Two Prince Albert ball players to represent Saskatchewan at Canada Summer Games

Troy Preymack (left) and Ryan Bicknell (right) are heading to Niagara, Ont. this summer to represent Saskatchewan on the softball team. --Photo courtesy of Kevin Preymack.

Fifteen softball players were selected to represent Team Sask at the upcoming Canada Summer games in Niagara. Two of those players are from Prince Albert.

It’s been a fun ride so far for Ryan Bicknell and Troy Preymack in the softball scene. Most recently, they both represented the Delisle Pride in 2019 in the U19 national fast pitch tournament in Owen Sound, Ont. They took home silver medals, falling 14-2 in the finals to the Shallow Lake Sting.

In 2022, Bicknell will be wearing a Team Sask jersey for the first time. He’s already represented Canada on two different occasions, but he’s excited to represent his province when nationals come around.

“My initial reaction was just pure excitement,” Bicknell said. “To be able to go to Ontario and throw on a jersey that represents your province instead of your club team, it’s a bit of a different feeling. I’m really excited for the road coming up.”

These past few months have given Bicknell a chance to go out and hone his craft whenever he can. He says he has joined some of his teammates in training and sticking with the game, which has helped him stay in shape leading up to his selection to the Summer Games team.

“We’ve been going to different sports complexes when we can,” he said. “It’s been a lot of weight training, four or five times a week. We’ve really been getting into the right mindset. We’ve brought in sports scientists to help us with mental training, because the mental side of the game is important too.”

The past couple of years have been mentally challenging amid the pandemic, and aside from bringing in professionals to help the mental aspect of their game, Bicknell says independent training has been helpful as well.

“Training and the amount of times I’ve been able to practice has been reduced over the last couple of years, so you have to make up for that independently. You look back and realize what you can do better. For me personally, I’ve used the time to adapt to my game. Constant repetition has helped me get a better feel for everything.”

Preymack, who has played ball with Bicknell since they were kids in elementary school, shares a similar feeling about playing in Ontario this summer.

“It’s exciting to get the chance to represent the province,” Preymack said. “I get to go with a friend that I grew up playing ball with. It’s nice to have someone come with me that I’ve practiced with and have known my whole life.”

Preymack has been pitching ever since he picked up the game of softball. It’s something that he has always been proud to stick with.

“It’s a part of my life and it’s one of my favorite hobbies,” he said. “I like playing competitive sports. Softball really pushes me to do my best every year, and it’s awesome.”

Preymack says playing on a stage other than nationals will be a fun change, and he hopes it’s something that he will get the chance to do again.

“I think it’ll be good, getting to play in a new atmosphere that’s not nationals with a club team. I’ll be going with coaches that I’ve never played for before, and playing with different teammates, too. It’ll be a good experience that will help a lot in the long run.”

@kyle_kosowan •