RECORD 405 WHL SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED TO GRADUATE PLAYERS FOR 2018-19 ACADEMIC year
Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today that a total of 405 WHL graduate players, including twenty-three former members of the Brandon Wheat Kings have been awarded WHL Scholarships for the fall and winter semesters of the 2018-19 academic year. The 405 WHL Scholarships awarded represents the highest total for any academic year in WHL history, improving upon the mark of 382 set during the 2017-18 season.
The 2018-19 season marks the 25th anniversary of the WHL Scholarship program. Established on a league-wide basis in 1993-94, over 6,000 graduate players have received WHL Scholarships, representing an investment of over $25 million by WHL Clubs. This season, WHL Clubs will contribute in excess of $2.6 million to the 405 WHL graduates utilizing the WHL Scholarship.
“The WHL and our Clubs are very pleased to see another record number of our graduate players utilizing their WHL Scholarships to further their education right here at home in Canada,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “With the number of our graduates taking advantage of their WHL Scholarships increasing every year, it clearly demonstrates our WHL Club ownership are committed to not only providing our players with a world class hockey experience but also the most comprehensive scholarship available in North America today.”
Of the 23 former Wheat Kings, five are currently enrolled at Mount Royal University in Calgary. They include Taylor Green, Kade Jensen, Ryley Lindgren, Kord Pankewicz and Dominic Thom.
Three others – Garrett Armour, Reid Gow and Mark Taraschuk – are currently attending the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg while there are two each at the University of Calgary and Alberta. Jordan Papirny and James Shearer are at U of C while Taylor Cooper and Josh Dechaine are studying at Alberta.
Other former Wheat Kings benefitting from the WHL Scholarship Fund include Ayrton Nikkel (UBC), Ryan Pilon (U of Saskatchewan), Chad Robinson (Red Deer College), Jordan Wharrie (Douglas College), Colton Waltz (NAIT), Mitch Wheaton (St. FX), Jordan Thomson (Assiniboine Community College), Jack Palmer (Thompson Rivers University), Meyer Nell (University of Winnipeg), Logan Thompson (Brock) and Duncan Campbell (Queen’s University).
Administered by the WHL Office, WHL Scholarships are solely funded by the WHL member Clubs. 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 guaranteed, full-year WHL Scholarship including tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees to a post-secondary institution of their choice. The WHL Scholarship is a fully-guaranteed academic scholarship with no requirement to play university hockey to qualify. The WHL graduate can apply the funding to any post-secondary or career-enhancing program of his choice, including trades schools or professional career training programs.
In addition to the WHL Scholarship players receive upon graduation from the WHL, all current WHL players are encouraged to enroll in post-secondary courses and these courses are also fully-funded by the WHL member Clubs. This season, over 175 current players are taking post-secondary courses while playing in the WHL. The financial assistance received for post-secondary studies while playing does not impact on the WHL Scholarship benefits a WHL player is entitled to upon graduating from the League. The WHL and Athabasca University have partnered to offer, through an online distance education platform, fully-accredited university courses to any WHL player interested in further pursuing post-secondary studies while playing in the WHL. This year, over 75 current WHL players have taken courses through Athabasca University.
This year, 249 of the 405 WHL Scholarship recipients are furthering their education at Universities in Western Canada, with 140 of those playing Canadian University hockey at the U SPORTS level in Canada West (CW) hockey league. In many cases, these student-athletes have combined their WHL Scholarship with additional financial assistance from Canada West Universities to receive the Western Canada Premier Hockey Scholarship.
Among the 199 WHL graduates playing Canadian University hockey at the U SPORTS level are 83 WHL Alumni, including 66 from Canada West, set to compete at the 2019 Cavendish Farms University Cup in Lethbridge, Alta., from March 14 to 17.
The University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Sask.) leads all post-secondary institutions with 38 WHL graduates enrolled in full-time studies, while 34 former WHL players are registered at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alta.). The University of British Columbia (28), University of Calgary (24), University of Lethbridge (23), University of Regina (23), Mount Royal University (23) and University of Manitoba (21) also lead the way in WHL graduate enrolment.
WHL Scholarship recipients are enrolled this year as full-time students at 77 different post-secondary institutions throughout North America.
Alberta leads all western provinces, having produced 162 WHL graduates currently accessing their WHL Scholarship, followed by British Columbia (90), Saskatchewan (80) and Manitoba (41). A total of 29 U.S. players are accessing their WHL Scholarship.
Among the 2018-19 WHL Scholarship recipients, 156 WHL graduates are enrolled at universities in Eastern Canada, Canadian colleges, trades or technical institutions, or attending post-secondary in the United States.
The number of WHL Scholarships awarded during the 2018-19 academic season has continued to trend upwards over the past 10 years. During the academic season for 2009-10, a total of 274 WHL Scholarships were awarded. With 405 WHL Scholarships awarded for the 2018-19 academic year, this represents an increase in activations of 47.8 per cent over the past 10 years.
Summary: WHL Scholarships 2018-19
Canadian Universities, Western Canada – 249
Canadian Universities, Eastern Canada – 64
Canadian Colleges and other institutions – 74
U.S. Colleges, Universities – 18
Total – WHL Graduate Scholarships – 405
WHL Graduates continuing to play hockey at the elite Canadian University or College level:
Canada West Conference – 140
Ontario University Athletics – 38
Atlantic University Sport Conferences – 21
ACAC – 26
BCIHL – 9
Total – 234
Provincial Summary: WHL Scholarships 2018-19
British Columbia – 90
Alberta – 162
Saskatchewan – 80
Manitoba – 41
North West Territories / Yukon – 1
Ontario – 2
USA / International – 29
Totals – 405