The Selkirk College Saints hockey program has established itself as the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) gold standard on the ice, but it’s away from the rink where equally impressive feats have been elevated.
At the team’s annual awards night last week, the Saints handed out year-end honours to those players who lead the way during the 2016-2017 season. Though the team fell short of winning its fifth straight BCIHL championship last month, the celebration of achievement was not dulled by the final outcome on the ice. The highlight of the night was when 17 of the 24 players on the team were given an Academic Award.
Seventeen of the 24 Selkirk College Saints hockey players received Academic Awards for their performance in the classroom during the 2016-2017 BCIHL season. Some of those picking up the award included (L-R) Troy Maclise, Jordan Rauser, Derek Georgopoulos, Jonas Horvath, Dane Feeney, Justin Kanigan (assistant coach), Austin Wells, Kyle Wheeler (assistant coach), Gordon Campbell and Brent Heaven (head coach).
“It’s an indicator of the kind of program we have here,” says Saints head coach Brent Heaven. “I’m pleased with what this team accomplished on the ice this season, but I’m extremely proud of what the players are accomplishing off the ice. To see these young men so focused on academics and have so many of them achieve such a high standards is incredible.”
Program Grows Stronger Every Year
Academic Awards are given to those players who achieve a grade-point-average of 3.0 and above in the first semester. Though academics have always been a focus of the program, the previous benchmark was 13 players. The student athletes on the Saints are in a number of different Selkirk College programs from business to trades.
“The guys who come to Selkirk College to play hockey are first and foremost students,” says Selkirk College Athletics & Recreation Coordinator Kim Verigin. “It’s very satisfying to provide these athletes an opportunity to pursue their educational goals while continuing to play a high calibre of hockey.”
Players receiving Academic Awards included: Dallas Calvin, Matt Martin, Troy Maclise, Tyler Kerner, Dane Feeney, Alex Milligan, Mitch Rosko, Derek Georgopolous, Nelson Hurry, Jonas Horvath, Gordon Campbell, Jackson Bruce-Fuoco, Jordan Rauser, Jack Mills, Brady Ward, Austin Wells and Garrett Halls. Other awards handed out on the night were MVP Matt Martin, Top Defenceman Seth Schmidt, Top Rookie Seth Schmidt, Unsung Hero Jack Mills, Coaches Award Ryan Edwards, and Saints Spirit Award Tyler Kerner and Matt Martin.
The Saints honoured the players who have spent three years with the team by giving them their special edition Selkirk College 50th Anniversary jersey. The players graduating from the program include (L-R) Mitch Rosko, Ryan Edwards, Tyler Kerner, Matt Martin and Alex Milligan (who were joined by head coach Brent Heaven).
After winning four straight BCIHL titles, the Saints finished third in the BCIHL regular season and were then eliminated by Trinity Western University in the first round of the post-season. The University of Victoria Vikes were eventually crowned champions.
With recruiting for the upcoming 2017-2018 season already started, the Saints coaching staff are currently busy rebuilding a program that could lose up to 14 players to graduation. With so much to offer potential recruits in terms of educational opportunities, Heaven is confident that the Saints will continue to be a force in the BCIHL.
“What we do on the ice is important and we will be looking to continue with our winning tradition when we start back in September,” says Heaven. “But creating a culture of excellence both on and off the ice will always be the focus, so now the next group coming in can look to this year’s team for inspiration on how to achieve success in the classroom.”