Alberta-born Nathan Whiteknife dedicates his time to mentoring life skills and work ethic to Fort McMurray youth through Canadian’s most-favoured sport – hockey.
“Setting up the next generation for success in whatever journey they choose in life” is a cause that the Fort McMurray Minor Hockey Association coach and Wood Buffalo Native Youth Hockey Club board member said he believes in.
“I’m not coaching kids to win the game, but teaching them life skills, people skills, work ethic and sportsmanship.”
Whiteknife was born at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre and grew up in Fort Chipewyan. On becoming a young teen, he left home to attend private school and pursue hockey in Southern Alberta.
Following his achievements, he came back to the city to complete his high school education at Father Patrick Mercredi High School.
Whiteknife’s first job was working for the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Fort Chipewyan as a summer student for Kewatinook Recreation.
“I learned responsibility in all aspects from waking up each day and being punctual to having structure and accountabilities,” he said.
His career path kept him close to home, working in the oilsands. He started as a heavy equipment operator. By 2005, he became a journeyman after his industrial mechanic apprenticeship. Now, he’s the Maintenance Superintendent at Canadian Natural Resources Limited at Albian Sands.
As a husband and father to three children, Whiteknife said he enjoys his free time in the outdoors with his family and coaching his two boys in minor hockey. He loves the Wood Buffalo region for its accessibility to the outdoors.
“I love the ability to get out of the day-to-day whirlwind within a couple of minutes’ drive, and you are in the Great Outdoors or the bush as we call it in Chip. It’s peaceful and quiet,” he said. “If you love the outdoors and great people, this community is for you.”