T.J. Sutter could be the perfect spokesperson for the RBC National Junior A Scholarship.
He is a past winner of the $5,000 scholarship, used it to attend one of Canada’s premier universities, and worked hard on the ice and in the classroom and now boasts a great job with, of all companies, RBC.
Sutter, as a member of the Nipawin Hawks, became the first player from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to win the national scholarship award when he did so in 2006. No player from the SJHL has done it since.
Sutter used the scholarship to help with fees during his four years at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. He remembers what his goals were as a freshman at Queen’s – work hard on and off the ice and ensure that his work ethic paid off down the road.
“While taking a full course load and playing varsity hockey, you realize how precious time becomes and how little of it you have when you’re running between classes, group meetings, hockey practice, the gym, etc.,” says Sutter. “On top of that, university is not cheap. The scholarship money helped me achieve my goals by providing me with the financial support to focus my time on what was most important to me: grades and athletics. I hoped that would result in my getting a good job.”
That is exactly what happened. During his senior year at Queen’s, Sutter earned a job with RBC Capital Markets in its global markets rotational program. He started there in August 2010 and, over the next 12 months, had three job rotations in Toronto and New York, learning the ins and outs of the financial industry.
During the summer of 2011, Sutter settled on a job at the bond desk at RBC and works as an institutional bond trader in Toronto.
Sutter had a memorable four years at Queen’s, capped by being named an alternate captain of the Golden Gaels during his senior season, along with class valedictorian. He looks back on his days in Nipawin and credits a lot of that learning for what he has accomplished.
“I attribute a lot of my success to what I learned while playing junior hockey,” says Sutter. “The hard work, the teamwork, the community involvement, the camaraderie and, most importantly, you really understand the importance of trusting your teammates and the various roles each player has in order to make the team successful.”
Kevin Ross has a similar story. The way he sees it, there are two major ways in which he’s benefitted from being the 2009 RBC scholarship winner.
Yes, there’s the financial benefit of the scholarship going toward his tuition and books at Princeton University in New Jersey. But there is also the added benefit of time.
“The RBC scholarship has been a huge help to me. I am on financial aid here and every student getting aid from the university is required to have a campus job,” says Ross. “Fortunately, the university has allowed me to use my scholarship money to cover what I would be expected to contribute with a campus job, so the RBC scholarship has freed up some time for me to focus on hockey and school.”
Ross, a defenceman, recently completed his sophomore hockey season at Princeton. The 2011-12 season was a great one for Ross, who finished with 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in 28 games and was named to the ECAC All-Academic Team.
The native of Cranbrook, B.C., chose to play Junior A hockey in the B.C. Hockey League to maintain his NCAA eligibility, spending three seasons with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, where he was named the club’s top defenceman in each of those seasons. His fondest memory, however, came during his last season in 2009-10 when Ross helped lead the Bulldogs to the regular season Coastal Conference title.
Ross had 10 goals, 49 assists and 59 points and was a finalist for the conference’s top defenceman award, along with a league all-star. He was Alberni Valley’s Top Scholastic and Most Sportsmanlike Player as well. His greatest feat, though, came at that year’s RBC Cup, when Ross received his RBC scholarship.
For Ross, taking the Junior A hockey route was one of his best decisions.
“I got the opportunity to play and study at Princeton because of the work I put in throughout high school and in my junior hockey days. Sometimes, the junior hockey environment puts school on the backburner, but I certainly would not have accomplished what I have without putting in the work in the classroom too,” says Ross.
Like most hockey players, Ross mentions his goal is to play the game he loves as long as he can. But he is well aware that any career can be cut short due to a variety of circumstances – injury, competition for roster spots, luck, etc.
Ross, with two years left at Princeton, knows how important earning an education has been and will be.
“After I graduate, I want to play hockey for as long as I can, but once that is over, I'll be looking to utilize the degree I worked so hard to get,” says Ross. “I will work in the engineering industry in some capacity.”