Alberta has proven to provide pretty good pipelines for not only oil, but for hockey players to all corners of the college world.
It’s now the third consecutive season the Alberta Junior Hockey League has been able to announce that more than 300 AJHL Alumni are currently competing on college and university teams across North America.
The AJHL reached the 300 mark in the 2010-2011 season and has continued to surpass the milestone with a total of 303 alumni competing at the college level this year.
The Camrose Kodiaks have the most active alumni for the second consecutive year in a row with 28 former Kodiak players currently competing at the post-secondary level. The Spruce Grove Saints are second with 27 alumni, and the Fort McMurray Oil Barons have 24 alumni competing in college and university.
The Sherwood Park Crusaders currently have 14 former players skating for post-secondary teams and have become one of the top teams to secure future scholarships for current players in the league.
The majority of AJHL alumni are competing on NCAA Division I and Division III teams.
In total, 159 alumni are participating in the NCAA, including 103 at the NCAA Division I level. Among that number are four former Cru mates: Cody Kunyk and Nik Yaremchuk with Alaska, Rob Kleebaum with Princeton and Reese Rolheiser with Quinnipiac.
The University of Alaska and the University of Alaska-Anchorage have the most AJHL alumni in the NCAA, both with 11 players on their roster.
At the NCAA Division III level, there are also currently four former Crusaders suiting up for college teams in the States: Scott Hudson with Manhattanville, D’Lane Sather with Neumann, David Ahl with Concordia in Wisconsin and Matt Hehr with Fredonia.
A record high 74 alumni are competing in the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport), including former Crusader Jessi Hilton with the University of British Columbia.
Fifty-seven alumni are on the rosters of teams within the Alberta Colleges Athletic Association (ACAC), including graduated Cru competitors David Way with Grant MacEwan and Jesse Koch with NAIT. Former Crusader and Canadian Olympic women’s team goalie Shannon Szabados also suits up for NAIT, but is listed as having earned her scholarship there while playing for the now-defunct Fort Saskatchewan Traders.