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Volunteering has been a way to give back for Eric Honetschlager

A brief conversation turned into a lifetime of volunteering for Eric Honetschlager.

Years ago, when he was an all-star wrestler at the University of Regina, he had to look elsewhere to stay involved in sport after being injured.

“I got hurt and the coach had asked if I ever thought about coaching and I said ‘no,’” recalled Honetschlager. “And he goes, ‘well why don’t you?’”

After giving it some consideration, Honetschlager started coaching wrestling at F.W. Johnson Collegiate in Regina. Today, 33 years and numerous coaching and volunteer roles later, he’s still involved.

“My philosophy has always been that you have to give back to people,” said Honetschlager. “And I’ve always enjoyed sport and so it’s just my way of giving back.”

Along with his coaching resume, which included time at Martin Collegiate and for his daughters’ softball team, Honetschlager has volunteered at numerous Canada Games and North American Indigenous Games.

“When NAIG started in 1990, that first year, I competed, I coached and I coordinated the program,” said Honetschlager. “Looking at the kids and some of the faces of the kids who’ve never been at an event that large, that’s what makes it all worthwhile.”

Honetschlager is also a former chair for Sask Sport’s Board of Directors, Coaches Association of Saskatchewan board member and elected board member for the Saskatchewan Wrestling Association. He has done work for the Aboriginal Coaching Module and is a facilitator-in-training. He’s also a wrestling course facilitator and coach evaluator. And he encourages others to volunteer if they are able.

“Whether you’re attending a provincials or a nationals, when you look at the number of people that are involved to run the event… it’s a lot of people,” he said.

“Just try it. See if it’s for you. You don’t have to be a coach. There’s lots of things you can do behind the scenes to help.”