Rookie defenseman Jeff Rayman won scholastic player of the year 2013-2014 for the Spokane Chiefs Western Hockey league (WHL). A 17-year-old from Fernie, Rayman completed courses in Advanced Placement Calculus and college prep English plus a university level course in psychology. On the ice Rayman has appeared in 33 games, scoring a goal and two assists.
With 72 games in the season, 36 were away from Spokane so his schooling was managed to be set it up based on the hockey schedule. “I’ve always prided myself with my academics and I wasn’t going to let that change,” said Rayman. With 92 percent in human biology and 90 per cent in English, he said Calculus was his weakest with 70 per cent. “If you don’t pay attention in Calculus, you’ll get left behind,” he said. Rayman went to school from 8 am to 11 am with a study hall one evening a week. He said the teachers understood the travelling demands and helped create a balance between school and games away.
Rayman’s first year away from home was made easier by having what he described as probably the best billet family. “They made it so I wasn’t homesick. There was always a meal on the table and they were always there for me.”
Rayman has be playing hockey since he was five years old. “It’s always been a passion. I like playing at a competitive level; the intensity and the exhilaration keeps me coming back for more.”
Last year was his draft year. Training with former NHL hockey player Jason Krog last summer really pushed him and will do so again this summer. For the near future Rayman would like to continue playing with the Chiefs until he is 20 and hopes to get a pro contract.
Now back home in Fernie, Rayman is looking forward to graduating in June. “Grade 12 went by in a blur; I had to do a double take to look how fast it has gone by. It seems like yesterday I stepped in the doors [of Fernie Secondary School] in Grade 7.”