Oak Bluff's Marcus Sekundiak has been selected as the Brandon Wheat Kings' recipient of the 2017-18 Maggie Janz Scholastic Award. The award is presented annually to the player who best demonstrates a willingness to continue pursuing his education while producing on the ice at a WHL level.
Sekundiak - a product of both the Winnipeg High School Hockey League (Oak Park) and the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (The Rink Hockey Academy Nationals) - led the WHSHL in scoring with 22 goals and 41 points in 22 games in his rookie year with the Raiders.
Since its beginnings in 2009, the CSSHL maintains a focus on both quality hockey hockey training, as well as the proper education and community involvement for its young students.
“It’s obviously very nice to be recognized,” Sekundiak said humbly. “It just shows that you can play in a bunch of different places and still get to a high level by working hard and staying determined enough, if you so choose. For me it was all about doing what was best for me at the time.”
After finishing grade 10 at Oak Park High School, Sekundiak made the decision to transfer to Shaftesbury and enroll in The Rink Hockey Academy – a travelling prep high school program, playing out of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.
The 17-year-old produced at nearly a point-per-game rate, contributing 17 goals and 27 points in 30 regular season games for RHA. In reflecting back upon his choice to transfer to Shaftesbury, Sekundiak called it a “no brainer”.
“I chose Shaftesbury so I could play for The Rink Hockey Academy,” he said bluntly. “It was really good, with the ice times and workouts every day; it really prepped me for this year schedule-wise with all the travel. It was definitely a stepping-stone season with a lot of preparation for this year in the Dub. After I finished all my workouts and skates with RHA, I came out to Brandon at the end of August and I have been here ever since.”
This past season in the WHL has seen Sekundiak play in a role seemingly unfamiliar as a checking forward. He has certainly managed to find the twine, but knows it has been a year of growth in which he has recently been able to find his place in the lineup, scoring two goals in the Wheaties second game of their opening round playoff matchup with Medicine Hat.
Not only has Sekundiak played on three teams in the past three years, but he has also attended three different high schools during that same period of time. It’s safe to say that this unorthodox experience has given the now 17-year-old a very hands-on lesson on the importance of accelerated acclimatization within new environments.
“Brandon has been really good,” he said. “It’s definitely a different experience being away from home this long, but my billets have made it much easier on me. All the kids here just look up to us so much, so it’s really nice to be a role model for them. The Brandon Wheat Kings really are Brandon’s team; the whole city cares about them and it’s obviously an important tradition here, especially considering all of the rich history.”
Recent notable winners of the Maggie Janz Scholastic Award include Mark Stone, Tanner Kaspick, Eric Roy, Colton Waltz, and Ryley Lindgren.
The Brandon Wheat Kings begin their second round playoff series with the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Friday night from the Enmax Centre in Alberta at 8:00 P.M. central.
By Carter Brooks
Photo provided by the Brandon Wheat Kings