CSSHL Humanitarian of the Year Winners Announced

The Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) would like to congratulate Carson Usher and Kailey Wrigglesworth for being named the 2022/23 CSSHL Humanitarian of the Year Award Winners.

Usher has spent the last two seasons in the CSSHL with Shawnigan Lake School. The Langley, BC defender played last season with their U15 Prep team and spent the 2022/23 season with the Shawnigan U17 Prep team.

Carson is a Grade 10 student at Shawnigan. Like most student athletes in the CSSHL his main passion is hockey, but he chose Shawnigan for its rigorous academic program. Although he played his minor hockey at the Burnaby Winter Club, Carson decided that moving away from home to accept the challenge of boarding school life would be the best way to realize his dream of becoming a two-way defenceman in the NCAA. He has thrived on the ice and off, putting together an average of 83% over seven courses.

Early in the 2021-22 season, Carson learned that his father had been diagnosed with brain cancer. Although the prognosis was scary and statistically unfavourable, Carson and his entire family remained positive and optimistic. To make matters worse, Carson shattered his leg nine games into this second season.

Each year, Shawnigan students must complete a SOUL Seeking project. These projects are student-led and allow them to pursue a personal passion or area of interest. Carson chose to focus his project on increasing awareness on the effects of cancer and raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society. To date, his campaign has raised $17,800 for cancer research, far surpassing his original goal of $2,500. He was responsible for creating the first CSSHL Outdoor Winter Classic at Sun Peaks as a mechanism for much of these funds. This event required an enormous amount of coordination and administration. He was the event’s MC and coordinated the introductions preceding the event and handed out prizes afterwards, which he acquired through a partnership with the NHLPA’s Hockey Fights Cancer program.

“It is a great honour to receive this award. I organized the Hockey Fights Cancer game and fundraiser in honour of my dad who always went above and beyond helping others,” said Usher. “It was a great success thanks to the help from my coach, Jeff Compton, and so many families in the hockey community. I am planning on continuing the Hockey Fights Cancer fundraiser next season and hope that it becomes an annual event.”

Carson has been an inspiration to his team, his school, the hockey community and beyond. Despite his personal and family situation, he has remained focused on giving back and staying positive. He has taught everyone near him the definition of resilience, optimism and gratitude.

“The entire school is proud of Carson’s unwavering dedication to making a positive impact on the world. Through his remarkable efforts, Carson has not only transformed personal hardships into a beacon of hope, but also channeled his passion for hockey into an influential force for cancer awareness, added Compton. “By raising over $17,000 for the Hockey Fights Cancer foundation, he has exemplified the true spirit of philanthropy. Carson’s unwavering determination in the face of challenges serves as a true inspiration and a role model to his peers.”

A forward from Penticton, BC, Wrigglesworth has spent the last two seasons in the CSSHL with the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) Female U17 Prep team.

Since joining OHA in 2021, Kailey has routinely demonstrated strong character, leadership qualities and a commitment to her community by taking on a number of projects and volunteering her time to help others. During this past year, Kailey played a huge role in organizing OHA’s participation in the local Toys for Tots charity drive. Toys for Tots collects toys for children of all ages to ensure that every child has a gift to open on Christmas morning. Toys for Tots has been an important event for OHA in past years, and Kailey ensured that Christmas 2022 would be no exception.

In addition to Toys for Tots, Kailey was also part of the Penticton Provides 10,000 Tonight food drive. Kailey helped organize the drive and recruited her fellow OHA student-athletes as volunteers. This fundraiser aims to ensure that nobody in the community goes hungry during the holiday season.

Happy to share her love of hockey, Kailey volunteers weekly with the UpperDek Vees, a special needs hockey program. Kailey is also on the ice with Penticton Minor U9 and U11 Girls twice a week, lending a hand to young female players and helping to grow the game. Kailey’s love and passion for the game is clear, as is her desire to share that passion with the next generation of players.

“Being an athlete who is constantly under demand can make it hard to get involved in the community. However; doing so consistently this year has really changed my life.  When I was little, I remember the older girls coming on the ice to coach me and I always looked up to them.  It left a huge impression on me and now I have the opportunity to pay it forward and be a role model to someone else,” said Wrigglesworth. “Winning this award truly means a lot to me and recognizes all the hard work I have put in throughout the year.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to play in the CSSHL and am committed to continuing to grow as an athlete, as a leader and as a figure in the community.”

Kailey’s volunteer spirit extends to her time at school as well. As part of the Leadership Group at Penticton High, Kailey helps with the breakfast club, spirit weeks, fundraisers, and school events such as Terry Fox, Kindness Days, Remembrance Day, and Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Kailey manages to give so much of her time to helping others while at the same time balancing her OHA schedule, maintaining a grade point average of 93.67%, and being continuously recognized for the Excellence in Effort each semester.

“We are very proud of Kailey for the work that she has done in our community and for being such a great role model not only to those outside our organization, but for all the student-athletes at OHA. Kailey checks all the boxes when it comes to character and leadership, so we are very happy to see her recognized by the league as someone that stands apart from the group in a positive way.  We are honoured to have such an inspiring young woman in our program and would like to congratulate Kailey and her family on an incredible achievement,” added OHA General Manager Scott May.