Rugby Universities

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Dylan Havelock on top of his game as a student, rugby player, philanthropist

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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”

Based on that quote from teenage diarist Anne Frank, Dylan Havelock is a rich man, giving his time to become a top student, a skilled athlete and a keen philanthropist.

As the Nepean High School grad prepares to enter his final senior semester at McGill University, Havelock can reflect on a journey that has made him a high honours student, an all-star rugby player and a caring community contributor.

“I like to think of McGill rugby as having three pillars – athletic, academic and community involvement – and we strive for excellence across all three,” Havelock wrote in an email interview.

Dylan Havelock. Photo: McGill Athletics

Havelock has certainly achieved that and in return has been recognized many times from many sources. He recently was awarded a $2,000 academic excellence bursary at the virtual Quebec Foundation for Athletics Excellence gala.

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The 21-year-old software engineering student also has been named to the Dean’s Honour Roll and Principal’s Student-Athlete Academic Honour Roll. Both are based on a minimum grade-point average of 3.5. His current GPA is 3.96 out of 4.0.

In 2019, the former hockey player with a one-time dream of playing in the NHL was one of four student-athletes to win the Jean Béliveau Athletic Award for community leadership.

“To win an award in the name of such a legend of the game was a huge honour,” he added.

Winning a financial award from the Quebec Foundation for Athletics Excellence, which also included high school and CEGEP students, made it “extra special to be recognized from such a large group of athletes,” he wrote.

The Quebec foundation honoured student-athletes in seven different categories, including academic excellence, athletic prowess, leadership, and recruitment.

Here are the names, sports and schools for six winners from Gatineau: Melodie Collard, tennis, University of Nebraska high school prep; Antoine Cyr, cross-country skiing, virtual CEGEP; Anton Jacobs-Webb, parahockey, Concordia University; Megan Kronwald, hockey, CEGEP André Laurendeau; Maelle Tournier, volleyball, CEGEP de l’Outaouais; and Audrey Leduc, track and field, Université Laval.

“It’s so special to be recognized,” Havelock continued. “A lot of people see the work that gets put in on the field and in the gym, but there are a lot of long hours off the field spent studying for exams and completing assignments.”

As well as being a high-achieving student, Havelock has the unique position as co-president of the rugby team and is responsible for off-field team activities, including fundraisers, community outreach and social events.

Unlike past years, the team’s largest fundraisers this fall were done virtually: RBC Race for the Kids, which raised more than $5,000 for CHU Sainte-Justine Mother-Child University Hospital, and Movember, which received a record $7,150.

“Academics and community are equally important to us. We take pride in consistently having an average team GPA in the top three of all McGill varsity teams,” Havelock wrote.

“Our goal is not only to develop elite student-athletes, but also well-rounded individuals. Getting involved in outreach programs allows us to build that type of character in our players, while making a positive impact in our community.

“Since we weren’t able to be together as a team on the field, it was incredible to see our team come together off the field and raise a considerable amount of money for two great causes.”

The COVID-19 pandemic sadly eliminated his final year as a McGill Redbird rugby player. But in his three previous seasons, he contributed to three consecutive 5-1, second-place, RSEQ regular seasons and was an all-star wing in 2019.

McGill lost the 2019 league final, which made it “definitely tough to leave McGill without a RSEQ championship. So to not have that opportunity for redemption after last year’s finish is a tough way to end my McGill rugby career.”

After the Christmas break, Havelock will complete his software engineering studies through virtual classes. And he definitely misses “the in-person interaction that a traditional classroom offers. It’s more difficult to stay motivated.”

Discipline and extra effort have given Havelock a life full of riches.

“I’ve had to get good at planning out, when I am going to study for exams and complete assignments around training and game days,” he added.

“Then during those study sessions, I need to make sure I stay focused and not get distracted or off track. Staying disciplined allows me to have time to play rugby, while staying on top of my studies.”

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a prosperous 2021. Take care. Stay Positive. Test Negative.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for over 47 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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