Wrestling practices at Kahnawake Survival School got a new – but familiar - feeling this week when they resumed Monday under new head coach Brandon Stalk, and it’s like everything old is new again, the school’s student engagement and athletic coordinator said.
“It’s awesome to have him in the building and I couldn’t think of a better guy to run the program,” KSS student engagement coordinator and athletic facilitator Cougar Kirby said. “He’s such a positive role model for the students.”
Stalk held his first practices this week after the announcement of his hiring last week.
The former KSS wrestler learned his craft under legendary coach Dave Canadian and competed in the North American Indigenous Games in 2006 and went on to compete in jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts for many years.
He started coaching KSS wrestlers as an assistant coach from 2011 and 2016 and coached a number of Greater Montreal Athletic Association (GMAA) champions and coached a number of athletes who also went on to compete at the Canadian national championships and with Team Eastern Door and the North (EDN) at NAIG.
Kirby said Stalk’s hiring satisfied all the school’s criteria in their new coach.
“He’s an alumnus, he’s a great role model and extremely positive with the kids. Not only is he a motivated force for good with these kids, he has a lot of talent as a coach, but is very humble about it. He’s really great. We’re pretty excited about having him,” Kirby said.
The ability to teach wrestling is as important as being able to engage with and connect with the kids, and of course, that ability is exactly what KSS was looking for.
“It’s clear in the way he is and the way he connects with the kids that he has that passion and we want the athletes to share that passion,” Kirby added.
"I want to thank the KSS administration for having confidence in me to lead the team into the future,” Stalk said. “Coaching wrestling is something I’ve always loved doing and I look forward to making the most out of the opportunity. My goal as a coach is to provide a safe, respectful and positive environment to the student-athletes and to utilize my past experiences as a coach and working with some very highly skilled wrestlers to prepare them for competition.”
Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Iori:wase