Thursday, September 9, 2021

ZONE homecoming happy one for Jahnke

By Darren Steinke
Gordie Howe Sports Complex

Dan Jahnke started at ZONE Sports Physiotherapy in March.
Dan Jahnke likes homecomings so much he did it twice.

Back in 2018, Jahnke finished up a four-year career playing baseball for the Newman University Jets, which is an NCAA Division II program in the United States in Wichita, Kansas. He completed his bachelor of science in biology at Newman University and moved back to Saskatoon to pursue his master of physical therapy at the University of Saskatchewan.

In December of 2020, Jahnke completed his master of physical therapy degree. At the start of this year, he began working as a physiotherapist in Cold Lake, Alta.

Jahnke saw a job posting for ZONE Sports Physiotherapy back home in Saskatoon. He applied for it, and at the end of this past March, he was back home working at the ZONE location inside the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.

“It was really nice to be able to come back,” said Jahnke. “This is where lots of my family is.

“I have lots of friends here obviously growing up here. It is home. It is just where I like being.”

The 25-year-old is a recognizable face not just in Saskatoon’s baseball community but in the city’s much larger sports community.

Jahnke played hockey along with baseball growing up. As a goalie in hockey, Jahnke suited up for the Saskatoon Blazers under-18 AAA for two seasons from 2010 to 2012 before joining the now defunct Beardy’s Blackhawks under-18 AAA squad for the 2012-13 campaign.

In his Grade 12 year in high school, Jahnke became a member of the Aden Bowman Collegiate Bears football team. On top of enjoying rounds of golf, Jahnke said his senior year in high school was the time he tried to soak in playing as many sports as he could.

“I just liked doing anything where I could move around and hit things and throw things – just have fun playing around and competing,” said Jahnke, who stands 6-feet and weighs 190 pounds. “It got me involved in a lot of different sports growing up.

Dan Jahnke playing for Newman University. (Photo Courtesy Dan Jahnke)
“Throughout high school, I was playing hockey and baseball mostly with the (under-18) AAA level there. I decided hockey wasn’t in my future competitively at least. I had a Grade 12 year after that.

“I figured I would try out everything I missed out on for the rest of high school. In that high school year, I did football, badminton, wrestling and track and field. I was just trying to do everything I could.”

During his high school years, Jahnke played for the Saskatoon Diamondback under-18 AAA baseball team. He credited his Diamondbacks coach, Matt Kosteniuk, as being a big influence on helping him enjoy baseball to the point he wanted to play it at the post-secondary level.

“I had really good experiences in baseball,” said Jahnke. “I had always been part of good teams growing up.

“We were good on the field and good off the field. In (under-18 AAA), I was lucky enough to have Matt Kosteniuk as my coach. He is a great guy. I still really enjoy hockey, but the competitive hockey I just decided wasn’t for me in the future.

“I wanted to keep playing something, and I loved baseball. I had a lot of fun with it. I figured it was a good way to keep competing and keep pushing myself while getting an education.”

At Newman University from 2014 to 2018, Jahnke played numerous positions with the Jets. He mainly played at first base and third base, spent a season in the outfield and was a backup catcher at one point in time.

Jahnke had such a good experience at Newman University that it did feel tough leaving the people he knew in Wichita to come home.

“Kansas is so similar to here in a lot of ways,” said Jahnke. “It is definitely different in some ways too.

“It is very similar in quite a few. I made a lot of good friends down there, so that kind of sucked leaving the friends behind. Coming back, I just got thrown right into the fire with physio school.

Dan Jahnke’s Jets promo picture.
“When you’re busy, it kind of helps you transition back into things. It forces you to get back in pretty quick.”

Once he returned to Saskatoon, Jahnke found it was a smooth transition to resume life where he grew up.

“I guess it was relatively easy,” said Jahnke. “I had been back every summer.

“I still knew everybody around here. I didn’t have any real issues.”

Jahnke said one of the obvious perks to becoming a physiotherapist is it allows you to stay involved in sports. That was just part of the reason he became a physiotherapist.

He had a larger interest in helping people function better physically.

“I obviously love sports,” said Jahnke. “I’ve played a lot of sport in my life.

“I’ve always been really interested in how people perform better and what makes people perform better from a physical perspective. That led me kind of into the biomechanics of things. Physio just seemed to fit that really well like combining biomechanics.

“You have the sport aspect of it. I thought if I was lucky enough to get to that area it would be great and here we are. It just kind of ticked all the boxes.”

Jahnke has enjoyed working alongside Mitch Dahl and Brad Spokes at the ZONE clinic at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex. Jahnke had been one of Dahl’s clients for years when it came to rehabbing from various sports injuries.

“Mitch (Dahl) and Brad (Spokes) are both awesome,” said Jahnke. “I have a lot to learn from both of them.

“It is interesting. I think back even two years ago I was coming into this clinic for physio to see Mitch as a client. It is kind of cool to be able to hang out and say ‘hi’ to somebody that helped you through that much when you were growing up and helped you keep playing and do what you want to do.

“I feel like I am getting to learn from one of the best crews around.”

This year, Jahnke began helping the Saskatoon Valkyries of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League as a trainer. He would like to be involved with more teams in the future and wants to learn and grow as a physiotherapist at ZONE.

Dan Jahnke enjoys being at the Gordie Howe Sports Complex.
When he sees clients, Jahnke believes the fact that he took part in numerous sports growing up aids in his career now.

“I think it helps,” said Jahnke. “It is nice to know when somebody comes in that I can say I was doing something in this sport.

“It is nice to know what they mean. It is good for talking points. It is easy to make conversation with people, especially with a few of the people from (The Going Yard Training Centre) that we might say high too and people over at Ignite (Athletics).

“We are all into sports and performance and just general fitness. It is kind of what we are doing here. The variety of sport definitely adds to that for sure.”