The recipient of the 2017 Gas AJHL Drive Scholarship is Spruce Grove Saints Captain Dexter McLeod. The defenceman from Edmonton, Alberta was presented the annual scholarship in a ceremony prior to Thursday’s playoff game in Spruce Grove.
The Gas Drive AJHL Scholarship Program provides one AJHL athlete with a $1,500 scholarship towards their post-secondary education at the conclusion of each season. The scholarship is awarded to the player deemed most deserving among the sixteen applicants (one per AJHL team). Applicants were required to submit an essay describing what they have learned from playing hockey and how they can apply this in their lives after hockey as well as a nomination letter from their Coaching Staff.
After playing a key role on last year’s North Division Championship team, Dexter returned this season as Team Captain. He has played an integral role in maintaining a proud Saints culture on and off the ice with his play, character, and exceptional leadership qualities.
Saints General Manager & Head Coach Mike Ringrose is grateful for his Captain. “As our Captain, Dexter’s leadership has been invaluable this year especially through times of adversity. A strong indicator of a good person is how they treat others, and Dexter has been nothing but respectful towards his coaches, teammates, officials, and opponents. It has been a pleasure for me to coach Dexter in his role as Captain, and in my first season as Head Coach, I’m extremely thankful for all his work this season.”
“Playing in the AJHL has taught me many lessons, but there are two that stand out above the rest,” stated Dexter McLeod. “The first is the importance of real leadership and what it takes to be an impactful leader. I was honoured to be named the Captain of the Saints this season and have learned that leading is not about being a superior to your teammates, but rather a pillar of support and a person in the locker room that others can feel a connection with. I have found that the most efficient way to lead is not by constantly speaking, but by constantly conducting myself in an appropriate way that my teammates can follow.”
“The second lesson that stands out to me is the importance of a functioning team. The group must be made up of individuals with a team first mentality that understand what their role is within the group. I have a great deal of admiration for the players who consistently treat teammates and coaches with respect, no matter their skill level.”
Umberto Fiorillo, Hockey Director at the St. Edmund Hockey Academy, identifies Dexter McLeod as a proud alumnus and believes he made the Academy stronger. “I am very proud of Dexter and feel privileged to have the opportunity to have taught him for the six years he attended St. Edmund, and now being one of his biggest fans watching him patrol the blue line and captain one of the best teams in the AJHL. It will be very difficult to find a better citizen and leader in the AJHL.”
“Dexter demonstrates a willingness and ability to adapt and create relationships with teammates and team staff. He demands a lot of himself in everything he does and permeates a very selfless style of leadership. Dexter is the epitome of professionalism and integrity. He has been instilled with a strong work ethic and has been taught how to conduct himself as a professional.”