Game-changing donation to MacEwan University’s hockey program

Jan 14 2015


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Bill Comrie makes $1.5 million contribution to scholarships for Griffins athletes

Students with academic drive and hockey dreams now have a better shot at achieving their goals with the help of newly established scholarships created by a generous $1.5 million donation by philanthropist Bill Comrie. The endowed donation will fund the Bill Comrie Hockey Scholarships, 12 annual scholarships of $5,000 each, which will be distributed six student athletes on both the women’s and men’s hockey teams, who play under the banner of the MacEwan University Griffins.

“Financial support is important to our athletes who give so much to our university, often forgoing part-time work to play on our teams,” explains David Atkinson, president, MacEwan University. Not only do Griffins hockey players study full-time, they dedicate as much as two hours each weekday to practice and physical training. The new scholarships will enable student athletes to focus on two priorities—academics and the game of hockey.

“These scholarships will certainly help current players,” noted Atkinson, “and they will help attract talented and competitive players in the future.”

A legacy of excellence – in sport and in business

Mr. Comrie’s lifelong connection to hockey, combined with his family’s passion for education, made supporting the university’s hockey program a perfect fit. “This gift is about creating a legacy in support of outstanding students and elite players,” he said during a news conference to announce the donation to help present and future Griffins. “It is my hope that this will lift the program to the next level and pave the way for future generations of players.”

(More after the jump) 

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Comrie is more than a hockey fan – he played as a Moose Jaw Canuck (the farm team of the Chicago Black Hawks), and for the Edmonton Oil Kings. And he has passed on his love of the game to his sons. Two of them, Paul and Mike, played in the NHL. Third son Eric recently won a gold medal with Canada’s Junior Team and signed an entry-level contract with the Winnipeg Jets. His fourth son, Ty, plays in the Western Hockey League.

While the Comrie name is well-known in hockey circles, Bill has also cemented the family’s reputation in the business world. Following the death of his father in 1968, Comrie took over the operations of The Brick, the family furniture business, and helped build it into a retail giant with annual sales of $1.5 billion. Comrie was named the 2012 Allard Chair for MacEwan University’s School of Business. During his tenure, he taught business students and faculty the importance of leadership, teamwork and personal commitment.

Comrie's significant contributions to hockey and business are mirrored in his generosity to his community. His gifts to countless organizations and foundations have improved the quality of life for many in the greater Edmonton community.

In honour of his gift to the university, a bust of Mr. Comrie will be placed in the entryway to the Christenson Centre for Sport and Wellness, and a new high-performance training facility in the centre has been named The Bill Comrie High Performance Training Zone.

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