Calgary, AB – Western Hockey League (WHL) Commissioner Ron Robison announced today that to date a total of 374 WHL graduate players have been awarded WHL Scholarships for the fall and winter semesters of the 2016-17 academic year. The 374 WHL Scholarships awarded represent the highest fall and winter total in WHL history, improving upon a mark set last year.
This weekend, 69 WHL graduates currently accessing their WHL Scholarship will compete at the 2017 University Cup in Fredericton, NB for U SPORTS supremacy. The WHL is represented with graduate players on seven of the eight team rosters competing in the tournament. All tournament games including the bronze medal game will air on USPORTS.LIVE. Semifinal action will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360 this Saturday (12 p.m. AT & 4 p.m. AT). The action closes on Sunday, March 19 with the gold medal final, live on Sportsnet 360 (1 p.m. AT).
This year, 185 of the 374 WHL Scholarship recipients are furthering their education while playing Canadian University hockey at the U SPORTS level. In Western Canada, 140 of these student-athletes are playing in the Canada West Conference (CWUAA), and have in many cases combined their WHL Scholarship with additional financial assistance from their institution to receive the Western Canada Premier Hockey Scholarship.
WHL Scholarship recipients are enrolled this year as full-time students at 71 different post-secondary institutions throughout North America.
The University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, SK) leads the way with 39 WHL graduates enrolled in full-time studies while 38 former WHL players are registered at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB). The University of British Columbia (26), University of Lethbridge (26), NAIT (21), University of Calgary (20), University of Regina (20), University of Manitoba (20) and Mount Royal University (17) also lead the way in WHL graduate enrollment.
Among the 2016-17 WHL Scholarship recipients, 50 WHL graduates are enrolled at Universities in Eastern Canada with 45 currently playing university hockey in the Ontario and Atlantic Conferences of U SPORTS. In total, 78 WHL graduates are enrolled at a Canadian College, other post-secondary institution, or in a trade or technical training institution, with 21 grads currently playing hockey in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) or the BC Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL). Additionally, 13 WHL graduates are attending a post-secondary institution in the United States.
Administered by the WHL Office, WHL Scholarships are solely funded by the member Clubs of the WHL. This season, WHL Clubs will contribute in excess of $2.3 million to graduates utilizing the WHL Scholarship.
“The WHL and our member Clubs are very proud to continue offering our players the most comprehensive hockey scholarship program of its kind in North America today,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “WHL Clubs are fully committed to providing a world class experience for our players which includes the opportunity to pursue both their academic and hockey goals while playing at the top level of the Canadian amateur hockey system.”
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, and the student-athlete can apply the funding to any post-secondary or career-enhancing program of his choice, including trade schools and professional career training programs.
In addition, current WHL players also receive financial assistance for enrolling in post-secondary classes while playing in the WHL, many of whom are taking online courses through Athabasca University. The WHL and Athabasca University have partnered to offer, through online and other distance education platforms, fully-accredited university courses to any WHL player interested in further pursuing post-secondary studies while playing in the WHL.
Fully funded by WHL member Clubs, all players currently playing in the WHL are encouraged to enroll in post-secondary courses. 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.
Summary: WHL Scholarships 2016-2017
Canadian Universities, Western Canada – 233
Canadian Universities, Eastern Canada – 50
Canadian Colleges and other institutions – 78
U.S. Colleges, Universities – 13
Total WHL Scholarships – 374
WHL Graduates continuing to play hockey at the elite Canadian University or College level:
Canada West Conference – 140
Ontario University Athletics /Atlantic University Sport Conferences – 45
ACAC / BCIHL – 21
Total – 206