Cochrane trio to play for U of C
Being a Dino is a family tradition for Cooper Hamaliuk. The Cochrane High School graduate is set to play for the University of Calgary’s basketball team in the fall, the squad his father, Steve, used to be an assistant coach for.
“I’ve always had basketball in my life,” said Hamaliuk. “It’s definitely a good opportunity for me and it’s good to make the team because it runs in our family.”
Hamaliuk began playing basketball when he was nine, beginning with a community team in Calgary. His family moved to Cochrane when he was in Grade 7, and he played with the Cochrane Cobras for the past four years.
In Grade 8, he made Team Alberta, playing on the U15 team when he was 12 and 13 years old and playing on the U17 team when he was 15. As a member of the provincial team, Hamaliuk travelled across Western Canada and played in two national tournaments. Playing with Team Alberta is what sparked Hamaliuk to pursue basketball at the post-secondary level.
“It’s helped (my game) a lot,” Hamaliuk said.
“They’re a lot more competitive and athletic. You’re playing against some older guys and it gives you (an advantage) on everyone else when you come back to high school ball.”
Over the past four years, Hamaliuk and the Cobras won four straight divisional titles, two South Central Zone titles and one provincial title. The team nearly swept all three titles this past season, but lost in the provincial final to Canmore Composite.
Hamaliuk said he’s going to miss playing with the Cobras.
“The thing I’ll miss the most is having so many people behind you and that support you because the school is so small,” he said.
While he fielded offers from other schools, Hamaliuk, who is planning on studying geology next year, said the University of Calgary was his first choice due to his family’s history with the school.
“I’ve always wanted to go to the U of C,” he said.
“The biggest thing (I’m looking forward to) is playing against higher competition and taking my game to the next level so I can excel and take my career to the next level.”
Hamaliuk isn’t the only Cochrane High graduate who is playing on a university athletic team next year. Kellen Forrest will be playing for the Dinos’ football team, and Kayla Rietze is a member of the school’s track team.
Matt Hood and Caleb Hicock will suit up for SAIT’s volleyball team. Josh Harvey and Kylee Willis will also be playing volleyball; Harvey with UBC Okanagan and Willis with Mount Royal University.