Noah Connell has been skiing since he was 4. When he was selected by Lakehead University Thunderwolves to join their cross-country ski team in April 2022, Noah said it was a dream come true.
“I feel pretty happy about it,” Noah said. “I want to get better with the team, getting faster and stronger with other people who are better than me.”
Noah, 18, graduated from CSSC Mercier in Whitehorse last June, where he was an integral member of the Yukon ski team program. In Aug. 2021, he joined Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where he is currently studying sciences.
“We are very excited for Noah and this opportunity,” said Mark Connell, Noah’s father. “The transition to university is very critical for young people, especially those moving away from home.”
Mark added: “He has the support of the team, and to be able to engage in athletics at the next level is an amazing opportunity, and so important for him, not just for the sports, but I think his wellness as a person.”
Noah is not the only Yukoner selected for a university athletics program. Ross River First Nation swimmer, Kassua Dreyer, joined the University of Calgary Dinos last fall. Dreyer is studying International Indigenous Studies at the university.
Sports Yukon said the athletes have “dedicated countless hours in their athletic pursuits and deserved to be recognized.”
Noah will be representing the Yukon ski team during the Canada Winter Games which is taking place in multiple locations across Prince Edwards Island from Feb. 18 to March 5.
“Preparation has been going well and hopefully by the time the games come around, I will be ready to go,” he said. “I’m working hard to improve as fast as I can.”
Noah told the News the ski team in the Yukon provided him the foundational knowledge to develop athletics skills.
Six Yukon athletes were signed to varsity programs in 2022, according to Sports Yukon. This was a drop compared to 15 and 10 athletes signed to varsity programs in 2021 and 2020 respectively.
Contact Patrick Egwu at firstname.lastname@example.org