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CSSHL Awards Four Scholarships

The Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) has awarded two female and two male student-athlete’s educational scholarships that will go towards their post-secondary education.

Damon Byers, Janaya Laqua, Brendan Olson and Susanna Pilchak are this year’s receipients of the CSSHL Scholarship.

The CSSHL would like to recognize student-athletes who develop their life skills while concentrating on their hockey development. The scholarships are open to all current and former male or female student athletes of the CSSHL that are currently in their graduating year of high school or up to 20 years old.

A selection committee from the CSSHL review’s all applications and selects recipients based on four categories: Education, Citizenship and Character, Hockey, and References.

Damon Byers:

Byers will be attending the University of Alberta having been accepted into the Engineering program there, transferring to Mechanical Engineering in his second year. Having always enjoyed mathematics and problem solving; as well as being very mechanically inclined, Byers enjoys working on things like vehicles and various equipment. His hope is to either design systems and infrastructure in the oil and gas industry or to design heavy equipment such as construction equipment or heavy-duty trucks.

On the ice Byers spent two seasons in the CSSHL with OHA Edmonton, playing 71 games split between their U16 Prep and U18 Prep team. The Edson, AB defenseman would spend the next two seasons in the AJHL with the Calgary Canucks, before spending the 2021/22 SJHL season with the Melfort Mustangs and Estevan Bruins.

Janaya Laqua:

Laqua will attend McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois. She moved in on August 15th and officially started school on the 22nd. She is taking Business Administration, Majoring in Accounting. Her interests in this major grew at the beginning of high school, so she took accounting courses through digital learning to decide if she wanted to pursue this study. Laqua passed the course with flying colours and loved the work and challenges that came with it. Once she graduates from McKendree University, her goal is to come back to Canada and be employed by a well-known established accounting firm such as Grant Thornton LLP.

A forward from Orion, AB, Laqua joined the South Alberta Hockey Academy (SAHA) Female U18 Prep team in 2020/21. In two seasons she would record 8 points in 27 games.

Brendan Olson:

Olson is starting his second year at the University of Alberta in Kinesiology having graduated two years early from high school. Olson was assessed at a young age where it was determined that he was gifted intellectually and they advised him to start school a year early. Then in high school he took a heavy course load including advanced classes that allowed him to move forward another year, thus, graduating two years ahead of other kids his age. Olson will major in biology/kinesiology where he plans to continuing into becoming a physiotherapist. Olson would like to continue being involved in sports and work with athletes in the future.

A four-year CSSHL student-athlete, Olson joined the league in 2018/19 with the Pacific Coast Hockey Academy (PCHA) U15 Prep team. He would suit up for their U15 Prep team in 2019/20, and their U16 Prep the following season, before returning the Edmonton, AB area where he would play with the Northern Alberta Xtreme (NAX) U18 Prep team. Olson was a member of the 201/19 CSSHL U15 Prep All-Academic Team.

 Susanna Pilchak:

Pilchak will be attending the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario beginning this fall. She will be majoring in Biomedical Engineering where her major takes five years as she is in the CO-OP program. With the CO-OP program, Pilchak will get to spend four-five terms throughout her undergraduate studies working full-time in a job related to her major. She chose her major because she really envoy’s building things, problem solving, and always wanted to do something in the medical industry. She described Biomedical Engineering as the perfect combination between getting to build new things and problem solve using maths and physics, while being related to the healthcare industry. Pilchak hopes to have a lasting positive impact on society by researching and developing new technologies to help combat illnesses. In the future, she wants to create bionic limbs and life-saving technology that are easily accessible and affordable for the general population. She aspires to pave the way for more women to feel comfortable majoring in engineering.

A netminder from Surrey, BC, Pilchak joined Delta Hockey Academy for the 2019/20 Female U18 Prep season, playing in 11 games. She would return to the CSSHL in 2020/21 with the Shawnigan Lake School team, recording a 2.29 GAA and .923 SV% during the 2021/22 season.