Hockey cheer coach, Michelle Kawelaske, honors her mom’s legacy

The Oakville hockey program pulled through with a 6-1 win over Eureka High School on Jan. 21. Although, this was no ordinary game, this game was the hockey team’s second annual teal out game.

Cheer coach, Michelle Kawelaske, and the Oakville hockey cheerleaders came up with the idea of the teal out game in order to honor Suzanne Kawelaske’s, Michelle’s mom, legacy. Suzanne devoted a lot of her time to the Oakville hockey program, being a hockey cheerleader while in high school and then continuing on to be the hockey cheer coach for 11 years.

“The teal out game is a way to honor my mom and all that she did for the Oakville hockey program for 11 years. She impacted so many people’s lives and put so much effort into coaching, so it is a great way to honor her legacy,” Michelle said.

In October of 2012, Suzanne was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. Suzanne fought hard and was cancer free until 2015 when it came back as stage four ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, Suzanne lost the battle in June of 2015.

“Losing her as a coach was heartbreaking for all of us. She really loved cheer and was passionate about coaching for 11 years,” hockey cheerleader Kaitlyn Neinhaus (12) said.

Suzanne was an inspiration for all the cheer girls. That’s why when Michelle stepped up to fulfill her role as a coach, the girls were thrilled.

“Michelle is a coach that takes on the same position as her mom. She’s a good leader, she tells it like it is, and she wants the best for all of us as cheerleaders and girls,” said Neinhaus.

Oakville hockey and the cheerleaders have their last league game this Friday, Jan. 27, vs Lindbergh at Kennedy Ice Rink starting at 9:30 pm.