By Scott Billeck
Not only has a Manitoban been named the Central Hockey League’s Man of the Year for the 2012-13 season, his team is headed to the league championship series.
Travis Wight, a native of Fannystelle, was named the recipient of the award on March 19. The award is ‘presented annually to the Central Hockey League player adjudged to have best exemplified strong leadership qualities on and off the ice, while making significant and noteworthy humanitarian contributions to his community’.
“One of the biggest things I was doing was I was finishing up my student teaching from when I was playing my college hockey at the University of Maine. I was teaching Phys. Ed as a student teacher, so I was around kids every day,” says Wight.
The award means a lot to him, an honor he wasn’t expecting and admittedly was a little surprising.
“First of all it was a surprise…it was a really big honour for me,” he said. You don’t do these things to be recognized, but when you are recognized, you feel good about it. But at the same time, no one does stuff in the community to be recognized, you do it because it is the right thing to do.”
The 5-foot-10, 194 pound defencemen has played for the Wichita Thunder of the CHL for the past three seasons. Before that he attended in the University of Maine, playing college hockey before moving onto the ECHL and the Idaho Steelheads. Before his professional career, Wight played two years for the Portage Terriers of the MJHL.
He credits his time playing minor hockey in Manitoba as a crucial point in his development.
“We had a really tight knit group of guys then, and they are still my buddies today,” he said. “It was a really good small town thing. We had pretty competitive teams…you miss those days, you would go everywhere in the province.”
The 30-year old would like to stick with hockey for another year or so. He is also an aspiring teacher, holding a masters degree in education as well as a kinesiology degree. He knows that when hockey is over his other passion will take the lead.
“I would like to teach, and coach as well, most of the time those things go hand-in-hand,” he said. “So as a profession, I will most definitely be a teacher when I am done playing hockey.”
Wight is not done yet though.
His team is gearing up for the CHL final against the Allen Americans, a team they finished just one point adrift in the regular season.
“It’s going to be a tough series…you like to see the top teams going at it,” he said. “If we do play our game which we have been through the last two rounds then I think we have a great shot, a great opportunity to bring home a championship.”
Wichita goes to war with the Allen Americans in Game 1 of the 2013 Ray Miron President’s Cup finals starting Tuesday, April 30th in Allen, TX.