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Warriors see 19 players using education fund in 2021-22 season

WHL as a whole sees total of 365 players currently taking advantage of league’s scholarship fund to pursue post-secondary education
Some are still playing hockey for their respective schools. Others have left the game behind and have moved on with a focus on education. And others are looking to launch themselves into a trade or specialty profession. But all have one thing in common.

They’re all reaping the benefits of the Western Hockey League’s scholarship program.

A total of 365 players from each of the league’s 22 teams are currently attending post-secondary institutions in Canada and the United States, putting to use the popular program that sees graduated players receiving a year of education for every season they play in the league.

That includes 19 former Warriors drawing from the team’s education fund pool this season, who find themselves at schools all over North America.

Like former assistant captain and five-year Warrior Tate Popple, who wrapped up his WHL career in the East Division Hub last season and is currently playing for the University of Waterloo.

Or forward Peyton McKenzie, who played parts of two seasons with the Warriors from 2018-20 and is currently attending the Emergency Services Academy in Sherwood Park, Alta.

And forward Blake Bargar, who suited up for Moose Jaw in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns and is back home in Calfornia attending Los Angeles Harbor College.

It’s all a product of the Warriors’ education fund, which annually covers the wide range of scholarships given to past players -- and as one can imagine, it comes with a cost.

In the 2019-20 campaign alone, the Warriors had 16 players activate their fund to the tune of just over $98,500. At the time, the team’s fund sat at $154,000, giving an idea of just how much has been raised to support the program.

Of course, that money doesn’t magically appear. It’s the product of plenty of hard work by volunteers with a variety of programs throughout the season, with the largest event being the Warriors Alumni Golf Tournament. The annual shindig sees a full slate of participants, including dozens of former players at all levels of the game take part, and if you sign on there’s a good chance you’ll come across the likes of Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point or Nashville’s Tanner Jeannot or even legends like Theoren Fleury and Mike Keane that weekend at the Hillcrest Golf Club.

While the event hasn’t been held the past two summers due to the ongoing pandemic, a special horseshoe tournament prior to the Warriors’ opening game of the 2021-22 campaign proved to be a popular event and helped bolster the education fund’s coffers.

Here’s a look at the 19 players who have put their WHL scholarship fund to use this season and where they’re attending school, as well as a handful of former Warriors whose scholarships are covered by other teams.

Player, years played, school and stats if playing (GP-G-A-P)

Austin Herron (drafted and signed in 2016) - University of the Fraser Valley

Tyler Smithies (2016--19) - MacEwan University (6-0-0-0)

Brecon Wood (2016-19) - MacEwan University (8-2-0-2)

Cameron Sterling (2018-20) - University of Lethbridge

Chase Hartje (2018-18 and 2019-20) - Unversity of Manitoba (9-0-8-8)

Kale Clouston (2018-19) - Mount Royal University

Matthew Sanders (2017-20) - Mount Royal University

Spencer Bast (2016-18) - University of Saskatchewan

Tristyn DeRoose (2017-19) - University of Saskatchewan

Adam Evanoff (2017-20) - University of Saskatchewan

Jaxan Kaluski (2016-18) - University of Saskatchwan (11-7-2-9)

Chantz Petruic (2016-17) - University of Saskatchewan (8-3-2-5)

Brandon Schuldhaus (2017-19) - Queen’s University

Colin Paradis (2015-18) - University of Toronto

Matthew Benson (2016-20) - University of Waterloo (4-0-0-0)

Tate Popple (2016-21) - University of Waterloo (9-4-2-6)

Brody Willms (2013-18) - BC Institute of Technology

Peyton McKenzie (2018-20) - Emergency Services Academy

Blake Bargar (2014-16) - Los Angeles Harbor College

Notables (time with Moose Jaw, scholarship team)

Brad Ginnell (2020-21, Portland) - University of Calgary (0-0-0-0)

Brodan Salmond (2018-19, Kelowna) - University of Calgary (3.13 GAA)

Dallas Valentine (2014-2016, Kamloops) - University of Lethbridge

Kobe Mohr (2019-20, Edmonton) - MacEwen University (3-1-2-3)

Ryan Peckford (2017-19, Victoria) - McEwan University

Kyle Crosbie (2019-20, Kelowna) - Mount Royal University

Riley Krane (2020-21, Regina) - University of Regina (12-3-4-7)

Kaeden Taphorn (2018-2020, Winnipeg) - University of Regina

Keenan Taphorn (2018-2020, Winnipeg) - University of Regina

Carson Sass (2019-20, Red Deer) - University of Regina

Owen Hardy (2019-20, Vancouver - University of Saskatchewan (12-1-3-4)

Vince Loschiavo (2017-18, Kootenay) - University of Saskatchewan (7-2-4-6)

Alec Zawatsky (2018-19, Saskatoon) - University of Saskatchewan (4-0-0-0)

Jadon Joseph (2019-20, Lethbridge) - Trinity Western University (2-0-0-0)

Branden Klatt (2016-2018, Edmonton) - NAIT (4-0-0-0)

Dalton Hamaliuk (2018-19, Spokane) - NAIT (3-0-5-5)

Thomas Foster (2016-17, Vancouver) - Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

Barrett Sheen (2017-18, Winnipeg) - SAIT (3-0-1-1)

Brock Gould (2019-20, Victoria) - Colorado State University

Luke Ormsby (2018-19, Seattle) - Sierra Charlie Aviation

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