Three former NHL players spoke to a crowd of student athletes and supporters Tuesday morning at the annual Red Deer College Grit & Glory Scholarship Breakfast.
The annual fundraising event presented two students with scholarships for their leadership in the community, after which the crowd heard inspirational stories from former Calgary Flames Lanny McDonald, Tim Hunter and Jim Peplinski.
The trio discussed the many adventures of their glory days as they revisited the day 25 years ago in which they had the opportunity to hoist the Stanley Cup into the air.
As each took their turns telling comical tales, the underlying theme of all of their stories could be traced back to importance for athletes to give to back to their communities and to take on leadership roles in their communities as well.
McDonald encouraged the student athletes to remember, “Attitude plus enthusiasm equals your environment. Don’t race to the top of the mountain, build a strong foundation and practice makes perfect.”
While Hunter inspired the students to go above and beyond the expectations and roles they have been given. “I discovered at an early age that the difference between average and the top people can be explained in three simple words ‘and then some’,” he said. “The top people did what was expected of them and then some, they were thoughtful of others, considerate, kind, and then some.”
The breakfast fundraiser aimed to support RDC’s Athletic Leadership Endowment fund as well as athletic scholarships and awards.
Two scholarships were presented at the event to student athletes who showed exemplary leadership in their respective sports and communities.
These students have demonstrated excellence both on the playing field as well as in the classroom, officials said.
Melissa Koster, co-captain of the RDC women’s golf team, was the recipient of one $1,500 scholarship for her leadership on her team which will be heading to nationals this year.
Koster is also a student trainer for the basketball teams, one of two students who are on the College’s athletic advisory board, is a volunteer at Bethany Collegeside, and volunteers once a week at an afterschool sport fundamental program for children. She also volunteers as a golf instructor at the Spruce View Senior High School golf program.
Tim Finnigan was the second recipient of a $1,500 scholarship, for his leadership role as the captain of the RDC King’s volleyball team who he has led to two consecutive ACAC championships as well as a national silver medal last year.
Finnigan was chosen as the ACAC Player of the Year as well as a CCAA All-Canadian player.
He is also an active member of the student athletic board, the assistant coach of RDC’s U-18 volleyball team, a Notre Dame High School volleyball instructor and a weekly volunteer for Red Deer Catholic Social Services.
Finnigan stated during his acceptance speech, “It is a tremendous honour to be recognized as a leader and role model within our community, scholarships such as this one make life as a student athlete and volunteer much more manageable.”
Koster added, “Scholarships are a huge financial stress relief because with all of our school work, athletics, and volunteering it means part time jobs are out of the question.”
Joel Ward, president of RDC, also had a big announcement during the breakfast fundraiser in which he said he was, “Pleased to announce Scott Builders have made a $100,000 gift in support of our student athletes and athletic programs.”
This gift will go towards the College’s Athletic Leadership Fund, which was put in place to ensure sustainability for RDC’s athletics programs and scholarships.