You can take the boy out of P.A., but you can never take P.A. out of the boy.
It has been almost a quarter century since Dwayne Stonechild last lived in Prince Albert, but slowly he is making a return to his roots. The St. Mary High School graduate left for the University of Saskatchewan in 1988 and after getting a law degree in the early 1990s, he settled into a firm in Saskatoon.
A few years later he opened his own office and for the last two years he has transitioned back to Prince Albert with the opening of a small office in the Senator Allan Bird building on the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation.
“I have wanted to open an office in Prince Albert for quite some time so I finally took that step,” explained Stonechild recently.
“I am hoping to move back to Prince Albert (permanently) after my two oldest girls are settled in university,” added Stonechild.
A former standout on the volleyball and basketball courts, Stonechild figured while he was staying in Prince Albert during the week for work, and heading back to Saskatoon on weekends to be with his family, he might as well get involved in the local sporting scene. For the past two summers he has been busy coaching minor softball and his efforts were rewarded earlier this month when he guided the Squirt Aces to the provincial Squirt A championship.
His two youngest daughters, Julia and Jaylynn, were on that team while his two older daughters, Amanda and Alyssa, also played ball on Prince Albert squads. This move didn’t come without a fight with Softball Saskatchewan as players are required to play ball in the jurisdiction where they attend school. Stonechild didn’t agree.
“There are a lot of people who don’t live in the same house,” stated Stonechild. “They can declare a parent’s address where they want to live.”
“Prince Albert Minor Softball has been awesome,” added Stonechild. “They have welcomed us in and gave me a team to coach.”
So, Stonechild registered his children to play ball in Prince Albert using his residence here as home base and his wife remained in Saskatoon. She would then shuttle the girls to Rosthern every weeknight and Stonechild would pick them up for practises and games and on weekends, all four girls played games in the Girls Prairie Softball League with most of the stops being in Alberta.
“They loved it,” said Stonechild. “They met a lot of people and I knew most of the parents from before so it was nice to be home and reconnect with the people.”
One of the people that Stonechild has reconnected with is his former high school coach Dale Regel, a man Stonechild says he owes everything to.
“I think of him every time I coach,” admits Stonechild. “I remember all the things he taught me. I remember all of his sayings and I try and pass them on to everyone I teach. I wouldn’t be here today without him.”
“He was always a believer that first you needed to teach the technical skills,” continued Stonechild. “Once you have that foundation then you move on.”
Stonechild hopes to get into coaching volleyball and basketball in addition to continuing with softball. Having been a player, he wants to pass on his knowledge to others and it looks like he is on the right track.
“I like the start when you don’t know who you have and how they will be,” says Stonechild. “I like the challenge to improve their skills and make them a team.”
“With girls especially, sports gives them those extra skills for being self-confident,” added Stonechild. “It’s nice to see kids have a sport and a passion to make them better members of the community.”
With that philosophy, Prince Albert will only benefit more when Stonechild and his family make the move back home permanently. The sooner the better!