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WHL ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: BRENDAN ROWINSKI

Brendan Rowinski enjoyed a solid five-year career in the Western Hockey League with the Calgary Hitmen, Moose Jaw Warriors and Vancouver Giants.

Now, the 21-year-old from Winnipeg, MB, is pursuing a post-secondary education at the University of Manitoba in his hometown while continuing to play elite level hockey with the Manitoba Bisons of the Canada West Conference of the CIS.

A first-round WHL Bantam Draft pick of the Calgary Hitmen in 2005, Rowinski played 116 games for the Hitmen between 2006-08 before being traded to the Moose Jaw Warriors midway through the 2008-09 season. The 5’11”, 191-lb forward enjoyed his best season in the WHL with the Warriors in 2009-10, scoring 30 goals and 61 points in 68 games.

After wrapping up his WHL career last season as a member of the Vancouver Giants, Rowinski opted to access his WHL Scholarship to pursue a post-secondary education at the U of M. For every year a player plays in the WHL, they receive one year’s worth of Scholarship funding, fully indexed, to covers tuition, books and compulsory fees at a post-secondary institute of their choice.

Having played five years in the WHL, Rowinski has accumulated five years worth of scholarship money. While attending school full-time, Rowinski also continues to play hockey at a highly competitive level in the CIS with the Bisons, where he skates with and battles against many other WHL alumni.

So far, university life and university hockey have been good to Rowinski as he wraps up his first semester at the University of Manitoba.

CATCHING UP WITH…BRENDAN ROWINSKI

On the transition back to student life…
“It’s definitely an adjustment. The first month or so was pretty tough, but you just have to buckle down and get into gear. The big thing I had trouble with at first was time management. I felt like I had to cram for all my exams through the first half of the semester. But, as you go along, you learn how to budget your time, so it gets easier.”

On playing hockey in the Canada West Conference…
“It’s very good hockey. I was pretty surprised at how fast the game is in that League. There are mostly former WHL players and a few other junior players in the League, so we all know how to play the game. It was an adjustment to get used to the speed and skill of the League, but I think I’m getting used to it now.”

On the WHL Alumni in the Canada West Conference…
“There are guys on pretty much every team that I’ve crossed paths with back in the WHL, whether playing with them or against them. It’s nice to see some of the guys and play against them. It helps with the adjustment to the League, too.”

On the WHL Scholarship program…
“It’s amazing. The WHL has a tremendous program, providing scholarships to alumni, and they have done so much for people like myself. I knew I wanted to go to school, one way or another, but to have all your tuition costs, books and expenses paid for really helps out and makes it much easier. Not having to worry about finances makes it easier to focus on school and hockey without the added stress.”

On his time in the WHL…
“It was a really great experience for me. Coming in as a 16-year-old, I got to see a few guys move on to the NHL, like Ryan White and Karl Alzner. The older guys taught me so much and helped me out when I was young, so I tried to do the same as I got older. Everyone from the coaching staffs, the management and the office staffs of the teams I played for helped me become the person I am today. I am fortunate that I was able to play in the WHL because it’s a big honor to have that opportunity.”

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