~ Article and image courtesy Clark Stork/northeastNOW
Graduated Nipawin Hawks forward Kye Whillans has committed to play college hockey at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton.
Whillans, 21, was acquired by the Hawks from the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) early last season. He played 23 games for the Hawks producing four goals and six assists. The Manning, Alta. product began his junior career with Whitecourt in 2018 – 19. Since then he said playing college hockey was his goal.
“When you play junior, you want to make it to the next level which is college,” Whillans told northeastNOW. “Ever since I started, I wanted to continue my hockey career.”
His lone season in Nipawin was upended by injuries. His last game was Feb. 18 against the Humboldt Broncos. Whillans reaggravated an injury that ended his junior career. He said his health has improved and he’s excited to put the ailments behind him.
“Sitting in the stands as a 20-year-old in your last year of junior isn’t very ideal, but I am just going to stay motivated, do my exercises, stay in shape, and hopefully everything goes as planned,” he said.
The NAIT Ooks Men’s Hockey Team plays in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) and is coming off a league championship. Whillans said stepping into the program the school features is exciting.
“I know a few people there; they have enjoyed their time there. They have a good school, they just won the league title last year, that’s pretty cool and I can’t wait to be part of it,” he said.
Whillans said he will take electrical training and is aiming to become an electrician.