Excelling on the ice and in the classroom has always been important to Tyrell Buckley.
Buckley, who completed his first season in the BCHL last year with the Merritt Centennials, was selected as a recipient of the Jim Sterling Memorial Award Scholarship by B.C. Hockey. Buckley will receive $1,000 for his academic achievements and contributions to his community.
“It means a lot. It’s good recognition for what I’ve tried to do, work hard in school and work hard on the ice,” said Buckley, a former Penticton Minor Hockey Association product and graduate of the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
Helping Buckley earn the award was a letter of recommendation from his now former coach Luke Pierce, who will be coaching the Western Hockey League’s Kootenay Ice. In the letter Pierce wrote that Buckley was a key member of the Centennials and is an “outstanding young man.”
“Tyrell played a significant part in leading our program to another successful season both on and off the ice,” he wrote. “His performance on the ice helped provide the example for all players, both young and old in how Merritt Centennials are expected to play the game. His determination and will to compete were second to none. More importantly, the maturity he displayed as a young man off the ice helped create a culture of respect and admiration amongst our community.”
Buckley was also admired by his teammates and Pierce said has great potential to become a leader for the Centennials.
The letter from B.C. Hockey states the scholarship will be available once they receive confirmation of his attendance at a post-secondary institution. As a winner, Buckley can defer receipt of the award “for not longer than one academic year.”
Entering his second season with the Centennials, Buckley aims to earn an National Collegiate Athletic Association scholarship. Teams expressed interest in him last year. With a larger role on the team that brings more ice time, Buckley hopes to secure a scholarship this season.
“I think I got better each and every game. It was a tough transition the first couple months,” said Buckley, who collected six assists in 50 games. “Playing with bigger players and older players, especially the second half, after Christmas, I felt I really helped the team.”