Oil Kings stay in school

JASON HILLS -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

The Edmonton Oil Kings aren't just hitting the ice this season; they are hitting the books too.

The Western Hockey League takes pride in advancing their players' education and 18 players on the Oil Kings' roster are either fully registered in high school or taking university courses this season.

"A lot of these kids are achieving well on the ice and they do very well in school," said Oil Kings education advisor Roger Castle.

"They are great time managers and the boys are able to combine major junior hockey and their education and move on and become very successful people."

HIGH SCHOOL

The eight high school-aged players attend Salisbury high school in Sherwood Park and the 10 university-aged players are taking various courses at Concordia University. The Oil Kings are set on having a very successful first WHL season; however their goals in the classroom are just as high.

In order to try and achieve the best results Castle talked to the Elk Island school board and got a school schedule and when the Oil Kings were putting together their regular season schedule they tried to make the two schedules coincide the best they could.

"We took their statutory holidays, professional development days, parent teacher conferences, days in lieu. We used all those days we could to co-ordinate our schedule," said Castle.

"The WHL season is gruell-ing enough for these kids and we want them to be able to focus on school the best they can."

The players will miss a total of seven school days in the first half of the season and 10 during the second half.

Braeden Adamyk is entering his first WHL season and the Grade 12 student is adjusting to the WHL lifestyle of juggling both school and hockey.

"The biggest thing right now is the difference in curriculum from Manitoba to Alberta. The Alberta curriculum is way more advanced," said Adamyk.

"Math and biology are the two toughest (subjects). Biology is a lot tougher here than in Manitoba."

The 17-year-old Neepawa Manitoba native said his final year of high school is very important to him but he also wants to make an impact in his first season in the WHL.

"I take every challenge and take it to the fullest. They have lots of tutors who want to help and I will take advantage of it and get great marks," Adamyk said.

"Every credit is so important and there isn't any room to slack off. When we go on the road there will be nothing else but school and hockey.

"I come from a small town in Manitoba and there are only 300 or 400 kids in my school.

"You know everybody, but when I walked into the school here there was like 1200 kids roaming the halls. I was like a small fish in a big pond."

Karey Pieper is currently enrolled in a business course at Concordia. The four-year WHL veteran has experienced the WHL education program to its fullest.

Pieper spent his Grade 10 year and part of Grade 11 in Moose Jaw while spending the rest of that year as well as his Grade 12 in Red Deer.

'IT CAN BE TOUGH'

"It can be tough when you're younger especially when you are away. It's tough to study on the bus when you have 20 of your best buddies hassling you to hang out and do stuff with them," said Pieper.

"The league has a lot of resources that you can go to for help and it's an adjustment in the beginning, but it gets easier as the year goes on,"

After taking a year off from school, Pieper is enjoying his first year of post-secondary education.

"This year my dad wanted me to take a class so I could have something to fall back on.

"It's a nice change from being at the rink every day and I get to see what a regular 20-year-old does every day."

JASON.HILLS@SUNMEDIA.CA

PLAYERS IN UNIVERSITY

Craig McCallum

Matt Swaby

Karey Pieper

Brandon Lockerby

J-P Szaszkiewicz

Cameron Cepek

Alex Archibald

Brett Breitkreuz

Brenden Dowd

Drew Nichol

PLAYERS IN HIGH SCHOOL

Tyler Hlookoff

Shayne Neigum

Brent Raedenke

Clayton Cumiskey

Dalyn Flette

Brent Henke

Lance Redden

Braeden Adamyk


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