Over the last four seasons, the Virden Oil Capitals have advanced ten players to NCAA or CIS College hockey, while another two are currently committed to the NCAA Division I ranks in the near future.
However, its not just the on ice talent that has been noticed by teams at the next level. Former Marketing Manager Lindsey Gullett is currently plying his trade with the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, while the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders recently hired former Athletic Therapist Stephen Wady.
After three seasons with the Oil Caps and two summers with the Winnipeg Goldeyes, the Birtle, MB native finally got his big break.
“The Calgary Flames hired an AT from the Stampeders which created an opportunity and I was lucky enough to get a call,” said Wady.
Wady, joined the Stampeders as the newest Assistant Athletic Therapist in March, and has begun working on a handful of Stamps players as they get set to open training camp.
“There are a few Canadian guys currently getting rehab. Rookies and veterans will report in mid-May and that’s when things will pick up in a hurry,” added Wady.
When it comes to job differences between hockey and football, the clubs first ever Athletic Therapist says it’s all very comparable.
“There are certainly similarities between hockey and football. You’ll see a lot more acute injuries in football such as broken bones or torn ligaments. That’s just based on the violent nature of the game.”
Although the Junior A Lifestyle isn’t glamorous, three years in the Oil Capital certainly paved the way for this University of Manitoba grad to reach the professional ranks.
“I was able to gain very valuable experience in Virden. It allowed me to advance my medical knowledge working with a great group of guys as well as learning everything on the equipment side of things.”
As for advice for any up and coming Athletic Therapists trying to follow in his footsteps, the 27 year old says it’s all about taking risks and working hard.
“You might have to make sacrifices, like moving out of your home city to chase a job, it is also important to learn the equipment side of things because that may be needed at the next level.”
“Working in the MJHL gets your foot in the door and you gain valuable experience. It’s a great league to get your start.”
The Oil Capitals would like to congratulate Stephen on his accomplishments and wish him the best of luck with the Calgary Stampeders.