Two Hope Minor Hockey players are taking their love of the game to higher heights this summer. Seventeen-year-old Donavan John has won a $750 Pat Quinn Scholarship from the Canuck Alumni

Two Hope Minor Hockey players are taking their love of the game to higher heights this summer. Seventeen-year-old Donavan John has won a $750 Pat Quinn Scholarship from the Canuck Alumni

Taking hockey to the next level

Hope player receives a Canuck Alumni scholarship, while another prepares for international exchange tryouts

They’re both hockey defencemen, they both shoot left — and they both have the right stuff that will take them to new opportunities, thanks to the experiences provided by Hope Minor Hockey.

Seventeen-year-old Donavan John is closing out his 12 years in minor hockey and heading off to Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, where he hopes to mix hockey with his science studies.

Eleven-year-old Brandon Pennell captained his atom A-2 Wildcats team this year, where he was scouted and invited to try out for a Western Canadian AAA hockey exchange team that will be travelling in Europe next summer.

John was selected as Hope’s representative to the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association’s annual midget C scholarship tournament in March. His team won the four-team event but John didn’t come home with any awards at the time.

“One player from each team got a $500 scholarship for the best overall performance,” said John on Monday. “I didn’t win that — but there were two more scholarships to apply for and I applied for both.

“In the application, they wanted to know about my community service, so I talked about my drumming and singing group that we did in Hope for the Olympic Torch Run and the Paralympic Torch Run and also at the Paralympics in Vancouver. I also helped fundraise for our grad class this year.”

John’s record in hockey helped pad his application. He was captain of the midget C Wildcats last year and assistant captain this year — and his penalty minutes averaged under 20 minutes total for each of his three years in midget hockey.

Academic achievement also stood in John’s favour, as he has been on the Hope Secondary honour roll or merit list for most of his five years at the school.

In the end, John was awarded the $750 Pat Quinn scholarship from the Vancouver Canuck Alumni association.

“That will go toward my first year at Thompson Rivers University,” said John. “I want to take physics, astronomy and mathematics for sure, leading to a Bachelor of Science.

“There are a couple of job options that I find interesting. One is in astrophysics and the other is aerospace engineering.

“I’m definitely going to try out for whatever hockey team they have up there,” he added. “I plan to be up there before September, most likely staying in on-campus housing.”

Pennell has a few more years before he has to worry about university housing. For now, his big challenge is to make the prestigious team he has been invited to try out for.

He and his Hope Wildcats atom rep team were playing in a Christmas break tournament at Abbotsford and — unbeknownst to Pennell — there was a scout in the stands, looking for standout players. Pennell only found out later, after his parents had some time to digest what the scout had told them.

“He was watching me and he asked my brother Justin where my parents were and he talked to my parents,” said Pennell on Monday. “He told them that he liked everything that I did but I had to work on my shooting.”

Through the parents, the scout invited Pennell to try out for the Western Canadian AAA International Hockey Exchange team, which would be touring Europe in 2013.

“It was such a shock to me and Larry,” said Brandon’s mom, Terri. “Brandon was the only one invited from his team and there were only three invited from the whole tournament.

“We were invited out for a pre-tryout camp in Bashaw, Alberta (northeast of Red Deer) in March,” said Terri. Prospective players were run through drills with this year’s team.

“Brandon was on the ice for a total of six hours in one day. It was quite something.”

He’s not there yet — but if Brandon makes the team, he’ll be going to Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy and Switzerland in a two-week whirlwind trip next year, playing select teams along the way.

Just Posted

Dancers from the Sts’ailes First Nation perform the eagle dance at a welcome banner dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 10. “Ey Swayel” is a Halq̓eméylem term translated as ‘a good day.’ (Adam Louis/Observer)
VIDEO: ‘A good day’ for Agassiz school as Sts’ailes welcome banner is dedicated

Banner hangs above the school’s entrance, welcoming students, staff and visitors

Missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs was found deceased on Thursday evening (June 17).
Body of missing Abbotsford man Adam Hobbs found

Hobbs was reported missing Monday after leaving his job site in Langley

UFV athletes were honoured for their strength and perseverance during the pandemic. (UFV photo)
Fraser Valley athletes recognized in year without sports

UFV Cascades athletes honoured for strength shown during the pandemic

A tenant walks in front of her home on Boundary Road on Friday, June 18, 2021 after it was destroyed by fire the night before in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family homeless after fire rips through house on Abbotsford border

Turtle rescued, no one seriously hurt following Boundary Road fire in Chilliwack

Wild rabbits are all over Chilliwack, but people often think they’re someone’s lost pet and try to ‘save’ them. But the owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room says good intentions can have bad consequences for wild animals. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Owner of Chilliwack’s Reptile Room asks people to leave wild animals in the wild

Amber Quiring says people who think they’re helping are actually doing more harm than good

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read