Northern Energy Basketball Club


“Helping to Build Girls Basketball in the Peace”

The Northern Energy Basketball Club began in March 2015 as a U17 Girls Basketball team. This team was formed by Bezanson locals, Carolyn and Grant Pilgrim, as well as coaches Lisa Deneault and Lorelle Kerik. The club began with the desire to assist young women in getting to the next level of basketball and to become strong women while doing so. What was born was a team that brings players from multiple school divisions together to grow and develop skills as players, as teammates and as young adults. This team has had some challenges this year because of a short bench and many injuries but overall the team and club remains true to it’s vision – which is to give these young players the tools needed to become better basketball players on and off the court.

            “The team is smaller and younger this year, but they have heart and hustle as much as any other team competing. These young ladies trust each other on the court and play with sportsmanship and respect. We have a unique group of players that represent the La Glace, Sexsmith, Bezanson, Grande Prairie and Valleyview communities.”

-Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim

Currently, there are a few people from Bezanson that are a part of this club. Alexa Fraser is a 17-year-old player from Bezanson, Alberta. She joined the team in 2017 and has said that, “Energy has been a really great experience for me as a player.” Alexa went to Bezanson school before moving on to Peace Wapiti Academy where she has strived academically and athletically. Her hard work got her onto the Peace Wapiti Academy high school team and then onto the Northern Energy Basketball team. She has become one of the most hard-working players on the team and she continues to grow as a player every practice. After asking Alexa what Northern Energy meant to her, she proudly states that, “Northern Energy Basketball, to me, represents an opportunity to play the sport I love and to represent my community while doing so.” Northern Energy has been a great gateway for Alexa and she says that this team, “has not only taught me strong basketball skills, but also how to interact in a team setting, how to work hard to reach goals, and how to see life with a positive outlook.”

This season for Energy, there was 10 players and the team was normally short-benched. This has its negatives but also brought out some positives. Alexa, being one of the older players says, “I had to step up and become more of a leader,” but, “I loved how many minutes everybody got and how it was easier to focus on a game when the five players on the court weren’t being shuffled.” This pushed the players out of their comfort zone and “really improved [her] confidence as a person.”

Her basketball career, however, did not start in Peace Wapiti Academy or Energy, but at Bezanson School. Bezanson School was a huge influence on her and that stems a lot from its athletic program.

 “Bezanson’s athletic programs have taught me how a positive attitude and determined personality will contribute not only to my improvement as a basketball player, but also to other aspects of my life like maintaining good grades in school. Because of the size of Bezanson school, I found it was easy to focus on maintaining a balance between sports and school, whereas a larger school may have distracted me from either athletics or school work. The small community atmosphere was also great at sports events when families from around the community all came to support the bulldogs.”

-Alexa Fraser

Bezanson School has many successes in sports. Alexa believes it, “stems from the huge amount of support coming from the community in regards to athletics.” This support has given her the “drive to succeed in basketball and school.” This school has influenced her as a student athlete and continues to influence the student athletes growing up in this community. Alexa was asked to give some advice for those who are coming from a small school.

“The biggest piece of advice I have for anyone coming from a small town and wanting to excel on an athletics team is to not be small-minded. Other people will have different ideas or perspectives, but just because those ideas don’t reflect your own, doesn’t mean they aren’t worthwhile. Becoming a versatile, cooperative player is what has lead me to be successful.”

-Alexa Fraser

Alexa is not the only local that is a part of this team. Grant Pilgrim, Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim and Ally Pilgrim are also a part of this team. The co-founders, Grant and Carolyn, both have jobs as the team director (Grant) and the team manager (Carolyn). Carolyn and Grant have been a part of this program since the beginning.

“We have been involved in competitive sports in this region for many years, and giving back by giving players opportunities to play is very important to us. There were many people doing the same for us when Ally was a young athlete, and she was able to take those opportunities and grow them into a college basketball career. We are always proud of the successes of the young people in our community, and especially our Energy girls, but this year it is really special watching Ally step into the role of a coach. I hope that she can take some of this experience in to next year’s ACAC season with the Lakeland Rustlers.”

-Carolyn Goetjen-Pilgrim


Ally began as a player but is now in a new role. Ally Pilgrim has currently taken the role as the Head Coach on the Northern Energy Basketball team. She also began her basketball career at Bezanson School and later played Northern Energy Basketball. She played for 2 years and this year has started coaching with Kayla Raiwet, Lisa Deneault, Victoria Gorgichuk and Emma Lainchbury. She states, “Bezanson gave me a great opportunity to succeed because it was a small school. I always had the opportunity to play on a team and get the one on one help that I needed in the classroom. These opportunities wouldn’t have been available in a larger school.” Northern Energy throughout the years has helped Ally to become a college basketball player in Lloydminster, Alberta.

“A lot of people say that it is hard to get noticed in a small town. This small town has taught me that you must work to get to where you want to be but anything is possible. For me, I worked my hardest and tried to get noticed from college scouts. Coaching Energy has given me the opportunity to help those who want to play at the college or university level. It has given me the opportunity to give back to my community, just like others in the community did for me. That being said, my goal for this team is not to win, but to help the girls succeed on the court and in life.”

-Ally Pilgrim

Northern Energy has Bezanson locals from the manager and director to even players and coaches. This team began in Bezanson and will continue to take local athletes to help them improve in life and basketball as well as helping them to get exposure for the next level. Although the season is coming to an end, Energy players are always part of the Energy family. The team regularly has coaching scrimmages with the U17 Jr. Wolves from Grande Prairie, including former Energy players who made the move to Wolves, as it allows players from both teams to learn skills and get one-on-one coaching in a game like scenario. This feeds into the greater vision of growing better basketball as a whole region instead of an Us vs. Them culture. This will continue as the years go on and this club will help continue building girls basketball in the Peace Region.

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By Ally Pilgrim

June 28, 2017

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