In an ongoing tribute to the late Dan Snyder, three young athletes from the townships were chosen for this year’s eponymous scholarship. The award, given out each year, goes to the three individuals best exemplifying the spirit of Snyder’s athletic pursuits, recognizing their achievements both on and off the field.
Meeting for a reception Tuesday evening at the home Graham and LuAnn Snyder, the winners of the scholarship include the former captain of the Elmira Sugar Kings, Jeff Jordan; Elmira hockey star and youth coach Jaimee MacDonald; and a former captain of the EDSS football and basketball teams, Jacob Fulcher.
For Jaimee MacDonald, who will be attending Laurentian University in the fall and playing for the school’s hockey team, being compared to the iconic local athlete was humbling.
“I was pretty excited,” she said. “It’s a pretty big honour. Going to Riverside [Public School] there’s always the Dan Snyder mural in the hall there, and I’ve always heard about his story and how determined of an athlete he was. It’s just pretty cool to follow in those footsteps and win the scholarship.”
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Playing for the Waterloo Ravens and most recently for the Cambridge Rivulettes, which last season made the Provincial Women’s Hockey League final four championship, MacDonald is a force on the ice.
But it’s her work outside the arena as a coach of various youth sports that distinguishes her as well. With the support of the scholarship, MacDonald will be studying concurrent education at Laurentian, and hopes to become a science and gym teacher when she graduates.
Alongside MacDonald was the former captain of the Elmira Sugar Kings Jeff Jordan. Having played on the local hockey team for the last three seasons, and leading the team to Sutherland Cup championship in 2016-17, Jordan seemed like a natural choice for the athletics scholarship.
Still, Jordan says he was not expecting to be chosen for the award.
“When I heard that I got it I was pretty excited and honoured to see that all my hard work on the ice and then also in school has paid off,” said Jordan, who is studying economics at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Jordan has since graduated from the Sugar Kings, but looks fondly back on his time spent with the team.
“It was something that’s probably going to be one of the best experiences of my life. I got the chance to win a championship – you can’t ask for anything else,” he said. “To play three years for such a great organization was a huge honour, and to be named captain in my second year was even more of an honour. Yeah, I’m going to miss it for sure.”
The third scholarship winner was Jacob Fulcher, who was chosen for his prowess in sports out of the arena. Attending the University of Waterloo and playing for the school’s football team, Fulcher has captained for the EDSS football and basketball teams, as well as the Region of Waterloo Predators.
“It feels great. It came as a bit of a surprise, to be honest. I definitely appreciate it and appreciate what it represents, and how the foundation has chosen to support young athletes in the area,” said Fulcher.
He said he is passionate about supporting young athletes in the townships excel in all sports, including in his sport of football.
“I want see more guys and girls come out with athletic opportunities, and just kind of show that Elmira is the athletic power that it can be – that it can definitely be. It’s a great town, it’s a great community, and a lot of people that are brought up there and in the surrounding area end up with great values and they work hard,” he said.
“I’d like to come back one day and help coach in Elmira, because there’s a lot of talented kids from that area that don’t get the football recognition that the bigger towns do, specifically. There hasn’t been as many guys out of that town playing next level ball, and there’s a lot of guys that can.”
The Dan Snyder Memorial Scholarship Fund was created in 2003 after the passing of Snyder in a car accident. The scholarship recipient are selected each year by a committee that includes the Snyder family.