According to MLive’s Patrick Nothaft, Western Michigan University will earn his college diploma during this Saturday’s summer commencement ceremony:
It would have been easy for a person in DeKeyser’s shoes to scoff at the thought of obtaining an undergraduate degree after signing a two-year, $4.375-million deal with the Wings in 2014, but once he adjusted to life as a pro hockey player, he found enough down time to explore taking classes through WMU’s Extended University Programs, which integrates prior coursework from almost any major into a bachelor’s degree in university studies.
“I think it was one of those things where I had been in the league for a few years and had established myself a little bit as an NHLer, and I didn’t have any kids at the time or anything like that, and all I was doing was focusing on training for hockey and skating in the summers and stuff, and so I thought it would be a good time to start it back up,” he said. “On the road when we travel, we have a little bit of down time in the hotel or on the plane rides and stuff like that, so it actually gave me something to do and kept me busy while I was away from home.”
While most students have the ability to meet with their classmates or professors for study groups or help with assignments, the people surrounding DeKeyser weren’t as well-versed in college coursework, and that challenged him, particularly in a math class that occupied his time on a nightly basis during the spring semester.
“There were a few times where it was tough, and it was getting in late, 3 a.m. on the road or something like that, and then the next day we’d have a practice, and then I’d have to do some homework,” he said. “It was definitely different than what I was used to when I started in the NHL.
“I didn’t have anything else going on, I could just focus on hockey, but I had to keep tabs on my schooling, so it was definitely different, but overall I liked it. I enjoyed learning and stuff like that.”