On Thursday, March 5th, Mitchell Vanderlaan of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons was awarded the 2015 Gas Drive AJHL Scholarship in a ceremony prior to the first game of the 2015 AJHL Gas Drive Playoffs in Fort McMurray, AB.
The Gas Drive AJHL Scholarship Program provides one current or former 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.
Within his essay, Mitchell Vanderlaan described the benefits he has received from playing hockey in the AJHL as he prepares for his future at Cornell University. “Part of what makes hockey and many other sports so special is the bonds as well as camaraderie that you create while being part of a team,” said Vanderlaan. “I have been very fortunate to experience this with the many teams I have been part of over the years and now with Fort McMurray of the AJHL. With these experiences I have garnered some very important lessons I can now apply to the rest of my life.”
“The more time I spend with my teammates, the more I realize the importance of working as a collective unit of one,” said the second year Oil Baron. “This means more than simply doing the same tasks, but taking on the same responsibilities, the same mindset and having the same goals. Successful people often surround themselves with others who are looking to achieve the same objective. As many daily tasks and much of the workforce is done as part of a team environment this will be very significant to my growth as a person during my lifetime.”
In addition, by being a leader I have further come to understand the importance of being an example for others,” added the 19 year-old from Hanwell, NB. “By that manner others can learn from me as I learn from them. I will always be able to learn from others, such as my teammates, and understanding that will be instrumental as I further pursue my education and growth in life.”
Mitchell Vanderlaan enjoyed a successful season, tallying 39 points, 4 game winning goals and 10 Viterra AJHL Player of the Game awards throughout the regular season. Mitchell represented the Alberta Junior Hockey League as a member of Team Canada West at the 2014 World Junior A Challenge.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League is proud to partner with Gas Drive as the title sponsor of the League Championship. The first AJHL Gas Drive Cup was awarded to the Brooks Bandits at the conclusion of the 2013 AJHL Gas Drive Playoffs and will be the ultimate goal of every team for the next three seasons.