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Where Are They Now: Bursary "Helped Tremendously"

By Ontario Minor Hockey Association, 02/09/24, 11:30AM EST

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Catching up with OMHA Dairy Farmers of Ontario Bursary recipients

Now in its fifth season, the OMHA-Dairy Farmers of Ontario Bursary program has awarded over $100,000 worth of post-secondary bursaries to students across the province. The recipients from previous years are well into their studies, and we reached out to some to see how the bursary impacted them and how their schoolwork is going.

The 2024 OMHA Bursary Program is comprised of two awards – the Dairy Farmers of Ontario Bursary and the Wally Scott Bursary. It reflects the achievements of young hockey players who are committed to their community, athletic ability, and academic achievement. Each recipient will receive financial support toward their post-secondary education.

We chatted with:

  • Chloe Ryder (Kent Minor Hockey) - 2020 Recipient
  • Vincent Robbenhaar (Barrie Minor Hockey) - 2020 Recipient
  • Aidan Proderick (Loyalist Minor Hockey) - 2021 Recipient

APPLY NOW

Candidates must complete the application form below and submit it to the OMHA by 8:00 pm on February 18, 2024. Each application will be reviewed by a panel and only the winning recipients will be contacted by the OMHA. We wish the best of luck to all applicants.


What is the status of your current studies?

Ryder: I am currently in my fourth year of Architectural studies at the McEwen School of Architecture at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.

Robbenhaar: I started my first year of Dental school at University of Toronto in September 2023. I was originally at Western University studying medical sciences with an honours specialization in biochemistry and applied during my third year of studies to Toronto. I was fortunate enough to be one of 15 students to get into the program after only three years of undergraduate education.  I now join 95 other students in UofT’s DDS class of 2027.

Proderick: I am currently in my second year of the Laurentian University Bachelor of Business Administration program offered at St. Lawrence College. I began my post-secondary education at Queen’s University but switched to St. Lawrence College after being offered a position in the BBA program and on both the varsity soccer and badminton teams.

How did the OMHA-Dairy Farmers of Ontario Bursary help you get a head start in your post-secondary education?

Ryder: The Dairy Farmers of Ontario Bursary helped to pay for my tuition within my first year of University and alleviated some of the financial stress when paying for residence and living expenses within that first year. It gave me a head start by enabling me to save more money to be able to pay my tuition and living expenses for the subsequent years.

Robbenhaar: The bursary helped tremendously at the start of my first year in two distinct ways. Firstly, it was a huge financial benefit which helped to reduce my costs in my first year. Additionally, from a psychological standpoint, the bursary served as a valuable acknowledgement of my hard work, which gave me the confidence I needed to have a smooth and successful transition into my university journey.

Proderick: The bursary relieved a large portion of the financial stress that comes with attending postsecondary school. Specifically, it helped me greatly with paying tuition and allowed me to focus on preparing for the next chapter of my life without having to worry too much about finances. I am very grateful for the head start I was able to get thanks to the wonderful people at the Ontario Minor Hockey Association and Dairy Farmers of Ontario.

What life skills did you learn in hockey that have helped you as a student?

Ryder: Hockey taught me communication and leadership skills that have tremendously helped me as a student. Architecture is a collaborative field and requires one to be able to communicate and lead projects and ideas. Group work is a large part of this program and I have been able to utilize the skills that I have learned through hockey to be able to engage in collaborative and successful group projects. There have been many projects where creative ideas oppose one another and through my experiences in hockey I have been able to utilize skills learned to be able to communicate with group members to ensure everyone's ideas are heard and considered for the project.

Robbenhaar: One key life skill that I honed through hockey which helps as a student is resilience. In hockey, setbacks are inevitable - whether it’s a bad call, a tough loss, or an injury. Understanding that these challenges are part of the game helped to frame my mindset that to grow as a hockey player, I needed to be able to persist and do my best regardless of the hurdles ahead. These setbacks occur in life as a student as well. There were days when I didn’t feel great about a test or felt I was falling behind in a course, but having the resilience to keep going and be disciplined enough to finish assignments or study hard proved very useful in cultivating academic success.

