Through 265 Western Hockey League regular season and playoff games, Adam Henry learned the benefit of a strong defence.
That, and that all roads eventually lead home.
Identified as a talent for the NHL Draft at one point, Henry earned invitations to various NHL development camps throughout his time in the league. However, Henry’s decision upon the completion of his WHL career was to utilize his WHL Scholarship in his hometown at the University of Manitoba.
“Having a university degree is a very important thing in today’s day and age,” Henry said.
The defenceman would wrap up his WHL career in 2015 with the Portland Winterhawks, also playing with the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Seattle Thunderbirds, and Saskatoon Blades.
Since then, he’s brought his passion for academics to the Asper School of Business and his hockey skills to the Bisons men’s hockey team. The hockey portion of his Canada West career came to an end this past weekend when the Bisons fell in the first round to the University of Calgary Dinos.
Still, the future is bright for the 25-year-old in the hockey world and the real world. He’s completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree with eventual hopes of pursuing a further designation in order to enter a career in wealth management. On the hockey side, he’s off to the ECHL to pursue a career in professional hockey ‘as long as the money is good and I’m still enjoying it’ Henry notes.
“I just wasn’t interested in starting my schooling that late,” Henry said of those he saw playing professionally first before starting their education at a later age. “I wanted to get the school done first, play hockey while I’m going to school, and if the pro opportunities were there then that would be great to be a bonus.
“Fortunately, that’s what’s happened and now I can go play pro with the peace of mind knowing when it does come to an end, I’ve got a university degree and something to look forward to when I come home.”
For the former Winnipeg Thrasher, representing his hometown came with the upmost pride while the tutelage on the academic side set Henry up with a solid backup plan whenever his foray into professional hockey comes to a close.
While his education has taken precedence, Henry wasn’t shy about saying that reaching the NHL was his top goal at the time like so many of his fellow WHL teammates as well.
“The big thing, and it’s hard to realize when you’re 17 or 18 and the dream is the NHL and that should be the focus,” Henry said. “If you’ve made it to the WHL, you obviously have talent, you’re very close.
“You should definitely do whatever you can and focus on that.”
In the same breath though, he remained steadfast in his decision to pursue schooling first, noting the same opportunities available at 20 or 21 can still be there once one has a post-secondary education in their possession. In addition to the likes of Derek Ryan, Luke Philp, and Zach Sawchenko, Henry is now proof that can happen.
“I’m at that point where I’m really happy that I made this decision to go to school, continue playing, and now I can go play pro hockey with that peace of mind that I have a plan afterwards,” Henry said.
Serving as captain of the Bisons, Henry has come a long way from the 2015-16 Canada West men’s hockey season. He’s appeared in 138 Canada West regular season games, tallying 92 points (30G-62A), and played in seven playoff games as well.
As much as he’s furthered his skills on the ice, he’s also learned to balance his workload. From his classroom commitments to his on-ice duties and staying on top of a physical regimen, it takes a special type of dedication to thrive like Henry has.
For now, professional hockey is taking Henry to Fort Wayne, Indiana. When the times comes to take the next step off the ice, there’s only one place Henry can envision being.
“I plan on living in Winnipeg after I finish playing hockey; that’s where I’m going to live for most of my life.
“Just building those connections at the University of Manitoba and in the city was pretty important for me.”