|Herald photo by David Rossiter
Lethbridge Hurricanes' players Dan Johnson, Ty Rimmer, Adam Henry and Brady Ramsay offered some sage advice to students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 who are part of the Hockey Development Program at Gilbert Paterson School Tuesday.
Ty Rimmer, Dan Johnston, Brady Ramsay and Adam Henry all have stories about how they made it to the WHL.
They also have varying plans on what they will do should their hockey careers not take them to the next level.
Tuesday morning the four Lethbridge Hurricanes spoke to a group of Gilbert Paterson Middle School Grade 6, 7 and 8 students, who are part of the school's Hockey Development Program, about the importance of education.
"Before I even signed with the western league my mom had to take a tour of the whole high school and meet all the teachers to make sure I was in a good place," said Johnston, 20, who began his WHL career in Portland thus attending high school in the U.S.
"You have to think about your future because we're not all going to end up to be hockey players in the end."
This is Johnston's fifth year in the league, so he has accrued five years of tuition through the CHL's Champion Program. All of the Hurricanes players will earn one year of college or university tuition and books for each year of play in the league.
He said he may use it to pursue a career in optometry or dentistry.
"That scholarship is huge to fall back on," Rimmer said.
"It's my goal to play professional hockey after this season, but if for some reason a couple years down the road that doesn't work out, then post-secondary is a great option."
Henry is one of the Hurricanes players already graduated high school who takes an English course at Lethbridge College a couple of times per week. The class would also transfer to the university level if they pursue further post-secondary education.
"I never got to miss school for hockey," said Henry, who has yet to play a game this year because of injury. "It's very important when you're growing up to always think about school first."
Gilbert Paterson's hockey program is in its third year and has 35 students. They are on the ice once a week.
Grade 6 is new this year and they skate on Monday mornings at Adams Ice Centre. The Grade 7 and 8 students are out at the Labor Club Ice Centre on Wednesday mornings.
"It's predominantly individual skill development such as skating, passing, puck handling - things they can continue working on," said Matt Brunner, a teacher at Gilbert Paterson and on-ice coach for the hockey program.
"A lot of kids do have that focus that they want to go play WHL. There are also kids who play community hockey that come out just for fun. It's about half and half. It was awesome having those guys come in. It's good for those kids to get those messages from people other than us."