An alum­na of Vank­leek Hill Col­le­giate of­fe­red his own ca­reer his­to­ry with the NHL as an example in an ins­pi­ring mes­sage to stu­dents to fol­low their dreams.

“What I did throu­ghout my life was say ‘I can get there from here,’” said An­drew Al­len, key­note spea­ker for the VCI Awards Ban­quet, June 8.

Al­len li­ved on a dai­ry farm, close to the vil­lage, when he was gro­wing up in the Vank­leek Hill area. He at­ten­ded VCI du­ring the days when the ori­gi­nal school buil­ding sat clo­ser to Route 34, where the cenotaph is lo­ca­ted. Since his gra­dua­tion, the old school site has be­come a soc­cer field for the new VCI buil­ding. Al­lan has vi­si­ted the old home town of­ten over the years, since his own gra­dua­tion when he em­bar­ked on the ca­reer path that led him to be­come the goal­ten­ding coach for the Buf­fa­lo Sabres /)- UFBN

“It all star­ted here, in this school, in this town,” Al­len said. “Ho­ckey was my pas­sion.”

Al­len re­cal­led that the first goal he set for him­self while in school was that he would play on the Haw­kes­bu­ry Hawks ju­nior A team. He achie­ved that goal and then set him­self ano­ther one. To get a ho­ckey scho­lar­ship. That took a lit­tle lon­ger to ma­nage but, in the end, he went to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ot­ta­wa part-time and that hel­ped him achieve his scho­lar­ship goal and fur­ther pur­sue his post-se­con­da­ry goals.

“What I al­so lear­ned was how to de­ve­lop my time ma­na­ge­ment skills,” he said. “That has hel­ped me all through my life.”

His next goal was to play pro­fes­sio­nal ho­ckey, which he achie­ved when he si­gned PO XJUI UIF 'MPSJEB 1BOUIFST )F TQFOU TJY HBNFT XBJUJOH PO UIF 'MPSJEB CFODI XJUIPVU seeing any ice time but he was hap­py to at MFBTU CF QBSU PG UIF /)- BU UIF UJNF )F la­ter joi­ned the Ot­ta­wa Se­na­tors club and was ac­tive on the ice un­til he re­ti­red from playing at the age of 29.

Now his new goal was to be­come a trai­ner and men­tor to youn­ger players trying to make their way in the sport. He got a full-time job with the fe­de­ral go­vern­ment and spent his free-time coa­ching mi­nor and ju­nior ho­ckey teams in the Ot­ta­wa area.

The Chi­ca­go Black­hawks club re­co­gni­zed his tea­ching skills and si­gned him on as a EFWFMPQNFOUBM DPBDI -BUFS PO UIF 4BCSFT fran­chise hi­red him away to be­come its new goal-ten­ding coach.

“You’re going to have ups-and-downs but you need to keep on trying,” Al­len said in his speech to his youn­ger VCI coun­ter­parts. “Keep on trying and set your­self goals. You can get there from here.”

—photo Gregg Chamberlain

« Vous pou­vez y ar­ri­ver à par­tir d›ici », a été la phi­lo­so­phie d’An­drew Al­len, la vie du­rant, et ce­la a conduit l›an­cien ré­sident de Vank­leek Hill, pas­sion­né par le ho­ckey, à faire car­rière dans la LNH.

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