Committed to removing barriers off the ice
It’s been 10 years since the Western Hockey League (WHL) and Athabasca University entered a partnership improving access to post-secondary education for WHL players.
From the beginning, this partnership has been successful, going from 60 player enrollments in the first year to over 500 player enrollments who have taken more than 1200 courses with us. Players take courses from all disciplines, often using them to ladder into programs at various institutions after they finish playing in the WHL. Some of the most popular subject areas are psychology and business.
“Ten years ago, we proudly announced the partnership between Athabasca University and the WHL,” AU President Neil Fassina said. “Our pride continues to grow exponentially with each passing year of this fantastic partnership and the opportunities it presents to the players who not only transform their own lives, but also the communities in which they live and play.”
As part of the comprehensive WHL Education and Scholarship program offered to all players, the costs for university courses are covered by WHL clubs while playing. The WHL also provides each player with a full one-year post-secondary education scholarship for each year he spends in the league after they finish playing.
“The WHL and our WHL Member Clubs are fully committed to ensuring all of our players have access to post-secondary courses while playing in the WHL,” said WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Athabasca University has provided WHL players with the flexibility to continue their post-secondary education, while playing at the top level of the Canadian amateur hockey system, regardless of the city that they are playing in. This has been a tremendous partnership for the WHL and Athabasca University and one that we will continue to build on in the years ahead.”
For the WHL players, this partnership is advantageous because they can be at any stage of their hockey career, whether they are current WHL players or WHL alumni who have moved into a pro league or are no longer playing hockey.
Ryan Chyzowski of the Medicine Hat Tigers has been able to take advantage of this educational partnership while undergoing a demanding hockey schedule.
“I have a goal of becoming a professional hockey player as any other player in the WHL, but I believe it is important to think about the future and realize I will not be a hockey player my whole life and have something to fall back on,” he said. “Expanding my knowledge and progressing in my academics is important, and I am grateful Athabasca University gives me the chance to do this during my junior hockey career.”
AU is excited to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the partnership and the future that it offers learners in the WHL. Learn more of the scholarship opportunities within the WHL here.