by Emanuel Sequeira, KIJHL Director of Communications
A Nelson Minor Hockey grad is one of 1313 student-athletes selected by the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League to receive league bursaries, including three from the Doug Birks Division.
Brendan Vulcano of the Revelstoke Grizzlies joins a dozen other players and one official as part of the recipients of the $1,000 bursary towards post-secondary studies.
“It means a lot that I was recognized for this. It shows that all the hard work I have put in through my years of hockey has paid off,” said the graduate of George Elliot Secondary, who will attend the University of Jamestown in North Dakota to play for the Jimmies.
“I think it also showed how my parents always told me to work hard, have a good attitude and to be grateful for everything, and to always have fun while doing it.”
Vulcano says his time in the league shaped him into more of a true leader on and off the ice.
“Knowing that there is now a community that knows who you are, sets very high standards,” he says.
“It has also driven me to be the best player on the ice every shift with the way the league has grown in terms of talent level and competitiveness, because of how many players are determined to get to the next level.”
Vulcano has volunteered in many ways, including with the Revelstoke Rotary Club tent set up, Revelstoke Food Drive, Lake Country Boys and Girls Club, the Kelowna Homeless Shelter and the One Life One Chance Mexico House Build.
That experience helped him learn to be more appreciative of everything that he has, especially from seeing the things he saw while building houses in Mexico.
“I realized you don’t always need the big, fancy things in life to be happy,” he says.
“The amount of joy and happiness I could see in the faces of the people while giving back to them made me feel very grateful for everything I have in my life.”
The 13 student-athletes and one game official, who competed during the 2020-21 season, were chosen from a large field of applicants based on academic achievement, sportsmanship, hockey participation and/or quality of contribution as well as community participation and service.
Other recipients from the Doug Birks Division included Phillipe Lessard of the Sicamous Eagles and a teammate of Vulcano’s, goalie Noah DeSouza of the Grizzlies.
Lessard played for both Sicamous and Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the Neil Murdoch Division.
“Playing in the KIJHL helped me mature and grow up,” says Lessard, named the Beaver Valley Nitehawks’ most sportsmanlike player in 2019-20.
“Having the experience of living away from home and getting mentored by coaches and other players that have gone through it before made me a better person overall.”
DeSouza, who graduated from George Elliot Secondary, will attend the University of B.C.-Okanagan to pursue a career in Human Kinetics as an orthopedic specialist.
Lessard will attend the University of Jamestown to study biology for pre-medicine, while playing for the Jimmies.