Date: Mar, 12, 2018 10:02 AM EDT

By: Lee Boyadjian

Evan Foster’s minor hockey career mimics that of most who lace up: learn-to-skate, house league, select and then representative hockey. The only slight difference, which still bears similarity to many, was his choice to take up goaltending part way through his Minor Atom season.

“The thing I love the most is the reaction a player would have when you stop them point blank,” Foster says. “That kind of look of just awe and shock and anger on their face, that’s always kind of what drove me.”

Part way through middle school, Foster’s drive turned more toward education. He set his sights on medical school and targeted the University of Guelph as his school of choice. But even with those big goals, Foster never considered the time he spent at the arena to be too much. Goalies are a little weird, he says.

“Even through university, hockey was a way to get away from my books and take my head totally out of school and focus on something that was totally unrelated. So I think that’s what intramural hockey did for me; it was very helpful in that manner.”

Foster found his Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) Bursary was helpful at the start of his university experience, easing some of the burden of start-up costs and giving him a sense of ownership over his education. The more you contribute to your schooling, he says, the more meaningful it becomes.

“A lot of people who do play hockey and are middle-of-the-pack minor players who aren’t going to make it, you can almost feel like you’re going unnoticed. But on the same side, academically, you might not be the top of your class and get any of those dean’s list scholarships or the massive scholarships going in. If you’re kind of in the upper echelon of the two, even if you’re not in the top 95 percentiles, I found that being good at both allowed me to apply for this bursary and get it.”

The OHF Bursary Program was introduced in 1997 to recognize and reward dedication to hockey and education. Annually, $29,000 is distributed among the winners, along with a $1,000 award from BFL Canada for the Jim Stirling Scholarship, which is presented to the top applicant based on academic achievement, hockey participation and community involvement.

Now a bio-medical science graduate (with honours) and back home in Toronto, Foster is applying to medical school and working at Toronto Rehab as a research study assistant in the Hull-Ellis Concussion and Research Clinic. He hopes to continue his life-long love of the game by reuniting with some of his former minor hockey teammates and joining adult programming.

Foster is also taking advantage of his return home to encourage his younger brother, Wil, to apply for an OHF Bursary and put all his years of hockey to good use.

“Because everything helps.”

For more information on the OHF Bursary, click here.