Volleyball: Josh Watson
Coming from Christchurch, New Zealand, Josh Watson played his rookie year in the ACAC with Northwestern Polytechnic and will join the men’s volleyball team in 2023-2024. Watson will not be the only New Zealander on the team; second-year outside hitter Jarod Roberts and rookie Finn Howard will also call NAIT home for the upcoming season.
“The fact that Jarod Roberts and incoming rookie Finn Howard who are also from New Zealand, the chemistry will be unmatched for coming years.”
With a 6’3 frame, Watson is excited to get underway with a new group of guys and contend for a championship right out of the gate. “Most exciting will be playing with a new group of guys and heading towards getting that ‘chip this year!” Watson said.
Hockey: Brophy Dunne
Joining NAIT’s men’s hockey team after a successful career with the Spruce Grove Saints in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), defenceman Brophy Dunne will bring plenty of experience to the Ooks blueline this season. The Prince George, British Columbia native has played with the Saints in the AJHL since 2020-2021, and served as an Assistant Captain last year. He also recorded 35 points, including 12 goals through 107 games.
“I’m a big solid defenceman who is very confident in making great breakout passes … I have a good shot and plan on gaining my offensive game this year!” Dunne said in a message to the Nugget.
Standing in at 6’0, the left-shot D-man would have been tied for the second tallest defenceman on the roster last year and hopes he can use that to his advantage this season with the Ooks.
“I’m honoured to be an Ook and I really hope I am able to make a big impact for the logo and my teammates.”
Basketball: Laila Wright
This second-year center is set to join the Ooks women’s basketball team this year after playing with Wilfred Laurier University in 2022-2023. Listed at 6’0 and hailing from Scarborough, Ontario, Wright suited up for 23 games during her time in Waterloo with the Golden Hawks. She averaged 11 minutes and showcased her ability to be a weapon on the offensive glass, grabbing 65 rebounds, 36 of which were on the offensive end.
Wright hopes she can bring some physicality on both sides of the court and is excited to work with her new teammates. “I also bring physicality on defence on the perimeter and in the paint as well as my strong rebounding skills…I am excited for us to grow together on and off the court and to build a team culture that will set us up for the seasons to come.”
Soccer: Terra Achtymichuk
From Sherwood Park, Alberta, Terra Achtymichuk joins the Ooks women’s soccer team after the club lost to the Lethbridge Kodiaks in the bronze medal game last season. “Terra embodies the qualities of a total footballer, and her versatility will give us the ability to be tactically flexible,” Coach Dhee said in the team’s announcement post on Instagram.
Achtymichuk is entering her third year at NAIT and stated it was initially Dhee who reached out to her about returning to soccer and joining the team. “This will actually be my third year here at NAIT,” Achtymichuk said in a message to the Nugget. “I had taken a break from soccer but when Dhee came on board as Head Coach and reached out to me, I couldn’t say no to the opportunity.”
“My time at NAIT has been amazing, and attending this school was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made … with two years left of my degree, I’m so excited to see what’s in store!”
With those remaining years, Achtymichuk hopes to support her teammates and bring a strong work ethic to the women’s soccer team. “I will be able to bring a hard work ethic … I love being part of a team and always look out for and support my teammates as best I can.
Cover photo via NAIT Athletics