Even the most disappointing of events can sometimes lead to the best of opportunities.
When he wasn’t chosen at the Western Hockey League’s Bantam Draft, Matt Alfaro was disappointed. However, it would all soon turn around for the Calgary, Alta. product with help from the WHL Scholarship.
Turning his situation into motivation, Alfaro posted a strong season with the Calgary Midget AAA Northstars and was eventually listed by the Kootenay ICE.
“That gave me a whole bunch of confidence going into camp,” Alfaro said of the listing.
Alfaro did have options beyond playing in the WHL, options which weighed on him before making the decision to play with the ICE.
“Really when I sat down with my mom, we talked about the WHL Scholarship and what it could bring,” Alfaro said. “The education in Alberta and especially at U of C was a big thing.
“To be able to go to school here and have all the money taken out of it was a big aspect of me choosing the WHL.”
Alfaro took that opportunity and played 290 WHL regular season and playoffs games over four seasons with the ICE and Lethbridge Hurricanes. Already well aware of the benefits the WHL Scholarship provided, Alfaro chose to move home and attend a familiar institution in the University of Calgary.
“I knew the University of Calgary was a really good school, both my older sisters graduated from there,” Alfaro said. “I had a background with that. With their hockey program being good as well, it was just a cherry on top.
“It just made an easy decision for me.”
Starting in sciences and transitioning to the Commerce program, Alfaro is bringing the same energy he brings on the ice to the classroom, working to overcome any adversity.
“It’s been tough, especially this year,” Alfaro admitted. “Since I had a bigger role on the ice, I didn’t want that to hamper my academics.
“I didn’t let that happen in the first half. As long as I just keep putting the work in, everything seems to work out.”
That’s where the WHL Scholarship comes into play for Alfaro, removing the stress of funding an education while he’s is free to pursue his academic goals. He also took on a significant on-ice role this year, leading the entire Canada West conference in scoring. Still, Alfaro had his schooling in mind before he came to the WHL.
“Even when I was 16, I knew that was something I was really interested in doing in going to school,” Alfaro said.
Now roughly halfway through his schooling, Alfaro is building a solid foundation for his post-secondary life with the help of the WHL Scholarship and would urge other WHL players or those considering the route to make use of it as well. He also urged those currently playing to take advantage of completing courses, at the cost of the WHL member club, while they had the opportunity to.
“The WHL Scholarship is exactly how it’s advertised,” Alfaro said. “It gives you an advantage and it really helps you when you come to school.”