March 17, 2024

Roughriders accountant Emma Brezinski gives back to local sports

Emma Brezinski had two schools of thought during a recent Regina Intercollegiate Basketball League game.

She was helping to coach the Sheldon-Williams Spartans junior girls team as it opposed the host Winston Knoll Wolverines, for whom she once played.

“It was definitely a full-circle moment, because I feel like I grew up in that gym,” says Brezinski, an accountant with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“Some of the best moments of my life were in there, so there were lots of memories coming back to Winston Knoll.”

She played for the Wolverines when they were coached by Mark Zacharias.

When Brezinski was in her first year at the University of Regina, she began coaching senior girls basketball as an assistant to Zacharias.

After graduating from the U of R with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, she began her accounting career — a path that led to her joining the Roughriders in May of last year.

She then decided to expand her sporting resume by returning to coaching, once again in collaboration with Zacharias, but at the junior girls level.

That required a change of affiliations, because Zacharias had moved from Winston Knoll Collegiate to Sheldon-Williams Collegiate.

“It’s nice to be able to give back to the community where I’ve spent my whole life,” Brezinski says. “I love to be in the gym and I love to be part of the sport of basketball.”

Brezinski took up the sport while she was at George Lee Elementary School. In addition to representing her school, she played in the Regina Community Basketball Association and on a travelling club team, the Xtreme.

After enrolling at Winston Knoll, she played for the Wolverines’ junior girls team for two years before moving up to the senior level.

“Playing basketball at Knoll was the best time of my life,” she reflects.

“It’s sad being out of that phase of my life, but it’s cool to go back and relive all those memories.”

One of them dates back to Grade 9, when Winston Knoll’s junior girls and junior boys teams travelled to Winnipeg for a tournament.

“I met my boyfriend on that trip,” she says, “and we’ve been together ever since.”

Her first impressions of Holden Bessel?

“Well, he broke my calculator,” Brezinski says with a chuckle. “It got stuck in the gap between the seat and the side of the bus. He tried to pull it out and he wrecked all the buttons.”

The two Wolverines players soon discovered that they had something in common — the same model of cell phone.

Career-wise, there was also a clear compatibility. Brezinski and Bessel are both accountants with a mutual interest in sports.

In Brezinski’s case, she enjoys being an assistant coach, with an eye toward eventually working with younger players in RCBA. At the same time, she appreciates the opportunity to work on the business side with the football team.

“I feel like everyone here is working toward a common goal,” she says. “It’s kind of like being on a sports team.

“I love being around sports and being in this environment is a lot of fun.”