A trio with roots in the Western Hockey League will have their names immortalized by the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in May 2019.
Jim Donlevy, who managed the WHL’s league-wide education program for more than 20 years as Director of Education Services, WHL Alumni Mike Rogers, and Rob Kerr, the Calgary Hitmen’s assistant manager, Business Operations, will all be inducted as part of the Class of 2019 during the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame at the Induction Banquet, which will take place May 31, 2019.
As head of the WHL Education program since 1992, Jim has been instrumental in the WHL’s remarkable growth in the academic area both at the high school and post-secondary levels. He played a key role in the adoption of league-wide education policies and procedures which have enabled WHL student athletes to accomplish their academic goals while playing hockey at the highest level of the Canadian system.
Mr. Donlevy also played an integral role in the establishment of the WHL Scholarship program which is recognized as one of the most comprehensive of its kind in North America.
“For over 20 years, Jim was instrumental in helping the Western Hockey League reach our goal of establishing the WHL Education and Scholarship program as the most comprehensive program of its kind in North America,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Jim’s passion and dedication to assisting our players in achieving their academic goals was remarkable and it is only fitting that he will be inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.”
On May 20, 2013, Donlevy was named that year’s recipient of the WHL Governors Award. The Award was presented to Mr. Donlevy at a reception in Saskatoon, Sask. by WHL Chairman of the Board Bruce Hamilton on behalf of the WHL Board of Governors.
The number of WHL Scholarships awarded during the fall academic semester has continued to trend upwards for 10 consecutive years. During the fall academic semester for 2009-10, a total of 253 WHL Scholarships were awarded. With 386 WHL Scholarships awarded for the fall semester of the 2018-19 academic year, this represents an increase of 52.6 per cent in activations over the past 10 years.
“Jim’s contributions towards the development of the WHL Scholarship program remain invaluable to this day,” said Greg Gardner, WHL Director of Operations & Education Services, and a graduate of the WHL Scholarship. “I have had the privilege of getting to know Jim through my time playing in the WHL, accessing the WHL Scholarship and finally in working alongside him as I began my career with the WHL Office.
“I can’t think of a more deserving individual for induction into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. On behalf of myself and all WHL Alumni who have accessed the WHL Scholarship, congratulations and thank you.”
Also named to the induction class was WHL Alumni Mike Rogers. A product of Calgary, Alta, Rogers joined the Calgary Centennials ahead of the 1971-72 WHL Regular Season. Over the course of three seasons with the Centennials, Rogers recorded 309 points (148G-161A) in 199 WHL regular season games. During the 1973-74 season, Rogers was named the recipient of the Brad Hornug Trophy as the WHL’s Most Sportsmanlike Player.
Rogers ranked third in WHL scoring during the 1973-74 WHL Regular Season, posting 140 points (67G-73A). The season before, Rogers had finished in a tie for ninth in league scoring with 112 points (54G-58A). Rogers was selected by the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers in the National Hockey League Draft and WHA Amateur Draft in 1974. Rogers would go on to play for the Oilers and New England Whalers with the World Hockey Association between 1974 and 1979, collecting 367 points (145G-222A) in 396 games.
As the Whalers moved to the NHL and became the Hartford Whalers, so to did Rogers, who’d go on to play 484 NHL games with the Whalers and New York Rangers, before closing out his professional hockey career with the Oilers in the 1985-86 season. Rogers’ NHL totals saw him produce 519 points (202G-317A).
Closing out the trio of inductees is Kerr. After spending the past 15 years with Sportsnet, 12 of those as an on-air host at Sportsnet 960-The Fan, Kerr joined the Hitmen’s Business Operations department.
“Rob brings a passion for community, giving back to the city he lives in,” said Hitmen Vice President and Alternate Governor Mike Moore at the time of the hire.
In addition to his connection to the Alberta sports scene through his work in media, Kerr has taken on several volunteer roles to further enrich the sporting experience of others in Alberta. Kerr has served as an ambassador for KidSport and HEROSHockey while also sitting on the board of Sport Calgary, Comrie’s Sports Equipment Bank, and the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame. He’s also played a role as an organizer for the Hockey Inspires Leadership Day.