WJHA Birdies 4 Blades scholarship winner inspired to find something he loves to do following graduation

July 11, 2023 9:00 am by Jason Friesen Dynamic Featured Image

No matter what you do, have fun doing it.

That’s the lesson Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) graduating student Saif is taking away from the program as he graduates this year after spending six years with the True North Youth Foundation.

“This will help me in life after high school with jobs and choosing a career,” said Saif, who will be attending the University of Manitoba to study computer science or engineering. “I chose computer science and engineering because it’s one of the things that I enjoy doing. If you don’t enjoy what you do, there is no point in doing it and the negative aspects of the thing you chose keep building and eventually will take a toll on your mental and physical health.”

That reasoning is why Saif was involved in the WJHA as long as he was. He truly enjoyed it, which has impacted his mental and physical health for the better.

“My health has greatly improved, as being around friends and coaches while skating is the best,” Saif added. “My physical health has also improved as the WJHA coaches make workouts like mini games. Being in the WJHA overall made me happier than I have ever been, I’ve always looked forward to it and was excited to go to all the skating sessions and after-school programs.”

One memory that will stay with Saif as he departs the WJHA comes from an on-ice session where a coach helped him realize that he wasn’t shooting the puck properly. The coach helped him fix his shot, and his puck handling and shooting improved substantially and made him feel like a whole new hockey player.

It’s moments like that where Saif has learned lots about the importance of giving back and helping others. Because this coach came up to help him without him asking for help in the first place, he particularly learned that he shouldn’t always wait for others to ask for help either – when he knows he can help, he should offer it because he can.

That’s an important lesson in the mind of Birdies 4 Blades Golf Tournament Chair Chris Davin. The annual charity golf tournament uses proceeds from the tournament to provide a WJHA student with a scholarship towards post-secondary education, and they’ve chosen to partner with the WJHA for a reason.

“It’s important to give back to the local community towards organizations and individuals that are deserving of a well-earned opportunity,” said Davin. “The WJHA represents the foundational elements that align with Birdies 4 Blades golf. We look for student athletes who possess work ethic, commitment and a willingness to help others. That is exactly the type of individual Saif is and why he deserves this scholarship award.”

By aiding Saif in purshing a degree, Davin hopes the funds will help take him where he wants to go in life – and he’s sure that Saif will pay it forward by giving back to the community down the road too.

“I hope Saif will use the scholarship funding to further his education in the field of computer science so he can accomplish his goals as a young adult. He has worked hard to get to this point in his life and my hope is that having financial support at this critical stage can really make a difference in his ability to reach for the stars.”
For starters, Saif is already giving back to younger WJHA students through offering advice to them on engaging with the program – and having fun while doing it of course.

“Enjoy your time in the program and participate in as much as you can because while doing so, you can and will change lives of the people around you and your family.”