Scholarships help student athletes achieve their goals

  • Mar. 20, 2013 3:50 p.m.

Students at Red Deer College benefit tremendously from the Kings & Queens Scholarship programs, and they are also a means of attracting promising athletes as well, staff say.

“Our athletes probably put in a minimum of about 20 hours a week into their sport by the time you account for practices, playing and travel,” said Keith Hansen, RDC
instructor and director of athletics. “It’s almost impossible for them to take on a part-time job and play a sport. So we try and help to supplement the fact they aren’t able to work with some extra dollars.

“There are a lot of kids that might choose not to play and choose to work if they didn’t have the financial help. It also helps us attract better athletes as well,” he said.

“So there is help for the financial needs, but it’s also making sure we’re putting the best, most competitive teams as possible on the floor.”

He said there are limitations on what RDC is allowed to give, but they can give up to tuition amounts. “It allows the students to play and not have quite the financial burden,” he said. “We’ve probably been giving supplemental scholarships for 15 years now.”

Meanwhile, there are still tickets available for the 10th annual RDC Kings & Queens Scholarship Breakfast, set for March 28 at Westerner Park’s Parkland Pavilion.

Hansen said the event is the primary means of funding the scholarships handed down each year, although there are other sources of scholarship income from private donations to endowments. Some teams put on fundraisers of their own as well through the year, and there is also the ‘Adopt an Athlete’ program at RDC, too.

“We do get a number of parents who buy into the Adopt an Athlete program and help the teams out that way, and it’s definitely open to anyone in the community.”

Meanwhile, hockey’s most recognizable name, Wayne Gretzky, will be the keynote speaker at the breakfast event. He will share personal reflections from his storied career, during an event that is sure to inspire athletes and fans of all sport. Gretzky will be joined on stage by commentator Kelly Chase who will emcee the event.

The breakfast gets underway at 7:30 a.m. There is also a private meet and greet with Gretzky from 10 to 11:30 a.m.

“The fact we can have a speaker of that quality – someone who has been basically everything to the hockey scene but also he’s always been an ambassador as far as Olympics events go. He’s done everything when it comes to sport, so I think he’ll be great for our athletes to hear. I think it will be a wonderful event.

“We’re also hoping to attract as many people as we possibly can.” Hansen hopes to see some 1,500 guests ultimately attend.

Gretzky first donned the famous number 99 as a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, a jersey that he wore to The Stanley Cup Finals six times, winning four cups with the Edmonton Oilers in the mid to late 1980s. He holds or shares 61 NHL records, 40 for the regular season, 15 for the Stanley Cup playoffs and six for the NHL All-Star Game.

As noted, the Kings & Queens Scholarship breakfast helps support student athletes to pursue their dreams of sports and education. Since its inception nine years ago, this event has raised over $205,000 for athletic scholarships. Anyone can donate to the scholarship funds at RDC.

For more about how to do that, contact Keith Hansen at 403-342-3267.

For ticket information to the breakfast, call the Black Knight Ticket Centre at 403-755-6626 or visit There are also still tickets available for the private meet and greet as well. For information about VIP and corporate tables or sponsorship opportunities, contact Carolyn Neufeld at or 403-343-4093.