The Trail Hockey Club Society’s (THCS) hard work and dedication paid off handsomely for numerous Greater Trail players looking to continue their education.
This past month, the society handed out over $61,000 in scholarships to current and former players pursuing a post-secondary education.
“As you know, these funds were made possible from our fundraisers and the 50/50 draws held at each (Trail Smoke Eaters) home game,” said THCS president Tom Gawryletz. “We want to thank the fans and all those that support our events.”
The cooperation of Smoke Eaters owners Rich and Annie Murphy enabled the Society to run the 50/50 draw, and with the record crowds, the THCS raised over $90,000 from the popular draw, most of which went into the scholarship fund.
In all, 14 scholarships were awarded to players from the Trail Smoke Eaters, Beaver Valley Nitehawks, and Major Midget Kootenay Ice.
The bursaries for each player ranged from $1,000 to $6,000 depending on potential costs of the program and the post-secondary institution.
Gawryletz was happy with the number of players that applied, but was also surprised at many of the groups that didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
There were no applications from the Female Wildcat hockey players, Greater Trail Minor Hockey, or young officials, who are also eligible for the program, said Gawryletz.
“I was really surprised. Maybe we didn’t do a really good job of explaining what we were doing. But I’ve had a few calls since … probably because the kids talk and when they found out how much money was actually been given out, they say, ‘Oh hell, did I miss out.’”
Trail Smoke Eaters players that benefitted from the THCS scholarship fund are: Jeremy Lucchini, Andre Ghantous, Ryan Murphy, Troy Ring, Adam Marcoux, Braeden Tuck, Blaine Caton, Connor Welsh, Ross Armour, Brett Clarke, and Dallas Calvin. The Beaver Valley Nitehawks’ Karsten Jang and Nolan Percival, and Major Midget Kootenay Ice forward Keenan Crossman also received bursaries.
The THCS hopes to usher in another round of scholarships, but the release of the funds is dependant on the authority of the BC Gaming Commission.
“The Gaming pretty much dictates what goes on,” said Gawryletz. “We applied last year for a bunch of things we wanted to do, but they came back and said, ‘No,’ except for the scholarship money.”
Next year’s fundraiser will look a little different, and the funds may not be as significant as what this year generated, but whatever funds are raised will go back into the community, and hopefully another round of scholarships.
“I’d love to have them come back to us and say scholarships again, that would be great as far as I’m concerned.”
The Trail Hockey Club Society will host another fundraiser this weekend. The Trail Smoke Eaters Golf Tournament tees off at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Birchbank Golf Club.