WEST KELOWNA – The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has selected 14 student athletes who competed during the 2019/20 season to receive league bursaries, including three from the Doug Birks Division. Each bursary is valued at $500 and will be applied towards post secondary studies.
The recipients were chosen from a large field of applicants based on academic achievement, sportsmanship, hockey participation and/or quality of contribution as well as community participation and service.
DOUG BIRKS DIVISION BURSARY RECIPIENTS:
Aiden (Bo) Cornell – Revelstoke Grizzlies/Castlegar Rebels
Cornell loves the game so much that anytime he plays, he’s happy.
“My first season in Castlegar was a steep learning curve, but I had a fantastic year and learned a lot from the veteran hockey players,” says the Morinville Community High School grad. “Getting traded to Revelstoke was a surprise, but it was great to be on a winning team again, and we were greatly anticipating a great playoff run.”
Cornell gave back to the Castlegar community by getting involved in Special Olympic floor hockey, the Alzheimer’s Walk, volunteering at Kinnaird Elementary School and helping out as a peewee hockey coach in Morinville.
Growing up in the KIJHL, Cornell’s hockey skills improved, and he grew as a leader.
“I had a great example of team leadership from my first year captain, Vince Bitonti,” says Cornell, of Legal, Alta.
Next season Cornell will study education at the University of Jamestown in North Dakota, where he will also continue playing hockey. Once he finishes his education, he aspires to play professionally in North America or Europe as long as he can.
Garrett Ewert – Kamloops Storm
Ewert’s junior hockey career came full circle, beginning and ending in Kamloops with the Storm. Ewert says starting in Kamloops was great because as a high school student, playing for the Storm gave him an opportunity to live at home and play with guys he grew up with.
“It was probably one of the closest teams I had ever been a part of,” he says.
Not knowing what to expect of junior hockey, Ewert benefited from being in a program that encourages player development and it is that culture, he says, that allows so many Storm players to move onto higher levels. During his rookie year, Ewert had coach Ed Patterson, who preached discipline as a person and player. He showed Ewert what it would take if he wanted to move forward in hockey.
“That culture still continues today under the leadership of Matt Kolle and Tracy Mero,” he says.
Ewert made the jump to the B.C. Hockey League with the West Kelowna Warriors.
Away from the rink, the Valleyview Secondary School grad gave back to his community by supporting the Kamloops Food Bank Society, McHappy Day, Kelowna Gospel Mission and helping out at the Lakeview Heights Baptist Church.
Currently, Ewert is undecided on his career aspirations, but has plans to attend the Simon Fraser University business program in the fall. He also has a desire to pass on his hockey knowledge to future generations.
Aidan Morrison – 100 Mile House Wranglers
The time Morrison spent with the Wranglers was crucial for his development.
“Without my development in the KIJHL, I would have never learned to stop overthinking on the ice and to just play my game,” he says. “100 Mile House is a great little town that supports the Wranglers. Our work in the community helped me mature as a person and helped translate into being a part of the leadership group during my second year.”
The Calgary product learned to be a leader and to let go of his fear of failure to play his game. That has given him the confidence to make the jump to college hockey with Concordia University in Edmonton. While at university, Morrison will work towards a bachelor of science, majoring in biology.
“I hope to take my love for hockey as far as I can, whether this be coaching or potentially playing pro hockey in Europe,” says Morrison. “If my hockey aspirations aren’t fulfilled, I hope to go to med school after my undergraduate and eventually become a psychiatrist.”
Images courtesy of the Ewert Family/Wranglers and Grizzlies Facebook page
Additional KIJHL Bursary recipients: Bill Ohlhausen Division