Conner Chaulk is enjoying where his hockey path has taken him after he got the opportunity to play in the city he grew up in.
Growing up attending Regina Pats games at the Brandt Centre, Chaulk knew once had seen the players take the ice he was ready to work to fulfill his dream. To one day lace up his skates in the Western Hockey League.
After Chaulk’s dad, Landis, spent time in the WHL, he knew he wanted to follow a similar path with his playing career.
“My biggest role model growing up was, and still is, my dad. I am very fortunate to have a father that played in the WHL,” Chaulk said. “Knowing the amazing experiences he had in the league and all the positive memories he was able to create playing, I knew that I wanted to be like him and have the opportunity to do the same thing.”
After putting in hard work on and off the ice, Chaulk got his first shot in the WHL, west of Regina, with the Swift Current Broncos.
“With Swift Current being a smaller market, you really embrace the community,” Chaulk said. “You feel like a celebrity because everyone knows and looks up to the Broncos players.”
After spending two years with the Broncos, in his third season he was acquired by the Calgary Hitmen where he got the shot play in one of the league’s larger markets.
“Playing in a larger market like Calgary was amazing,” Chaulk said. “You are in a pro environment and treated like a professional every single day. From the facilities to all the staff, you see why it is a first-class organization.”
Reflecting on his time in the WHL, Chaulk was grateful for the billet families he spent time with while in Swift Current and Calgary.
“I was very blessed to have great billet families in both Swift Current and Calgary that helped me stay on top of my physical health,” Chaulk said. “Eating properly and getting the appropriate rest were very important for my health.”
After spending three seasons in the Western Hockey League, Chaulk was ready to return home, but wasn’t quite ready to hang up his skates.
After the product of Regina finished his time with the Hitmen, he saw an opportunity to utilize his WHL Scholarship in his home city at the University of Regina. Chaulk was also offered a shot to continue his playing career with the Cougars under the guidance of 2019 Canada West Coach of Year, Todd Johnson.
“He has really helped my development as a player and a person,” Chaulk said. “He has given me an opportunity to play and has trusted me in many different situations, which has allowed me to continue to develop.”
Reflecting back on his his time in the WHL taught Chaulk life lessons he has been able to apply since starting his degree in finance at the Paul J. Hill School of Business at the U of R campus.
“The WHL taught me life lessons and has helped me develop good habits and characteristics that are applicable to everyday life,” Chaulk said.
“Traits such as accountability, responsibility and good preparation skills are a few of those good habits that I developed while playing in the league.”
Now in his second season with the Cougars, Chaulk has been impressed with how far his team has come in Canada West.
“Some of my greatest experiences so far, since joining the U of R Cougars, have been seeing the hockey program grow,” Chaulk said. “I am really excited in the direction we are going as a hockey team and the potential this group has moving forward.”
When it comes to balancing school with hockey, Chaulk enjoys his time off kicking back and watching either hockey or Netflix when he isn’t spending time with his family.
Although he never got the chance to play for his hometown team while in the WHL, Chaulk notes he has enjoyed his time in U SPORTS playing with the Cougars, highlighting the competitive level of play the league offers.
“I am really excited in the direction we are going as a hockey team and the potential this group has moving forward,” Chaulk said. “I think U SPORTS is an underrated league with how competitive the hockey is.”
Chaulk notes the impact the WHL Scholarship played in his choice to pursue a degree after his time in the WHL ended.
“The scholarship has given me the opportunity to continue to play hockey at a high level, but also receive an education at the same time,” Chaulk said.
“I believe that the WHL Scholarship avenue is a great route to pursue and it allows you the possibility to pursue professional hockey after you graduate.”
The hometown product has become one of the fan favourites for the Cougars and more importantly, he has the pleasure of playing the sport he loves in front of his long-time friends and family on a weekly basis while getting an education.