Kootenay Conference Bursary recipients


The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is proud to announce the 12 student-athletes who competed during the 2023-24 season that it has selected to receive league bursaries. Each bursary is valued at $1,000 and will be applied towards post-secondary studies.


We begin with the recipients from the Kootenay Conference.

Kaden Slobodian – Fernie Ghostriders – Slobodian graduated from Vincent Massey High School in Brandon, Man., in 2021 as an honour roll student. He has been studying science online at the University of Brandon and his goal is to become a pharmacist. Slobodian would like to play college hockey if an opportunity arises. 

With the Ghostriders, Slobodian volunteered to help with the Samaritan House Food Drive, Sparwood Food Drive, and gave his time to a resident by completing various chores. He’s described as well-mannered, respectable and looked up upon by youth as a role model.


Jake Watson – Kimberley Dynamiters – A graduate of George Elliot Secondary School in Vernon in 2021, Watson was an A student. He plans to attend Cleary University to earn a Bachelors in Business – Project Management, and play for their men’s hockey team. Watson was on the reserve list for the British U20 team and has aspirations to play professional hockey overseas using his British passport.

With the Dynamiters, Watson has helped with various community activities, including the Terry Fox Run at a middle school, packing groceries at Save-On-Foods and the Purcell Elementary Wood Chop Fundraiser. Away from the team, Watson has helped with Vernon Minor Hockey, Rink Hockey Academy and Travis Hoy Goaltending.


Kaleb Percival – Beaver Valley Nitehawks – The graduate of J.L. Crowe Secondary in 2021 is attending the University of Jamestown, where he will study exercise science and play for the Jimmies. The Nitehawks captain is the recipient of the Jaxon Joseph Memorial Scholarship

As a Nitehawk, Percival gave back to the community in many ways. His favourite was keeping a section of highway clean that the team was responsible for three or four times a year.

“I’ve always found that fun to do just because you walk with your teammates and all the cars that go by give you a honk,” he says. “You can tell that the community appreciates what you are doing for them.”


Spencer Dixon-Reusz – Beaver Valley Nitehawks – A graduate of J.L. Crowe Secondary, Dixon-Reusz has continued to be a strong student at Selkirk College since 2021 and is studying to pursue a science degree. Dixon-Reusz wants to pursue a career that allows him to contribute to sport, community and learning.

During his time with the Nitehawks, Dixon-Reusz earned their Most Sportsmanlike Award for three straight seasons and this season was an assistant captain. He has interest in playing hockey at a higher level if an opportunity is offered. He plans to give back to minor hockey as a referee and help with youth camps and hockey. 

With the Nitehawks he volunteered for various activities including Salvation Army Christmas Kettles, Fruitvale Rotary Club Bingo Clean-up and officiating an elementary school volleyball tournament. On his own time, he has been a hockey referee for seven years, been a pool camp volunteer and helps people move.


Ethan Lawczynski – Castlegar Rebels – A graduate of Stanley Humphries Secondary School in Castlegar, Lawczynski was an A student. This fall he will attend the University of Alberta to study engineering to become either an aeronautical or mechanical engineer as he aspires to work in the aviation industry. Lawczynski plans to try out for the Golden Bears men’s hockey team.

Lawczynski, the recipient of the Remembering Grand Sheridan Scholarship, is a two-time recipient of the Rebels’ Gerry Lacasse Memorial Award presented each season to a Rebels player that best exemplifies leadership, work ethic, follow-through, fortitude and heart. His contribution to the community as a volunteer is impressive. With the Rebels, the 20-year-old coached minor hockey goalies, including the U11 A team, he volunteered with the Terry Fox Run and one of his favourites, emceeing the Breakfast with Santa at the Castlegar & District Community Complex. Families attended the event to have breakfast with Santa and have photos taken with him. 


Ray Warrack – Grand Forks Border Bruins – Warrack is a graduate of Strathmore High School in Strathmore, Alta. He has completed a one-year course on Cattle and Health Management through Olds College and a macro and microeconomics course at Selkirk College. He is attending the University of Jamestown and will study to earn his business degree in agriculture, while playing for the Jimmies. He wants to use his knowledge to work in the Alberta agriculture industry with his family and is motivated to learn about sustainability and where the industry’s future is headed.

Warrack was the Border Bruins’ Most Valuable Player in 2022 and 2024 and their Top Scorer in 2022. He won their Community Award in 2023. He got involved in the Grand Forks community with the Border Bruins doing community garbage clean-up, Reading Program, Special Olympics Floor Hockey and more. Outside of hockey, Warrack helped with the Cheadle 4-H Club, is a member of the Cheadle Lions Club, the Strathmore Hospice Society and Strathmore Food Hamper.

In his application, Warrack says that he was raised in a family that is deeply invested in helping the people of his community, and believes it’s ”our duty as it’s the Canadian way.”