Ed­u­ca­tion key to suc­cess in hockey

The Drumheller Mail - - MONEY MATTERS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

As im­por­tant as the ac­tion on the ice is for the Drum hell er Dragons, so is hav­ing their nose in the books.

Ju­nior A hockey of­fers op­por­tu­ni­ties for play­ers, but a big part of their suc­cess is not only tak­ing care of busi­ness in the cor­ners, but also mak­ing sure their ed­u­ca­tion al­lows them to take ad­van­tage of these op­por­tu­ni­ties. Re­tired teacher and hockey fan Dave Wood is as­sist­ing these play­ers achieve their ed­u­ca­tional goals.

“I have to give( coach) Kevin Has­sel­berg a lot of credit be­cause he is a very strong sup­porter of ed­u­ca­tion, and that has made my job eas­ier and more dif­fi­cult ,” said Dragons ed­u­ca­tion co­or­di­na­tor Dave Wood .“Eas­ier in the sense that I have his sup­port and he laid the law down for some guys when they strug­gle aca­demic ally. He tells them‘ your pur­pose here is school­ing first, hockey sec­ond.’”

“It also has made my job harder in the sense that I put in more time now, but it is a good thing be­cause they are here for hockey and ed­u­ca­tion.”

Hockey of­fers young player’ s many op­por­tu­ni­ties in­clud­ing a road to the NCAA to play hockey for an Amer­i­can col­lege, and the Dragons have seen play­ers go to schools from Alaska to Quin­nip­iac. While some­times this is held up as the Holy Grail for Ju­nior A play­ers, Wood says there are many great op­por­tu­ni­ties for play­ers in Canada.

“The NCAA is get­ting to be harder and harder as the US gets more in­volved in hockey,” said Wood. “There are still op­por­tu­ni­ties out there.”

“You don’ t just look at get­ting a schol­ar­ship offer from a school, it has to be the right offer… it has to be a school that has cre­den­tials, it has to be where your ed­u­ca­tion is go­ing to be worth some­thing in Canada, you have to weigh those things, as well as be­ing away from home. It has to be a cen­tre you are go­ing to be com­fort­able with, so there are a lot of fac­tors there.”

“CIS Hockey is ex­cel­lent hockey that can match NCAA in a lot of cases, and you are get­ting a Canadian univer­sity de­gree, which is go­ing to have merit.”

“I cer­tainly don’t ever down­play the Canadian ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem at all.”

Other teach­ers in­clud­ing Shan­non Dart have as­sisted Wood along the way. Lynn Hem­ming also works with Dragons. Their job is to make sure the stu­dents are per­form­ing well so ed­u­ca­tion does not be­come a bar­rier. It is im­por­tant to know what the col­leges and univer­si­ties ex­pect and then mak­ing sure the stu­dents tai­lor their ed­u­ca­tion to fit.

“In Au­gust I meet with ev­ery high school level kid and see what cour­ses they want. And then I get the sched­ule from the school and we set out a sched­ule that works for them ,” said Wood .“The other guys I en­cour­age them to take univer­sity cour­ses, or if they are up­grad­ing high school, they come to study hall. I try to get the tran­scripts from all of them.”

He say she re­ports al­most weekly to the coach on how the play­ers are per­form­ing in class.

The league is tak­ing ed­u­ca­tion se­ri­ously and last week in­tro­duced the In­ter Pipe­line AJHL All Aca­demic Team. Der rick Budz of the Dragons was named to the squad.

“We are proud to sup­port the dreams and goals of these young ath­letes ,” says Chris Bay le, Pres­i­dent and CEO of In­ter Pipe­line. “Be­ing able to rec­og­nize their ded­i­ca­tion to ath­letic ex­cel­lence and aca­demic achieve­ment is a priv­i­lege.” Wood says Bu dz had al­ready grad­u­ated be­fore he came to Drum heller, so he can not claim credit, none­the­less, he holds Budz’s achieve­ment in high re­gard.

“He is a very mo­ti­vated kid and I am glad to see him per­form­ing on the ice,” said Wood.

Wood finds his work with the Dragons re­ward­ing .“It is my two pass ions, hockey, and ed­u­ca­tion, what more could you want?” he said.

mailphoto by Pa­trick Ko­lafa

(l-r) Andrew Kar­tusch, Dave Wood, Kaden Hanas and Brett Wi­eschorster at Thurs­day night study hall. Miss­ing is Car­son Kurylo and Lynn Hem­ming.

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