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 four from the Neil Murdoch 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.
Colton Hutchinson – Golden Rockets
Hutchinson spent two incredible seasons with the Rockets.
“I really enjoyed the culture created by the coaching staff and was lucky to have incredible teammates and an amazing billet family that made the Town of Golden feel like home,” says Hutchinson, a Calgary native. “I made lifelong friendships and learned what it takes to be a successful hockey player and person.”
His goal is to work in sports business, with a desire to make a difference in the community and give back to hockey, which has given Hutchinson so much. He may turn to coaching, managing, marketing or working in manufacturing. In the fall, Hutchinson, a graduate of Bishop O’Byrne Secondary, will attend the University of Victoria and play for the Vikes while studying business to earn a bachelor of commerce degree.
On the ice, Hutchinson improved every aspect of his skills, from skating, shooting, puck handling and hockey sense due to ice time and the Rockets coaching staff. Being an assistant captain helped Hutchinson learn what it takes to be a strong leader and how to successfully communicate with his teammates and members of the community.
Hutchinson gave back by volunteering with the One to One reading program in Golden, was an assistant coach with a minor hockey team. He also helped at the local food bank, seniors centre and the fire department.
Jordon Kromm – Fernie Ghostriders
The three seasons Kromm spent with the Ghostriders are the best of his hockey career. The relationships the Calgary native made will last a lifetime and Fernie has become a second home for his family.
“The past three years are unforgettable and I was extremely fortunate to have ended up with the Fernie Ghostriders,” says Kromm, a graduate of Central Memorial High School.
Kromm is going to study Business Marketing with a minor in Kinesiology at the University of Jamestown and has interest in working in sports marketing as an agent or in marketing for a professional sports organization.
Away from the rink, Kromm’s time in Fernie allowed him to mature and become more independent. Through the team, he took part in various volunteer activities.
Kromm’s development in the KIJHL is “night and day” from his rookie season, he says. His confidence grew, as well as defensive awareness, skating and puck skills.
“The biggest area of improvement was my physical game alongside my play away from the puck,” says Kromm, who next season will play for Jimmies in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.
Once his career with the Jimmies is over, Kromm hopes to play hockey or inline hockey professionally and feels the Jimmies program gives him a great chance under the guidance of coach Dean Stork.
Erik Delaire – Kimberley Dynamiters
The Dynamiters playoff MVP had a slow start to his 2019-20 season as he recovered from wrist surgery. However, he began to peak as the season ended leading to him earning the playoff award.
The Cranbrook native says hockey is as much about character development as it is the sport. Skills such as being a team player, communicating, looking out for each other on and off the ice is all part of being on a team.
“It also builds resilience because it is easy to have fun when you are winning, but more importantly to bounce back when things are not going your way,” says Delaire, a graduate of Mount Baker Secondary.
His community work includes volunteering at a senior centre, coaching volleyball, tykes soccer and being involved in community paddle nights. Delaire has also organized various sports events for youth.
Delaire is attending the College of the Rockies Autonomous Systems Technician program – the first of its kind in Canada. The program teaches students about developing, networking and maintenance of autonomous vehicle communication equipment.
“As a new career it sounds very promising with opportunities around the world,” says Delaire.
Adam Andersen – Kimberley Dynamiters
It was special for Andersen and his family being a local player for the Dynamiters. He grew up watching the team and his three seasons there were memorable and the most enjoyable of his life.
“Having the opportunity to play for such a great team and organization in front of the best fans in the KIJHL was something that I will never forget,” he says. “It has been a great three years of continuing the winning tradition and culture in Kimberley with so many great teammates, coaches and incredible volunteers.”
Andersen says his time with the Dynamiters allowed him to develop and mature as a person and player in many ways. Being part of the 2018 championship team was the highest of highs, while losing in the finals the next year showed him how to handle the lowest of lows.
“We had such a successful team this season and we were rolling in the playoffs,” he says. “All of those experiences have helped me on and off the ice in understanding that you can only control what you can control and also the highs and lows of winning and losing.”
Andersen is enrolled to study Electrical Engineering Technology online at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Once he completes his two-year diploma, Andersen plans to finish his degree at the University of Victoria. His goal is to become an electrical engineer while still being involved in coaching minor hockey at some point.
Andersen gave back to his hometown by volunteering at schools, the food bank, visiting care homes, bagging groceries as well as shoveling snow for the elderly and disabled.
Images by Fernie Ghostriders/Syltography/Bill Pringle (Golden)