Thunder Badminton Announces Rachael Smillie as Head Coach

Thunder Badminton Announces Rachael Smillie as Head Coach

EDMONTON, AB – The Concordia University of Edmonton (CUE) Thunder are excited to announce that Rachael Smillie has been named as Head Coach of the badminton program, effective September 2020. Smillie will take over the program after Kevin MacAlpine retired from the position after 11 seasons earlier this summer.

Coach Smillie is a familiar face on campus as a former student-athlete (Badminton, Cross Country Running, Indoor Track; 2013-17), Female Apprentice Coach (Badminton, 2017-18) and dual degree alumnus (BA, 2017; BEd, 2019). During her four-year playing career, she was a three-time CCAA medalist in badminton, earning a silver medal in women’s singles (2015) and two bronze medals in women’s doubles (2016 & 2017). Prior to joining the Thunder, Smillie has been actively involved coaching in the community at the school and club levels.

When asked about rejoining the department as head coach, she stated, “I am extremely excited to rejoin the Thunder family as a coach. I have gained so much by being a member of Concordia teams, and I am looking forward to giving back to the athletics department and the badminton community.”.

With team training resuming in September, Director of Athletics and Recreation, Joel Mrak, is delighted about the direction of the program moving forward, stating, "We are excited to welcome Rachael back to the athletics department here at Concordia. She brings a strong background of competitive experience to the badminton program, and has familiarity to the team that should make for a smooth transition. She has a lot to offer our student-athletes and we are looking forward to seeing her continue to build on the storied history of the program moving forward.".

Smillie will round out her coaching staff with two other alumni of the Thunder badminton program, as Samantha Wong (BSc, 2013) will return for her 8th year as an assistant, while recent graduate Braxton Wong (BSc, 2020) will join the fold.

Potential student-athletes can reach out to Coach Smillie by email at or by phone at (780) 233-9040.


Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder Athletics

The Concordia University of Edmonton Thunder Athletics program has a proud history of excellence at the highest levels both provincially and nationally. The Thunder have been a part of the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference (ACAC) since 1992 and have more than 200 student-athletes representing the school in the sports of badminton, basketball, cross country running, curling, golf, hockey, indoor track, soccer and volleyball. To learn more about Thunder Athletics, please visit

For more information, please contact:

Joel Mrak, Director

Concordia University of Edmonton, Thunder Department of Athletics & Recreation

Phone: (780) 479-9321