In 2009, the Western Hockey League (WHL) and Athabasca University entered into a partnership to improve access for WHL players to university level courses both during and after their time actively playing in the league.
As part of the comprehensive WHL Education and Scholarship program offered to all players, the costs for university courses are covered by WHL clubs. With the flexibility Athabasca University courses provide, players can more easily combine their university studies with a demanding hockey schedule. Another key benefit to AU’s online format is that if a player is traded mid-season, his education goes along with him, undisrupted.
The WHL also offers each player a full one-year post-secondary education scholarship for each year he spends in the league.
Who can take advantage?
WHL players who study at AU are in a variety of situations when it comes to their hockey career. Many are current WHL players, but there are also WHL alumni who are either no longer playing hockey or have moved onto a pro league.
The partnership has been a great success, with player enrollment growing from 60 in the partnership’s first year to 114 during the 2011/12 WHL season.