CALGARY, AB – Western Hockey League Commissioner Ron Robison announced today that a total of 305 WHL graduate players, including thirteen former members of the Brandon Wheat Kings have been awarded WHL Scholarships for the 2013-14 academic year.

The WHL Scholarship recipients are enrolled as full-time students in 78 different post-secondary institutions throughout North America.

This year, 169 of the 305 WHL Scholarship recipients are furthering their education while playing elite hockey in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Association.  In Western Canada 111 of these student athletes are playing in the Canada West University Conference, and have combined their WHL Scholarship with additional financial assistance from their University to receive Western Canada’s Premier Hockey Scholarship.

The University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, SK) leads the way with 34 WHL graduates enrolled in full time studies while 27 former WHL players are registered at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB).  The University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia each have 22 former WHL players enrolled, the University of Lethbridge has 21 WHL graduates, Mount Royal University (Calgary) has 12 WHL graduates, and the University of Regina has 11 WHL graduates enrolled in full time studies.

Among the 2013-14 WHL Scholarship recipients, 53 WHL graduates are enrolled at Universities in Eastern Canada with 44 currently playing hockey in the Ontario and Atlantic Conferences of the CIS.  61 WHL graduates are enrolled at a Canadian College or other post-secondary institution, or in a trade or technical training institution, with 14 grads currently playing hockey in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) or the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL).  Eight WHL graduates are attending a post-secondary institution in the United States, while one WHL graduate is attending a post-secondary institution in Sweden.

The University of Manitoba seems to be the choice of most Wheat King graduates as four are currently enrolled there. Paul Ciarelli (pictured player) is joined by Nathan Green, Darren Bestland and Jordan DePape. Three former Wheat Kings – Mark Schneider, Andrew Hayes and Sanfred King – are attending the University of Regina while six others are attending a variety of post-secondary institutions in western Canada.

Liam Liston is at the University of Alberta, Nick Buonassisi is attending the University of British Columbia, Jacob DeSerres is at the University of Calgary, Jason Swyripa is attending Brandon University, Wheaton King is enrolled at SAIT (Calgary) and Jesse Hall is at Portage College in Cold Lake, Alberta.

Administered by the WHL office, the WHL Scholarship is solely funded by the member Clubs of the WHL.  This season WHL Clubs will contribute $1.9 million to graduates utilizing the WHL Scholarship.

“The WHL and our 22 Member Clubs are very proud to be the leading provider of hockey scholarships in Western Canada”, commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “The WHL takes tremendous pride in continuing to provide both current and graduate players with the most comprehensive and flexible education and scholarship program available in North America today.”

Every player who plays in the WHL is eligible to receive the WHL Scholarship.  For every season a player plays in the WHL, they receive a full year guaranteed WHL Scholarship, including tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees, to a post-secondary institution of their choice.  In addition, over 140 current WHL players are receiving financial assistance to enroll in post-secondary classes while playing in the WHL.  The WHL and Athabasca University have partnered to offer, through online and other distance education vehicles, fully accredited university courses to any WHL player interested in further pursuing post-secondary studies while playing in the WHL.

All Western League teams employ a number of fundraising initiatives for the Foundation. In Brandon, the two primary programs include the sale of 50/50 tickets at all regular season and playoff home games as well as the hockey club’s Annual Sportsman’s Dinner that is held each February.

The WHL continues to be the leading provider of Hockey Scholarships in Western Canada.  Since 1993, the Western Hockey League has awarded more than 4,900 Scholarships to graduate players, representing a contribution of more than $15.4 million.

The WHL Scholarship is considered to be the most attractive and flexible hockey scholarship due to the fact it is a fully guaranteed academic scholarship with no requirement to play university hockey to qualify, and the student athlete can apply the funding to any post-secondary program of his choice.

Summary: WHL Scholarships 2013-2014
Canadian Universities, Western Canada –  185
Canadian Universities, Eastern Canada – 53
Canadian Colleges and other institutions  – 61
U.S. Colleges, Universities – 8
International Colleges, Universities – 1
Total – WHL Scholarships – 308*
*Three WHL Graduates are currently enrolled in two different post-secondary institutions

On the ice, the Wheat Kings continue their 6-game west coast road trip Friday night in Everett, against the Silvertips. Brandon will be hoping to snap a 4-game losing streak.

Following this weekend, which will conclude with a game against the Hurricanes in Lethbridge on Sunday night, the Wheat Kings will return home to host Saskatoon and Swift Current on Thursday and Friday nights. Friday’s game will feature the Ryan Pulock Bobblehead Night, presented by GIANT TIGER.

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