- 1 UP
Basketball Lay Up
Home > News > Former Algoma U Thunderbird Standout, Karissa Kajorinne, Returns To The Court As Member of Windsor Edge in MWBA

Former Algoma U Thunderbird Standout, Karissa Kajorinne, Returns To The Court As Member of Windsor Edge in MWBA

(SAULT STE. MARIE, ON – June 22, 2022):  Karissa Kajorinne, a former varsity athlete and current assistant coach with the Algoma University Thunderbirds Women’s Basketball program, has recently returned to the hardwood as a member of the Windsor Edge in the Maritime Women’s Basketball Association (MWBA). At the time of writing, Kajorinne is currently leading the league in total points (246) for an average of 24.6 points per game.

“Having an opportunity to compete on the court following my post-secondary career, especially  within Canada, was something I have been waiting for so I was super excited when the league announced its start. The league is also commissioned by a former Lakehead U women’s player (Tasia McKenna) whom I really idolized growing up in the Junior Wolves program in Thunder Bay,” states Kajorinne. 

The MWBA was created to allow female basketball players an opportunity to play in a more professional environment, rather than simply “getting a group together on the evenings and weekends”. This allows an excellent opportunity for females to play when they have completed their time as a university athlete. Having a high performance program like this opens up the discussion around the creation of professional leagues in Canada – and what this means for adult athletes.

“The startup of the MWBA was obviously something I was personally excited for in the sense of being able to compete and play again at a high level.  It is also awesome for young girls to see this as a possibility after their school basketball careers are finished. That’s kind of what this league is all about – showcasing and inspiring so many different generations of female athletes. On our team alone, the age range is from 18-41 with some players just entering their careers while others have their children cheering for us in the stands. I also think that coming all the way out east allows the girls that I’ve coached in the Sault to really broaden their horizons of what is possible for them,” says Kajorinne. 

When university athletes retire, it can be an extreme challenge. Former student-athletes are often met with having to navigate through a whole new lifestyle, routine, and identity. Student athletes are constantly challenged with balancing performance, practice, and recovery on top of their schooling, and with so much focus on this, post-sport life can leave these individuals feeling lost. If they are coming from a team sport, they can lose the sense of community and belonging they received from their teammates. 

Algoma Thunderbirds WBB Head Coach, Ryan Vetrie, explained how the MWBA plays a critical role in athlete development. He notes that after playing for a maximum of five years at the university level, the love and drive for the sport doesn’t go away. What is unique about the MWBA is that it allows athletes to continue to develop beyond USports, while also motivating student athletes.

Leagues such as the MWBA address this, as they provide a chance to reconnect with a team. “I think that this league is a great starting point for women’s basketball in Canada. The amount of support I’ve already seen thus far has been tremendous,” says Kajorinne. She continued, “I do foresee this league, or others like it, expanding outside of the maritimes and most likely stretching across Canada. In Canada, it’s about time that there is an option out there for women to compete in once their careers are finished. I’m excited to see the continued development and growth of opportunities for female athletes within Canada!”

Kajorinne plays for the Windsor Edge, consisting of other teammates who have played within the OUA including Jodi White (UOttawa) and Tiffany Reynolds (Lakehead). Athletes in the MWBA come from all over Canada, some still playing at their respective universities. Kajorinne has been able to take what she learned at Algoma and Lakehead to succeed in the MWBA. She notes that she learned to “grind” at Algoma, stating that she would spend hours training and practicing. “I am so thankful for the access we had at Algoma. Without the time and commitment of my coaches and teammates at Algoma, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. I also learned a lot about leadership, accountability and adversity throughout my time as a Thunderbird and those are things that I’ve brought with me to the MWBA and our Windsor Edge team.”

Coach Vetrie has had the opportunity to both coach and work alongside Karissa. He has been following her progress this season and enjoys watching the games. “It’s no surprise that Karissa has been doing great out there. She has always been a competitor and continues to have a strong work ethic. She loves the game, I don’t think she’s ever really stopped playing. She has inspired a ton of players within our club and varsity teams. I know they look forward to having her share the experience she has had this year in the MWBA.” 

The MWBA Quarter-, Semi-, and Finals take place from June 24th-26th. Windsor Edge will be playing Port City Fog in Quarter final action at 8pm on Friday, June 24th. We want to wish Karissa and Windsor Edge the best of luck! 
Visit https://themwba.ca/ for more information!

Share Article