Canada Games Alumni Profile

4/9/20
Bill Potrecz, BP Sports Niagara

Alumni Spotlight: Nancy Kessler

Nancy Kessler did it all at the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que.

The 23-year-old St. Catharines native not only won gold for Team Ontario in women’s basketball, but she also enjoyed her time with the other athletes away from the court.

“It was amazing. I’m always happy because when I look back on my basketball career I learned so many lessons I can apply to my life and I’ve been able to travel the world because of basketball,” the St. Francis graduate said. “It’s nothing but good memories. My parents were able to come on that trip and watch all the games and Sherbrooke was beautiful.

“Whenever we had down time, we saw some soccer and some volleyball with the other athletes so that was real cool to see other athletes shine.”

With the 2021 Canada Games coming to Niagara, Kessler couldn’t be more excited. The St. Francis graduate even got an inside look at Niagara 2021 as an intern for the Games last year. It was all part of her Environmental Management and Assessment post-graduate program at Niagara College.

“I think it’s amazing,” she said. “It was very exciting to be somewhat part of it because I remember how beneficial and valuable it was as a young athlete. I really did want to help at any part of it for the future athletes. 

“They are already involving the community and have facilities set up. That’s amazing to see.”.”

Kessler, who played with the Junior Women’s National Team in 2014 and 2015, attended the University of Toledo on a basketball scholarship. However, her NCAA career was cut short when she was medically disqualified to play basketball by the school’s medical staff midway through the 2015-16 season. She had experienced multiple concussions over the previous two-plus years.

“They put my health first ahead of the team,” she said. “I did have to say goodbye to my potential as an athlete and then I shifted my mindset and that’s where I found a lot of value in being a student assistant coach.”

The experience taught Kessler an important lesson.

“Another thing I learned later in my career was to own your role,” she said.  “Whatever role you are for that team, whether it’s a starter or coming off the bench, or even just a sub on the bench, just own that because each role is important in the whole team’s success. Every detail matters.”

Kessler, who works as an environmental field technician travelling in Ontario, would love to give back to the game at some point.

“Hopefully once I establish my career and get settled I would like to be more involved in the basketball community again, whether that be coaching, training, refereeing — whatever.”

This report was filed by BP Sports Niagara, which is owned and operated by Bernie Puchalski and Bill Potrecz.

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