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Longtime coach Desjardins excelled as student-athlete

Longtime coach Desjardins excelled as student-athlete

Former CW MVP captained Saskatchewan to 1983 University Cup

EDMONTON – As a men’s hockey player at the University of Saskatchewan, Willie Desjardins won plenty of titles. Now as a coach at the game’s highest levels, Desjardins has done the same.

The Climax, Sask., native was announced Friday as the latest Canada West Hall of Fame inductee.

Desjardins captained the Huskies to their first national championship in 1983, winning tournament MVP as the Huskies hoisted the University Cup. He was a member of three consecutive Canada West championship teams from 1981 to 1983. That dynasty was inducted into the CW Hall of Fame back in October.

A four-time Canada West All-star, Desjardins was the conference’s MVP during the 1982-83 season.

After graduation in 1985, he became an assistant coach  at the University of Calgary, before taking over the program in 1988-89. With Desjardins as head coach, the Dinos compiled a conference record of 113-44-11 and won the Canada West title in 1990.

From there, Desjardins started a remarkable coaching journey that has spanned the globe, with tenures in the National Hockey League, American Hockey League, Western Hockey League, and with the Canadian national program.

To read more about Desjardins, click here.


For the last century, organized university sport has been a central part of the student experience at institutions across Western Canada. Beginning with the University of Manitoba capturing the first Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union (WCIAU) men's hockey banner in 1919-20, student-athletes have been competing to reach their full potential in sport and the classroom, while enriching campus life. 

To commemorate 100 years of university sport across Western Canada, the Canada West Hall of Fame was created in the spring of 2019, with the first induction class set to be unveiled throughout the 2019-20 season. 


About Canada West

Since 1972, Canada West (CW) has been a leader in Canadian university sport, working to provide our student-athletes the opportunities to excel in sport, the classroom, and their communities. CW and our 17 members from across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba collectively carry on a legacy of competitive excellence, as our champions proudly go on to represent the conference at U SPORTS national championships.

Canada West – training leaders, building champions.