Kara Kondrat has been named the 2019 recipient of the Mike Bigland Memorial Scholarship offered by Cochrane Minor Hockey.
The Mike Bigland scholarship was established in 2016 in memory of his proud and significant contribution to Cochrane Minor Hockey. Mike not only demonstrated passionate enthusiasm for the game of hockey but imparted on his player's character, commitment, professionalism and respect, both on and off the ice. With this in mind, Cochrane Minor Hockey has annually recognized these attributes in young people since 2016 with $2,500 scholarship.
"I was super thrilled and honour to be chosen, especially personally knowing Mike as a family friend and knowing his impact upon the community of hockey," says Kondrat.
Kondrat plans to travel after university and give back to her community by helping coach a girl’s hockey team.
Between her hockey schedule and university studies, Kondrat was unable to accept the award in person. She is in her rookie with the University of Saskatoon Huskies after making a five-year commitment last year The Huskies just wrapped up their regular season and host the Mount Royal Cougars for a three-game quarter-final series for Canada West of USports this weekend.
She hopes the Huskies are able to win the series and advance to play either the U of A Golden Bears or the UBC Thunderbirds in the semifinals. She's been enjoying her time with the Huskies while studying arts and science in Saskatoon.
"It's a huge eye-opener for sure. There are ups and downs but overall it's been really good and really fun."
She hasn't been able to return home to Cochrane very often, but her parents have been able to come to attend many of her games.
Four of her teammates from the Rocky Mountain Raiders also play for the Huskies.
Kondrat has played hockey since she was 8, initially for both the Cochrane Rockies and the Bow Valley Timberwolves. She went on to join the 'AAA' bantam female Raiders for one season, then advanced to the Raiders 'AAA' midget team for four seasons.
She’s earned many honours in her hockey career to date. In her final 'AAA' midget season, she was named MVP in the 2019 Mac’s Midget Tournament and helped her team win back-to-back Mac titles in 2017 and 2018 and a silver medal in 2016.
Kondrat was part of a Raiders team that was provincial and Pacific champions and bronze medallists at the nationals in 2016. She also saw gold in the 2014 Alberta Winter Games and as part of the Bantam 'AAA' provincial championship team.
She's also a force on the court in lacrosse, a sport she has played for eight years. She has played for the Rockyview Silvertips Jr. Ladies team for the last two seasons.
Her older brother Thane Kondrat was the recipient of the first Mike Bigland Memorial Scholarship in 2016.
Bigland was a popular head coach of the Timberwolves and died of cancer in April 2014 at age 49.