The NELS VENERUS HOCKEY SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION was established in April of 2011 in memory of Nels Venerus. The mission of the Foundation is: to enrich the lives of Spokane area youth hockey players by providing assistance in times of financial adversity. In doing this, the Foundation will ensure Nels’ legacy of giving, and his love for Hockey, will continue in our community.

NELS VENERUS HOCKEY SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION is a U.S. IRS code section 501(c)(3) Non-profit.


In Memoriam:

Nels Venerus was born in Italy and immigrated with his family to Ontario when he was 5 years of age. Upon his arrival in Canada, he started playing hockey and fell in love with the game. However, Nels came from very modest means. It was only because of the financial support provided to him by his community that he was able to develop his skills as a young hockey player and pursue his dream of hockey. Nels never forgot that help and this became a driving force in his life. Starting in childhood, Nels devoted his life not only to the game of hockey but in helping those less fortunate.

Nels became one of the top youth players in Ontario and was scouted by professional teams at a young age. Nels played junior and professional hockey all over North America and finished his career in Spokane. While in Spokane, he played for the Spokane Flyers who were Allen Cup Champions and the Spokane Chiefs Hockey Club.

After his professional playing days were over, Nels remained connected to the Spokane hockey community as a player with the Spokane Oldtimers Hockey Association and as a coach in the Spokane American Youth Hockey Association. He also gave his time selflessly as a fundraiser and organizer for anything related to hockey. His entire life revolved around the game of hockey and the people associated with the game. His closest friends were “hockey people”. He truly believed thatthese relationships and the game of hockey were the most rewarding things in his life.

Nels’ life ended too early in 2011. Given his background, it is not surprising that Nels wanted to give back to the local hockey community. He wanted to ensure that any player in Spokane would be able to play, even if there was economic hardship. The Nels Venerus Hockey Scholarship Foundation was born out of the desire to assist others as Nels, himself, had been helped.


Scholarship and Grant Awards:


The Nels Venerus Hockey Scholarship Foundation is fulfilling its mission by building an endowment from which scholarships and grants will be distributed through an application process. The Foundation will consider a wide variety of circumstances in determining awardees including such things as family situations, medical emergencies, educational need, and other situations resulting in financial adversity.


How to Apply:

There are two ways of applying for financial support from the Nels Venerus Hockey Scholarship Foundation.

  • The James Clancy Educational Scholarship Fund provides traditional post-secondary educational scholarships.
  • The Nels Venerus Hockey Grant fund provides funding for a wide range of hockey-related expenses.

Both applications can be accessed via the links found at the top of this page.

For more information, please contact:

Nels enjoyed hitting the slopes with family and friends.