The WHL provides the top young talent in the west with the opportunity to develop their skills on the ice at the highest possible level, without compromising their academic goals. The WHL is committed to recognizing academic excellence. Awards are presented annually to the WHL’s Scholastic Player and Team of the Year.
For each season played in the WHL, a player is awarded with a one-year post-secondary scholarship, which includes:
- Compulsory fees
- Required textbooks
A player is able to attend any post-secondary or career-enhancing institution of his choice, including universities, colleges, technical institutes, trade schools, or any other institution which will help the player achieve his academic and career goals.
The WHL Scholarship is guaranteed to the player through him and his parent or guardian signing a WHL Standard Player Agreement, provided he does not sign a professional hockey contract in the NHL or, in some cases, with a top-level European club. Players are allowed to play minor professional hockey (AHL, ECHL, etc.) before he must activate his scholarship.
The WHL is also a leading supplier to Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) hockey programs. Each year, over 180 WHL Scholarship recipients further their education while playing elite hockey at the CIS or collegiate level. In addition, in partnership with the Canada West Universities Athletics Association (CWUAA), over 100 WHL Scholarship recipients each year also are awarded additional financial assistance from their university to receive Western Canada’s Premier Hockey Scholarship.
Each year, over 300 WHL graduate players attend post-secondary institutions on full WHL Scholarships at over 80 different institutions across North America. In 2015-16, a WHL-record 348 graduate players accessed their WHL Scholarship. Since 1993, the WHL has awarded over 5,500 scholarships to graduate players representing an investment in excess of $19 million by WHL Ownership. The WHL is the leading supplier of scholarships in Western Canada and offers the most comprehensive scholarship in North America.
Current WHL Players and Post-Secondary Education
While playing in the WHL, all players have access to post-secondary courses through various universities, colleges, and virtual schools. As part of the comprehensive WHL Scholarship offered to all players, tuition and textbook costs for these courses are covered by WHL Clubs. These costs, however, do not impact WHL Scholarship benefits available to the player upon graduating from the League. Each year, over 150 WHL players enroll in post-secondary courses while playing in the WHL.
In 2009, the WHL and Athabasca University entered into a partnership that improves access to post-secondary university level courses for current players. Under this unique arrangement, Athabasca University offers fully accredited courses online to all WHL players interested in pursuing post-secondary studies. Given the flexibility Athabasca University courses provide, players are able to combine their university studies with their hockey schedule.
For close to 40 years, Athabasca University has been Canada’s leading provider of online and distance university education. Athabasca University, which currently serves over 38,000 students worldwide, is committed to the removal of barriers for students interested in attaining a University education. With more than 700 courses in over 90 undergraduate or graduate degree, diploma, and certificate programs available through Athabasca University, plus over 350 articulation agreements with other post-secondary institutions. This partnership gives every current WHL player extensive access to career enhancing studies, giving them a head start to full time studies upon graduation from the WHL.