Proderick: Through hockey I learned several invaluable skills that have helped me become the person and student that I am today. Of the many life skills that I obtained through hockey, the three that have proved to be the most beneficial as a student are teamwork, time-management, and emotional intelligence. As a hockey player and student, teamwork is a fundamental skill in facilitating a cohesive and successful environment where everyone is comfortable and can perform to the best of their ability. The school environment requires you to work with others who you may not know and that is when teamwork skills are of great benefit. Through balancing hockey with school, work, other sports, and leisurely activities I have learned to balance my time well. Effective time-management has been an imperative skill in post-secondary school where the workload is heavier than in high school. Lastly, the increasingly important skill of emotional intelligence in contemporary society has helped me in school. The hockey environment taught me to be respectful of others because although we may share the experience of hockey or school, everyone has different things going on in their lives outside of our shared practices. Emotional intelligence is an integral skill in all aspects of life and hockey taught me to practice empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution. The life skills that can be learned from hockey are boundless and they have helped me greatly as a student and as a person in general.

What is your current involvement with hockey?

Ryder: COVID-19 affected many things including intramurals and sports. Over the past four years I have continued to enjoy hockey as I attend the Sudbury Wolves hockey games and skate on the outdoor rinks and paths throughout Sudbury. I am planning to become more involved with hockey again within my next two years in my Masters of Architecture, as Laurentian University has an intramural hockey league.

Robbenhaar: During my undergrad, I played in a men's league team (LUG hockey) in London with a mix of old teammates and new friends which was lots of fun. It was a great way to provide a bit of a spark break and mental reset, especially during some academically rigorous weeks. Next year I hope to join the UofT dental intramural hockey team.

Although not exactly hockey, I did volunteer for a running and reading club at an elementary school last year where myself and a few others with coaching backgrounds helped kids from grades 1-6 learn the importance of physical activity through a series of mini workouts, stretching and running-based games. We also helped the young athletes to develop their literacy skills and grow their love for reading. I enjoyed this program as I was able to take the skills I developed in grades 11 and 12 from coaching minor hockey and be able to apply them to a similar setting. I also really enjoy coaching and it was a rewarding journey to watch the kids develop over the school year.

I do hope to one day continue to coach minor hockey again, but given my current schedule, it may be a little while until this occurs.  

Proderick: As of right now I am not directly involved in hockey, but my love for the game will never fade. This year has been my first without being involved in hockey, but I plan to play intramurals next year and begin my coaching journey here in Loyalist Township. Upon finishing the U18 season, I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to play two more years of hockey at the U21 level for the Loyalist Jets, where I had spent my entire hockey career. My years playing hockey for the Loyalist Jets were incredible and my closest friends to this day were my teammates growing up.

What was the biggest surprise for you in university?

Ryder: I think the biggest surprise for me in university was how self led the studies are. You can either choose to do the minimum course work or you can choose to explore certain topics further. As you are in charge of your own studies I have been able to further discover what I am passionate about in architecture. I have recognized that I am interested in adaptive reuse of architecture through some of my environmental and building systems classes. This has become my passion through architecture and what I am hoping to focus on throughout my Masters.

Robbenhaar: My biggest surprise for me when adapting to university life was figuring out how crucial finding a balance was. Sure there are many days where I need to study for hours on end, but scheduling some form of physical activity and social activity is imperative to helping me feel motivated throughout the week and to avoid burnout. Some of my favourite physical activities over the past few years have been running (I was actively involved in managing a run club at Western), hockey or one of the various intramural sports Western offered (I played ultimate frisbee, European handball, ball hockey, and basketball throughout my undergrad. These were all great experiences to meet lots of really cool people and have a lot of fun). Setting aside time to keep up and hang out with friends was equally as important for overall mental health and maintaining a social life. Having an upcoming activity or social event made studying much easier as I always felt I had something fun to look forward to.

Proderick: The biggest surprise for me when making the jump from high school to university were the 300 person lectures and the realization that it is much harder to get to an 8:30 a.m. class in university than it is in high school.

What do your next few years look like?

Ryder: I am attending the McEwen School of Architecture here at Laurentian University for my Masters of Architecture beginning in September of 2024. This is a two year program with a thesis in year two that I am hoping to focus on adaptive reuse of Architecture while helping vulnerable populations.

Robbenhaar: My Dental program at UofT is a 4-year program so I will be focusing on that until I graduate in late spring of 2027. Afterwards, I will likely work as an associate dentist to build experience and pay off all student debts while building some capital before I eventually pursue my ultimate goal of starting and managing my own dental practice.

Proderick: For the next two years I am going to focus on completing my BBA degree and seeking internship opportunities along the way within the realm of sports administration. I also look forward to competing for the St. Lawrence Surge men’s soccer team and the badminton team at the college for the next two years. After graduating I will continue to narrow down my passion within sports administration and I intend to travel the world while I am still young. Obtaining a marketing position within the hockey industry is a route I have been considering.


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