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Alex Fera honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award
2023-12-03
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While Alex Fera did not plan to piggyback almost 15 years as a weightlifting coach on the back of some two decades spent as a competitor in the sport of Olympic lifting, now that he has done so, it's sure nice to be recognized.

A member of the Coniston Weightlifting Club in his youth and young adulthood, Fera was recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Weightlifting Association (OWA), a presentation that was made at the Ontario Senior Championships in Scarborough in early November.

Though 35 years of involvement with the OWA is noteworthy, that certainly wasn't the roadway he had mapped out once his days on the platform were done.

Life and work had taken Fera from Sudbury to the Windsor area in his early thirties, where by shere chance he would connect with Sudbury native and former Wolves' forward Andy Paquette, a young man who was just beginning to make a name for himself as a hockey skills trainer.

"Andy started to understand just how good a connection that Olympic weightlifting could be for hockey players, football players and other athletes," said Fera.

It certainly didn't hurt that Paquette had begun to look into the work that former lifter and strength coach Charles Poliquin had done in completely revitalizing the career of NHLer Gary Roberts - and that Fera and Poliquin were friends from their days as adversaries in Olympic weightlifting.

Methods that are now widely accepted within the training regimen of professional hockey talent was only just starting to make headway.

"With Olympic lifting, you're using your brain to tell your muscle groups to move faster, to explode," explained Fera. "You train that as a little kid and you grow up with it. It kind of mimics what you are doing on-ice with the first three steps or on the football field."

"You're training these muscles how to move."

After working with Paquette for a bit, Fera returned north, deciding to re-immerse himself in a sport that he loved. Beyond simply those who wish to compete in weightlifting competitions, Fera would look to those in other disciplines searching for transferrable off-ice/off-field training benefits.

It's allowed him to enjoy some of the same passion he would now as an athlete.

"When you're an athlete, you're on the platform by yourself," said Fera. "It's probably the most exciting feeling I have ever had in my life. Now that I am a coach and my athlete is out there, I feel like I am standing right beside them."

"If they do well, I feel like I've done well. If they fail, I've failed."

That ebb and flow is sure to continue next weekend as Fera leaves with three of his Sudbury athletes - Ambroise Stevens-Paquette, Max Moulton and Hunter McNeillie - all of whom are part of the field at the Ontario Junior Championships, also in Scarborough.

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