The Canadian Sport School Hockey League is more than just hockey. It’s about building character, celebrating successes and enabling a balanced lifestyle where student athletes can chase their dreams without compromising their education. The CSSHL and its sport schools strive to inspire students by celebrating their triumphs and accomplishments. However, the real win is when young student athletes inspire their teammates, coaches and parents to achieve their goals through their hard work and dedication.
At 17-years-old, BWC Academy’s Brendan Wang has accomplished more than many people have in a lifetime. Currently, Wang is a leading the CSSHL’s Midget Prep Division in scoring among defenceman. He was the recipient of the 2017-2018 WHL Scholastic Player of the Year in the CSSHL’s Elite 15 Division and the BWC Academy’s Top Student Athlete for achieving a 4.0 GPA. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Wang is also an accomplished pianist who has the opportunity to play at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City next month.
Maco Balkovec, head coach of BWC Academy Midget Prep team, has had the privilege of getting to know Wang this season.
“Brendan is having an incredible year and it’s pretty amazing to see what kind of person he is,” Balkovec describes. “He’s just a first-class kid. He is carrying a 4.0 GPA in an intense load of classes, he’s an unreal teammate and everyone is so impressed by him as a person. All the boys on the team really respect him.”
Wang grew up in a house where there was always music. Both his mother and older sister are accomplished pianists, so at just five-years-old, after being inspired by his sister, he followed suit. In November 2018, Wang competed, and placed first, in the Crescendo International Music Competition, a youth musical competition where aspiring musicians compete and showcase their talents. As a result, Wang and his family will head to the Winner’s Recitals at Carnegie Hall in New York on February 10. Wang will take the same stage that many popular musicians have in the past including The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Tina Turner to name a few, competing against other musicians from across the globe.
Additionally, Wang is currently pursuing his Associate of The Royal Conservatory (ARCT) diploma offered through the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM). The ARCT diploma for performers and teachers is the highest academic standing awarded by The Royal Conservatory of Music. It involves senior theory courses as well as challenging practical piano pieces. The ARCT diploma is recognized and respected internationally and the goal is for Wang to obtain his diploma in 2019.
With school, hockey and music all being consistent priorities in Wang’s life, one might wonder how he is able to do it all while remaining a such an outstanding achiever in all three areas. Wang attributes his success to time management, practise and consistency.
“On a weekday I normally wake up around 7:00am, go to school around 8:30am, hockey practice in my fourth block from 2:30 to 3:15pm, get home around 5:00pm, do some homework or practice piano right away,” Wang explains. “I generally have an hour of downtime at night and go to bed around 9:30 or 10:00pm. When on the road for a Showcase, I dedicate my time to school work and hockey.”
According to Wang, playing the piano is difficult and at times can very frustrating. There were many times he’s wanted to quit, but his strong sense of completion has continued to motivate him to finish anything he sets his mind to. He finds it rewarding when he can finally execute a difficult piece flawlessly.
“Honestly there were times that I wanted to quit playing piano,’ Wang explains. “But I’ve put so much time into practising piano every day, so I just continue to put my head and do it and it has paid off.”
Wang is disciplined, focused and persistent. He will spend hours firing pucks in the backyard to ensure he gets his shot just right and hours on the piano bench working at a particularly difficult passage until he can finally play it fluidly. So, it is no surprise that a talented young student like Wang is a multi-sport athlete. In the off-season, Wang plays AAA baseball for the Coquitlam Reds. Last season, his team brought home the Provincial Championship and Western Canadian Midget AAA 18U championship banners.
Getting involved in the community is also very important to Wang. He started and organized BWC Academy and Burnaby Central Secondary’s first ever sports gear drive, where they sold lightly used sporting equipment and donated the funds raised to KidSport Burnaby, a not-for-profit organization that helps kids under 18 play sports.
According to Balkovec, kids like Wang are revered at the BWC Academy. They are encouraged to have talents outside of hockey and it has a lot to do with the program and the culture at the academy.
“The things that stands out most to me is that Brendan was my last add on my team for defensemen and now at this point in the year, he is currently leading the CSSHL, the top midget league in Canada, in scoring for defenseman,” sad Balkovec. “Then you add in where he is in school, how he is as a person, a virtue piano player, it’s just incredible.”
Whether a defenseman, a pianist, a hockey referee, or a math tutor, Wang excels in everything he does. He loves the level of competition in hockey and enjoys attending the BWC Academy. Wang’s ambition to play junior A hockey next season is looking extremely promising.