Former hockey standout makes great strides in Canadian community

While many students have the opportunity to play sports during their time in college, it’s merely a dream that it one day become a career. But for Meagan Big Snake ’11, this dream became a reality only months after graduation.

Meagan Big Snake '11

Meagan Big Snake ’11

Former Oswego State women’s ice hockey player Big Snake landed a position as the project coordinator and coach for a new program, Greater Strides Hockey Academy, where Aboriginal Canadian youth get the opportunity to learn to play the sport.

During the day, she works full time as a finance clerk for Greater Strides partner Treaty 7 Management Corp., a nonprofit dedicated to Aboriginal community and economic development in Alberta, Canada.

In the evenings, Big Snake suits up and hits the ice as a coach and project coordinator for the Greater Strides team.

“It’s great to jump on the ice with kids who started off the same way I did,” said Big Snake, a member of the Siksika Nation of Aboriginal Canadians. “They look up to me as a role model. Yes, I went to university, I played hockey, and, yes, you can too.”

After graduation, Big Snake headed home to Alberta and applied for a summer job as a project coordinator with Greater Strides.

“After a four-day summer camp, they hired me full time,” Big Snake said. “They’re so helpful and they really care; it’s a kind-hearted community and corporation.”

Looking back at her four years at Oswego, the public justice major never imagined just how valuable her athletic coaching minor would be.

“I always knew I wanted to keep the game in my life, even if it was coaching,” Big Snake said. “I love coaching, I love playing the game. I didn’t think it was going to turn into a career.”

Big Snake hasn’t completely forgotten about her original major in school, though. One short-term goal she has is earning a master’s degree. Currently, she is looking into criminology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

But for now, Big Snake feels extremely lucky in her position.

“I absolutely love this job, I could work here forever. It’s like a dream job for a hockey player.” l

— Emily Longeretta ’12

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