The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has selected 14 players to receive $500 bursaries.
The recipients earned their bursaries based on academic achievement, sportsmanship, hockey participation, and/or quality of contribution as well as community participation and service.
“The KIJHL is very proud of our bursary program and the opportunity to support 14 of our student-athletes as they take the next steps in their academic careers. This season’s applications, both in quality and quantity, made the selection process extremely difficult,” said KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois.
“This has been a tough few months for everybody as we’ve dealt with COVID-19, and it was a nice change of pace to read through the applications we received and see the great work our players have been doing in the classroom and in their communities. As a league, we’re thrilled to be able to recognize and reward those contributions.”
Among the winners is North Okanagan Knights forward Tyler Olsen, who spent three seasons with the KIJHL club, three years he described as an “extreme learning experience.”
Each season had its share of challenges, which included constant battles to make the playoffs. Through everything the players experienced, they were able to build strong relationships and persevere through each obstacle.
“Playing hockey with the North Okanagan Knights was a blast and I am extremely grateful to have had the experience,” said Olsen, a Calgary native.
As a player, he learned to adapt and face new challenges each day.
“I was taught that nothing comes easy and you have to work for everything you get,” he saids. “I learned how to problem-solve, whether that was in the game or amongst my teammates. My leadership skills have also developed greatly from being assistant captain, which will benefit me going into post-secondary.”
Olsen plans to earn a bachelor of business administration and is enrolled at Okanagan College in Vernon.
“I would like to take the knowledge I get from a business degree and bring it back into hockey,” said Olsen, a graduate of Bishop O’Byrne High School. “I see myself involved with the KIJHL or a different league in the future, whether it be managing or coaching. My long-term career aspiration is to own a sporting goods store.”
Other bursary winners from the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference’s Bill Ohlhausen Division include Myles Matilla and Nathan Christensen (Kelowna Chiefs), and Ty Banser of the Summerland Steam.
The league is announcing the winners over the month of June by division, beginning with the Ohlhausen Division.