NAIT Hockey Draft fosters student success

Published on April 03, 2023

There may be a $50,000 prize on the line for anyone who plays, but student athletes are the real winners in NAIT’s World’s Richest Hockey Draft.

The NAIT-run NHL playoff draft, now in its 35th year, aims to raise more than $50,000 annually during the NHL playoffs to support NAIT athletic scholarships. Since its inception, the draft has raised more than $1.5 million.

Supporting student success

The impact scholarships like these can have on students is priceless.

“It helps relieve some of the financial stress of college so that I can put more of my energy towards my studies to get through my degree successfully,” says Jessica Engelbrecht, a Bachelor of Business Administration student and second-year forward on the Ooks women’s hockey team, adding that growing up in a small town meant she had to move to pursue her post-secondary education.

“This financial support helps me manage those extra costs that moving away has given me.”

Fostering community

For some, financial support can mean the difference between thriving in their studies or dropping out of classes and, for a student-athlete, getting a chance to be on a team.

“Being an Ook means to me that you are a part of a team,” says Brandon Lawson (Construction Engineering Technology ’22), a third-year Millwork and Carpentry student and forward on the Ooks men’s hockey team, adding that the tight-knit culture at NAIT feels like family. “NAIT has a reputation of being a leader among schools in Alberta, and I wanted to be a part of a high standard of athletics as well as academics.”

The athletic and academic scholarships Brandon has received have made a world of difference to his ability to reach his goals on the ice and in the classroom.

“These opportunities make living away from my home in Jasper way less stressful,” he says.

A winning opportunity

 Sarah Moorji (Disaster and Emergency Management ‘21), a fifth-year Ooks women’s soccer midfielder and currently a student in NAIT’s Personal Fitness Trainer program, says she’s extremely grateful for the scholarships, which have enabled her to thrive as a student-athlete.

“If I ever ran into one of the donors who funded my scholarships or awards, I would begin by expressing my gratitude and would mention how the scholarship allowed me to be a well-balanced student-athlete and reduce the stress of financials regarding academics,” says Sarah, who helped her team win gold at the 2018 ACAC Women's Soccer Championship.

Sarah also says that she feels that becoming an Ook was the best decision she’s ever made and that its impact will last a lifetime.

“Being an Ook expresses the qualities of being united, determined, respectful, family-oriented and resilient,” she says.

Play the World’s Richest Hockey Draft

To be part of the action in support of student athletes, the 35th World’s Richest Hockey Draft is now open. Enter today. Deadline for entries is April 16, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. MDT.

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