Koch SUPERU – Change the Way You Grow
Players from all corners of the country have descended on Wilcox, Sask., to enjoy the education opportunities at Athol Murray College and the hockey experience with the Notre Dame Hounds.
Not many, however, have relocated there from the far north for those reasons, but 20-year-old Qaritaq Kusugak-Clark has spent more than a third of his life in the southern Saskatchewan centre and it looks like the world-wide Covid-19 pandemic might put an early end to his lengthy association with the program.
Kusugak-Clark arrived in Wilcox from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, just shy of his 14th birthday and after progressing through the bantam and midget levels was a mainstay with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Hounds as he was in his third and final Junior “A” campaign when play was suspended in late November due to the on-going crisis with the virus.
The 6-foot-0, 185-pound winger didn’t put up big offensive numbers with the SJHL Hounds, but he did bring other intangibles to the team as evidenced by his 153 minutes in penalties over the last two seasons and his increased presence on specialty teams over his time with the club.
Kusugak-Clark was poised to finish his junior career in style having scored twice in the Hounds’ five games played and should the season not continue he will have scored Notre Dame’s final marker of the abbreviated campaign when he netted the lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Humboldt Broncos on the final night before play was halted.
Kusugak-Clark first saw action in a Notre Dame uniform when he collected eight points in 26 games at the Bantam AA level and after two seasons with the U-18 Argos where he posted 41 points in 73 games, he made the jump to the Midget AAA Hounds for his final season of midget hockey. Kusugak-Clark, who had seen some action at that level as a 16-year-old when he registered a pair of assists in seven contests, had a break-out year posting 13-14-27 totals while appearing in every game. He also picked up 76 minutes of penalties to show he had some grit in his game.
That one season in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League warranted a move up to the junior ranks and in each of his two seasons he showed marked improvement tallying 10 points as a SJHL rookie and then 15 points last year.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Kusugak-Clark, but it is fairly certain he isn’t afraid to take a chance on improving both his education and hockey skills. Hopefully an opportunity for him to do that at the post-secondary level will present itself and he can continue on the long path he started many years ago.