when you are away for the weekend before a busy week of exams and assignments,” he said.

“It is important to very early in the semester, look at the hockey and class schedules and plan when you will work on everything. Sometimes it means completing a paper weeks before it is due, which is not easy, but essential. However I think the most essential tool in dealing with the heavy workload is coffee.”

During the season, Wild has 14 hours of class a week. The hockey schedule isn’t quite as consistent. Practices, meetings, and games can take up at least 15, and sometimes more than 20 hours a week. More if the team is travelling. Road trips to Victoria, Kamloops, and Castlegar can add another 20 hours of travel time to the week.

Coach Mark Coletta knows that all his players are taking on full school schedules; in fact, he encourages all of his players to take at least a 12-credit semester, not just the 9 credits they need to be eligible to play.  While willing to accommodate tough schedules, he still expects everyone to manage their time accordingly.

“There have been tutors at the rink to help guys out,” Wild explained. “However missing practice to do homework is not a legitimate excuse; there are plenty of hours in a day.”

A long bus ride can provide ample time for studying, but that’s often easier said than done.

“Personally, on road trips I usually pack a couple textbooks with aspirations of doing a lot of homework, however realistically they seldom leave my back pack,” Wild admitted. “I seem to use road trips as an opportunity to catch up on sleep on the bus, and in the hotel during the day.”

Sometimes though, studying can’t wait until after a trip, even if it means seeking out a study spot in a new town.

“Some guys are pretty good at doing work on the bus, and a couple of the guys found a library in Kamloops this past weekend where they spent the day.”

In the end, is committing so much time to a hockey team worthwhile academically?

“As odd as it may seem, I believe playing a sport does make you a better student,” said Wild.  “When you are under pressure and have limited time I believe you are more productive. We know we don't have much time, so we expect to spend most of our "free time" doing school work. However once the season is done, there is so much free time we are not used to, school almost becomes an afterthought as you now have "so much time" to work on it. I definitely think playing a sport helps keep you focused.”

Kale is still figuring out whether to continue his education, continue to play hockey, and how that will play into entering the real world of work where he plans to pursue a career in finance, whatever the decision, his experiences at SFU, both in class and on the ice will help him get there.

Photo courtesy of SFU Men's Hockey and Damon James

Beyond the Article

Posted on January 28, 2014