Spruce Grove Saints forward Niko Jovanovic is the recipient of the 2022 Inter Pipeline AJHL Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to the player deemed most deserving among the applicants based on their proven qualities in the areas of leadership, sportsmanship, dedication and citizenship.
The Inter Pipeline AJHL Scholarship Program rewards one current AJHL player with a $1,500 scholarship towards their post-secondary education at the conclusion of each season.
“I’ve coached a lot of men in my time in Spruce Grove and I can honestly say that Niko is one of the most down to earth, intelligent, caring and empathetic people that I’ve come across,” stated Spruce Grove Saints Head Coach Bram Stephen. “Niko takes the game of hockey seriously, plays in an honest way and is a fantastic leader for the Saints. He cares deeply about his teammates and is constantly pushing his teammates to pursue a high standard while being a fantastic friend and social leader among the group. Niko shows a consistent work ethic, has a great personality and always pushes to be his best in all aspects of life.”
“When I first got to know Niko, the energy and presence that he brings to the room each day was noticeable in a very positive way. Niko has the ability to connect with others, make others laugh and at the same time treat others with deep respect. He’s a person that you want to be around. He makes people’s day better when they connect with him. At the same time, he tows the line of professionalism and is serious about his pursuits in the endeavor that he is focused on at any given time.”
Jovanovic credits his time in the Alberta Junior Hockey League for many lessons learned. “Over my two years with the Spruce Grove Saints, I've gained new experiences I can truly learn and draw from: Leaving home and living somewhere new. Being a part of a new family, both at home and at the rink. Being a part of something the community looks up to and maintains pride for. Most notably, it's been the first time in my life where I've truly been treated as a professional. Day in and day out.”
“Lessons such as prioritizing internal accountability, doing more by working harder than you thought you could, and being a role model for everyone on the team for fear of letting each other down stand out among the rest. My time here made me realize that to actively improve, it's crucial to learn to look up to all my teammates. They all have strengths that are uniquely theirs. Becoming curious and asking questions about their individual strengths generates insight, and when done by everybody, to everybody, amounts to a snowballing effect allowing us to pull each other along the arduous path that is a junior hockey season.”
“By coming to the rink every day and committing myself to our team process I've learned that leadership isn't concentrated in one person, rather it's evenly spread out among us all.”
Niko Jovanovic was recently named to the Inter Pipeline AJHL North Division All-Academic Team. The 19 year-old is committed to the University of Notre Dame in the Big 10 Conference of the NCAA Men’s Hockey Division I.