NAX Forward Dolynchuk Completes Edmonton Fire Cadets

After 10 months, Northern Alberta Xtreme (NAX) student-athlete Megan Dolynchuk has completed the Edmonton Fire Cadets program.

The Edmonton, AB product joined the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) in 2021/22, spending two seasons with Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA). She would return home for the 2023/24 season with the NAX Female U18 Prep team, allowing her the opportunity to participate in the Edmonton Fire Cadets.

250 applicants aged 14-18 applied for the program in the spring of 2023. “There’s this big application process you have to answer about 10 questions, and they’re in paragraph form about who you are so they can have a sense of your personality and why you want to do it,” said Dolynchuk.

From there, 40 advanced to the interview process with just 20 of the initial 250 applicants being accepted into the program.

Not only was the three-year CSSHL student-athlete among the 20 candidates accepted into the program, she was selected as one of the four platoon leaders, leading a five-person crew.

Starting in September, the program involved a weekly homework chapter and online test, then every Wednesday from 6:00-9:30pm they did hands-on training.

“We are given a precis of the textbook that an actual Firefighter Recruit Class would do and we review that and then have to complete an online test,” said Dolynchuk. “Then we meet every week and we expand on what we learned in the precis, but put it into real life. Firefighters come out from different Fire Stations around the city and they do the stations with us to get exposure to them, get to know them and they help with whatever we’re doing.”

“For the last five, six weeks, we’ve been doing live fire scenarios. So, they’ve had us in this training tower, which is a big cement building that has propane fires instead of wood fires that they used in the past (propane is safer as it has less flames). We still go on air tanks and all the gear because we are still around real fire and want to get the full effect. We do fire specific situations like Search and Rescue and that kind of stuff, as well as first level, second level, basement and car fires,” added Dolynchuk.

The Edmonton Fire Cadets program required an intensive level of commitment, dedication and both physical and mental strength. “It was a lot like the atmosphere in hockey. You have to work with the team. You can’t win by yourself. It’s everyone coming together and when you’re all fighting for the same cause you can get somewhere. You see that a lot in hockey and that relates to everything,” said Dolynchuk. “I already had that ability to work with others because of the years I have been playing hockey on a team.”

And while the sport itself provided her with many of the necessary skills needed to excel in the Edmonton Fire Cadets program, she noted the importance of playing in the CSSHL and learning to manage her time, balancing hockey, school and other interests.

“It wasn’t easy to balance my time but I got better throughout. On weekends when we were away at showcases or tournaments, we had study hall time. I was able to easily use that to also do my Edmonton Fire Cadets. This was my third year in the league, so I know what I’m doing. My first two years I always finished my homework before we even went on trips. So I used my study hall times at the trips to do Edmonton Fire Cadets because I’ve always been able to get ahead in school”

“Megan is a very hardworking and driven personality.  She is able to superbly balance school, family and hockey while still challenging herself in other societal contributions which include Edmonton Fire Cadet Training and Tutoring,” added NAX Female U18 Prep head coach Dylan Dellezay. “She is a responsible and humble person, who goes about her daily life that many look up to and envy, all while always smiling.”

Completing the Edmonton Fire Cadets has already opened doors and provided opportunities for Dolynchuk, who sees the program as a reference and experience builder in helping her achieve her future ambitions.

Despite the intensive fire training, Dolynchuk’s future interests lie in the medical field. She will be attending MacEwan University in Edmonton this fall, playing for the women’s hockey team while getting a degree in Bachelor of Science. After getting her degree at MacEwan, Dolynchuk hopes to attend the University of Alberta or University of British Columbia to get a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Sciences with the goal of becoming a Paediatrician.