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WHLer Logan Doust uses talent and hard work to pursue education

Logan Doust, a former Saskatoon Blade and Moose Jaw Warrior, is one of 342 WHL grads taking advantage of the league’s scholarship program during the 2022-2023 academic year.
Logan Doust, a former Saskatoon Blade and Moose Jaw Warrior, is now playing hockey and getting an education at the University of British Columbia.

SASKATOON, MOOSE JAW, REGINA — Through the Western Hockey League Scholarship program, Logan Doust has used his on-ice talents and hard work to pursue an education.

The University of British Columbia student is one of 342 WHL grads taking advantage of the league’s scholarship program during the 2022-2023 academic year, according to data released earlier this season. A forward from North Vancouver, Doust was drafted by the Saskatoon Blades and spent time in the WHL with that club, the Victoria Royals, and the Moose Jaw Warriors.

“When I originally signed when I was 15, it wasn’t exactly what I was thinking about. But it’s really nice to know that if something doesn’t work out or go exactly how I want it to, of course it’s in the back of your mind, it’s a factor when you want to commit to playing in the Western League. It’s a really, really good thing to know you have that.”

It is the 30th year of the WHL Scholarship Program. Since its inception, more than 7,500 scholarships have been accessed. According to the WHL, this represents an investment of more than $33 million by the league’s teams. For each season a player is in the WHL, they receive a full year of scholarship, which encompasses tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees.

“On an annual basis, it is very gratifying to see our graduates take advantage of the WHL Scholarship,” WHL Commissioner Ron Robison said on the league’s website. “The WHL not only produces many of the world’s finest hockey players, but just as importantly, highly-educated students who through the WHL Scholarship program move on to very successful business and professional careers.”


U Sports Hockey

Doust is in his first season of playing for the UBC Thunderbirds and studying in the Vancouver school’s Faculty of Arts. UBC and the University of Saskatchewan each have have 28 students using the WHL Scholarship program. That leads all post-secondary institutions. The University of Regina has 19 this school year.

Two-hundred and six WHL Scholarship users are playing hockey at the U Sports level with 144 in Canada West. Doust has certainly enjoyed continuing to play hockey at a high level while getting an education.

“It’s been really good,” he said. “It’s obviously a bit of an adjustment coming back to school, but there’s lots of people that are really helpful and lots of people making it smooth, so it’s been good.”

Doust said there are some differences between the WHL and the U Sports level. The big one, he said, is the educational aspect.

“It’s not just hockey now, you got to juggle school and make sure you’re doing homework on the road and stuff like that,” Doust said. “Living close to home is a nice thing for me so that’s another good thing. There’s obviously a lot less of a load though. In the WHL there’s 68 games as opposed to the 28 that we play, so it’s a bit more manageable, it’s a lot easier on the body for sure.”

Doust suited up for three games for the Blades in 2017-2018 as an affiliated player. He spent the next season and a half in B.C. with the Royals. Doust said one of the most memorable parts of his WHL career was being traded to Moose Jaw.

“Being from Vancouver I think that was one of the most intimidating things in my whole life, heading out to Moose Jaw where I don’t know anybody. But the city of Moose Jaw was unbelievable, I had unbelievable billets that made it such an easy transition for me,” said Doust, who wore a letter his last two seasons with the Warriors.

The WHL has long been a producer of pro talent. For example, more than 115 alumni were on National Hockey League opening day rosters for the 2022-2023 season. Some ex-WHLers are heading to Canadian universities before or are playing in the pro ranks.

Former Blade Mason McCarty played 15 games for the ECHL’s Rapid City Rush in 2018-2019 after wrapping up his WHL days with Red Deer. He played three seasons at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. This winter McCarty has been back in the pros with the Kalamazoo (Mich). Wings of the ECHL. Fellow former Blade Rhett Rhinehart played for the ECHL’s Rush this season before joining the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.


Canadian College Hockey

U Sports is not the only level at which WHL alumni are continuing to play the game they love while getting an education. Two are using their scholarship while suiting up for a British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League team. Twenty-three alums are playing in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference. One of those is Zach Huber, who is in his second season at Calgary’s Southern Alberta Institute of Technology.

“I have enjoyed playing college hockey,” Huber said. “We have such a great group of guys, guys that will be my friends forever. It is a nice break from school and something fun to look forward to after school is done. Also, it fuels that competitive edge inside me which is something I need in my life.”

Off the ice, Huber is studying butchery and charcuterie management.

“I love the outdoors, hunting and fishing,” he said. “I also grew up on a farm with cattle. I thought it would be beneficial to learn some skills in that field for my future. We also do a cooking class, which interests me as I love learning new and different ways to cook.”

Huber spent time in the WHL with the Calgary Hitmen and the Blades. He finished his junior career with two games for the Flin Flon Bombers in a COVID-19 shortened Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

“The WHL was the best few years of my life up to date,” Huber said. “The cities you get to play in, the big crowds in beautiful rinks are second to none for junior hockey. I still keep in touch with a lot of guys I played with, and they will be my friends forever.”


Other Options

Some ex-WHLers are using their scholarship to pursue academics without hockey. Cole Muir, who started his WHL career in Regina, is studying at Brandon’s Assiniboine Community College in public safety (formerly police studies), which is a course offered in partnership with the Brandon Police Service.

“The WHL Scholarship program helped me greatly in the course that I am in currently,” Muir said. “It paid for my books, tuition and clothing, so I am greatly appreciative of that.”

During Muir’s WHL rookie season (2017-2018), he was traded to the Kootenay Ice in Cranbrook. He followed that franchise to Winnipeg in 2019 and wrapped up his career there last season.

“I enjoyed the friendships I made, the experiences I had the chance to experience, I enjoyed the ICE organization, I enjoyed the billet families and the community organizations I was involved with and lived with,” he said.

Max Paddock was a goalie for the Regina Pats, playing for his uncle John Paddock, and the Prince Albert Raiders. In 2021-2022, he competed on ice for Acadia University. This winter he is playing volleyball while using his WHL Scholarship for the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, B.C. His father, Russ, played volleyball in the Olympics for Canada.

Eighteen ex-WHLers are using their scholarships this school year at U.S. colleges and universities. This includes Makai Mitchell, who played for the Pats in 2018-2021. He now studies at Colorado State University in his hometown of Fort Collins. Jesse Mistelbacher spent time with the Moose Jaw Warriors in 2018-2019 before playing in the Junior A ranks. He is utilizing the WHL Scholarship program to attend United Transportation Driver Training in Blumenort, Man.