The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), in partnership with Merit Contractors Association (Merit), have selected Brendan Wang (Fort McMurray Oil Barons) and Ethan Schaeffer (Canmore Eagles) as recipients of the 2022 Merit AJHL Scholarship.
The scholarship is awarded annually to one recipient from both the Viterra AJHL North Division and Viterra AJHL South Division. Eligible applicants must be currently playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and prepared to attend a post-secondary institution during the year of application. The winners each receive a $2,000 scholarship.
Princeton University commit, Brendan Wang, recently completed his second AJHL season. “For my Junior career, I have been extremely fortunate to represent the Fort McMurray Oil Barons where I had the opportunity for my on and off ice hockey abilities to mature and develop,” said Wang.
“This invaluable experience has taught me the importance of hard work and most significantly, the value of building strong character. While my playing days will inevitably wind down, I will be a lifelong ambassador for the sport, with the goal of igniting the same passion and excitement in the next generation for the game I love. My ultimate objective is to connect with others through hockey and help mold young athletes into exceptional citizens.”
Oil Barons GM / Head Coach Adam Manah believes Brendan exemplifies outstanding leadership qualities, sportsmanship, and is extremely committed to playing the game of hockey. “As a coach, Brendan checks off all the boxes that make him a special player. His leadership qualities put him above the rest. He has led the way showing why he is a character guy in our room by winning our Most Dedicated Award and Best Defenceman Award.”
“Whether it is on or off the ice, Brendan is our hardest working guy and leads by example every clay. His attention to detail, his habits, and intelligence of the game are paramount. He is always looking to improve his knowledge of the game by studying video and learning. Brendan wants to have an edge on his opposition whether it's in a game or in the classroom. He simply is a pro, on and off the ice. It has been a privilege to coach such a terrific young man who has such a bright future ahead of himself in hockey, school and life.”
“I have witnessed Brendan make numerous noteworthy contributions to the school community as well as the community at large,” stated Vijay S. Mann, Counsellor at Burnaby Central Secondary School. “He is an excellent and dedicated student, and a committed member of the community. Brendan is a genuine and empathetic individual who is respectful to all he interacts with, from fellow students to school staff, and community members in general.
Brendan has demonstrated that he is an exemplary student through his academic accomplishments. Accordingly, he has consistently been on the Honor Roll and the Principal's List for his achievements.”
Canmore Eagles forward Ethan Schaeffer provided invaluable leadership since joining the team three years ago. “Ethan has been a major addition to the Canmore Eagles and we will be very sorry to see him graduate from the league and leave our team,” said Canmore Eagles GM / Head Coach Andrew Milne.
“During his first year, Ethan was awarded our Rookie of the Year honour. He is a respectful and kind person on and off the ice and therefore he received our Most Sportsmanlike Player Award that season as well. We also considered him as a strong candidate for our Hockey Community Award due to the large amount of time he spent helping 'coach' his billet brother's minor hockey team, missing very few of their practices and attending as many games as possible.”
“It turns out Ethan did all of this with a torn MCL, ACL and shredded meniscus in his left knee, which he had repaired during the 2020-21 season. After surgery his surgeon commented on how amazed she was that Ethan was able to play at all given the condition of his knee. This goes to show the dedication Ethan has to his team and his love for the sport. He worked extremely hard on his recovery and has continued to lead the team this past year.”
“On the ice he was our top scoring player, while receiving very few penalty minutes. Ethan remains a highly skilled player who values sportsmanship and fair play. Off the ice he is a support to his teammates and is quick to provide kind words or emotional support to players who are down. Through his consistent hard work and desire to improve he leads by example.”
“His passion and love for the game are lifelong. I have no doubt that Ethan will continue to be successful at University next year.”
Bruce Shaw, Counsellor at George Elliot Secondary School, described Ethan as a hardworking and diligent student. “To be successful in high school while participating in high level athletics is a difficult thing to manage. This can only be done if a student-athlete is dedicated, driven and has the ability to manage their time wisely. These skills will be invaluable to Ethan as he moves into university and will contribute to his success.”
“As a student at GESS, and a member of the Pursuit of Excellence program, Ethan developed into a well-rounded young man. He consistently showed teamwork, dedication, and the ability to adapt to different situations. Ethan was a student that was respected by both staff and peers for his positive attitude and great work ethic.”
“Throughout my hockey career I have learned many things about being a part of teams and the leadership roles involved,” stated Schaeffer. “I have learned how to be a part of a team and how to work well with others, even when I don’t always see eye to eye with the people I am playing with. The leadership and teamwork skills that I have developed through hockey will enable me to be successful in any future career I have. Although I learned many of these skills prior to playing in the league, the AJHL is where I improved and mastered them.”