Cara Maximizing Lessons Learned On and Off the Ice
going to make it as a player.”
Cara spent time in Junior A and Major Junior hockey,
sandwiching stints with Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey
League around 113 games over two WHL seasons between the
Lethbridge Hurricanes and Saskatoon Blades. For every WHL
season, a player receives a minimum of tuition, books and
compulsory fees at any post-secondary institution.
“I always had in the back of my mind that the scholarship I
was receiving from the (WHL) was something I really wanted
to utilize, based on life after hockey and getting yourself in a
position where if you wanted to continue to play hockey, you
could still get your education and play at an even higher level
than you’re playing in at that time,” he explains.
“So it became a choice of looking to go play minor pro and chase
that dream, or go to school and start building your education.”
After his junior eligibility expired in 2005, Cara enrolled at the U
of M, heeding the advice of Penticton coach and former WHLer
Bruno Campese, who encouraged Cara to go to school.
“He just said, ‘In two years from now when you look back at the
decision you’ve made as opposed to some of the guys that are
going to go play minor pro, you’ll understand why I’m pushing
you this way,’ and he was right,” says Cara.
“I remember being in school and thinking this is such a great
decision to go to school and get my education instead of
bouncing from town to town in minor hockey rinks.”
During Cara’s four years at Manitoba, the Bisons reached the
Canada West playo s three times and twice won a series. His
nest season individually was 2006-07, when the six-foot winger
tallied 16 points in 36 total games to rank fourth and second,
respectively, on the team.
“My greatest memories are everything we did as a group,” he
says. “It wasn’t necessarily the wins and losses, it was more the
time spent with all those guys over that time.”
So tight-knit were the players on those Manitoba teams that
many would continue to play together in senior hockey on the
South East Prairie Thunder, which won the Allan Cup in 2012.
“That was one of the coolest things I remember in my career,”
says Cara. “We had a lot of guys that were Bisons alumni involved
on that team, so it’s cool that we were able to stay together into
the Allan Cup (and) get a few more years together with that
When he started university, Cara’s goal was to pursue either
physical education or business. The son of educators, Cara came
by a passion for teaching naturally, while his interest in the latter
was nurtured inside the classrooms of Manitoba, eventually
leading him to enter the university’s Asper School of Business
and earn a Bachelor of Commerce.
Cara had been working for The Rink in the summertime while he
played for the Bisons, and became a full-time employee during
his nal year of studies at the U of M. He was responsible for
developing The Rink’s extensive satellite training, before being
promoted to his current position.
“I’ve been very lucky with the opportunities to develop that I’ve
been provided by our group. Having a business degree is a huge
part of the growth of those opportunities,” he says.
“I’m able to apply that daily with what I do in my position and I
have a hockey job, so it ended up being the best of both worlds.”
CANADA WEST YEARBOOK 29