WHL announces Academic Spotlight for December


Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today the Academic Spotlight for December, featuring the Central Division. Student athletes recognized this month for their academic achievements include forward Adam Kydd of the Calgary Hitmen, forward Jake Neighbours of the Edmonton Oil Kings, forward Noah Boyko of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, defenceman Dru Krebs of the Medicine Hat Tigers, forward Dallon Melin of the Red Deer Rebels, and defenceman Hendrik De Klerk of the Swift Current Broncos.

During the months of November through February, each of the WHL’s 22 member Clubs will name a student-athlete that has achieved significant academic results as selected by the Club. Each month, one WHL Division will have their players celebrated in the Academic Spotlight:

Academic Spotlight Schedule
November – East Division
December – Central Division
January – U.S. Division
February – B.C. Division

WHL players recognized as Academic Achievers are observed as those striving to reach their full potential in their educational programs while balancing WHL commitments.


Adam Kydd, Calgary Hitmen: Rookie forward Adam Kydd, a 17-year-old product of Regina, Sask., is taking his learning to new heights at the Edge School. Succeeding academically in English and Calculus, Kydd has become involved with his local community as well.

“Kydd has served his community by contributing to the Ever Active Resiliency Summit,” said Hitmen Academic Advisor Bernie Bajnok. “He has shown academic leadership in the classroom and in the sporting world, serving as an Equipment Fitter for Super Heroes Equipment Fit as well as taking on a role with the Hockey Calgary Leadership day.”

Kydd represented the Hitmen in his hometown at the 2019 WHL Prairie Classic, helping his Hitmen earn an overtime victory in the third-ever outdoor game in WHL history. Through 33 games this season, Kydd has recorded 10 points (5G-5A).


Jake Neighbours, Edmonton Oil Kings: Forward Jake Neighbours, a 17-year-old product of Airdrie, Alta., is committed to his educational goals at Salisbury Composite High School. Enrolled in Math, Social Studies, and Leadership courses, Neighbours is furthering his academic pursuits while also succeeding on the ice.

“While playing a leading role on the ice, Jake is still committed to his academic pursuits,” said Oil Kings Academic Advisor Sharon Sereda. “He is setting a strong educational example for other players with the Oil Kings.”

With the league-leading Oil Kings, Neighbours ranks second in team scoring with 46 points (15G-31A) through 44 games this season, also tying him for 17th in league scoring. Neighbours has also garnered considerable interest for the 2020 NHL Draft and was recently ranked 30th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting on their midterm rankings.


Noah Boyko, Lethbridge Hurricanes:
The second-year forward is a product of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. and is focused on his academic achievements while enrolled at Chinook High School. Taking courses in English, Social Studies, Special Projects, and Work Experience, Boyko is balancing his responsibilities in the classroom and with his teammates on the ice.

“From his first days as a rookie, Noah has worked very hard under minimal supervision to maintain a top honours average,” said Hurricanes Academic Advisor Jim Stewart. “Not only has he achieved top grades, but he has modelled excellent academic and personal conduct in the school and with his teammates.”

Boyko has already established career-high totals in all three major offensive categories this season, posting 25 points (10G-15A) in 42 games. He has also earned recognition by NHL Central Scouting on their midterm rankings for the 2020 NHL Draft, where he was ranked 180th among North American skaters.


Dru Krebs, Medicine Hat Tigers: Rookie defenceman Dru Krebs, a product of Okotoks, Alta., is enrolled at Medicine Hat High School to continue his pursuit of his educational goals. Taking courses in Math and Chemistry, Krebs is setting a strong example in the classroom for his teammates.

“For Dru his schooling is very important to him and it shows in the dedication he puts into it,” said Tigers Academic Advisor Gary McDougall. “With our weekly study hall sessions he is very focused on the task at hand, and uses these sessions from start to finish achieving his academic goals.”

The youngest of the three Krebs brothers currently playing in the WHL, Dru has recorded 11 points (3G-8A) in 37 games this season.


Dallon Melin, Red Deer Rebels: Forward Dallon Melin is a product of Czar, Alta. and has taken on a larger role with the team’s on-ice performance while also keeping up with his academic responsibilities. Enrolled in online courses through St. Gabriel Online School, the 17-year-old Melin recently completed his first semester of Grade 12, earning top marks in Biology and English.

“With his positive, pleasant, and hard-working attitude, he is a great example of a dedicated hockey player both on the ice and in school,” said Rebels Academic Advisor Teresa Jaeger. “He is a conscientious student who, along with managing a hectic game and training schedule, maintains a focus and commitment to academic excellence.”

On a young Rebels team, Melin is contributing more in his second season. The forward has posted 11 points (5G-6A), including a game-winning goal, in 41 games this season.


Hendrik De Klerk, Swift Current Broncos: A 17-year-old product of Swift Current, Sask., defenceman Hendrik De Klerk is enrolled at Swift Current Comprehensive High School. The defenceman is enrolled in Pre-Calculus, Chemistry, and English Language Arts, furthering his academic pursuits.

“Hendrik is a mature and dedicated student with a strong work ethic, which is helping him balance the expectations of completing a heavy course load and playing hockey at this level,” said Broncos Academic Advisor Tracey Martin.

Acquired by his hometown Broncos in August 2019, De Klerk has played a key role on the team’s blue line this season. In 38 games, he has tallied 12 points (2G-10A), including one game-winning goal.

WHL Academic Achievers – December

Club Nominee School / Institution
Brandon Jake Chiasson Crocus Plains Regional Secondary School
Everett Braden Holt Everett High School
Kamloops Matthew Seminoff Valleyview Secondary School
Kelowna Elias Carmichael Kelowna Secondary School
Moose Jaw Braden Miller Vanier Collegiate Institute
Portland Seth Jarvis Sunset High School
Prince Albert Jakob Brook Carlton Comprehensive High School
Prince George Nikita Krivokrasov Prince George Secondary School
Regina Makai Mitchell Michael A. Riffel Catholic High School
Saskatoon Charlie Wright City Park Collegiate
Seattle Mekai Sanders Kentwood High School
Spokane Bear Hughes Immaculate Conception Academy
Tri-City Tom Cadieux Kamiakin High School
Vancouver Cole Shepard South Delta Secondary School
Victoria Riley Gannon Victoria High School
Winnipeg Connor McClennon Shaftesbury High School

Fully funded by WHL member Clubs, all current WHL players are encouraged to enroll in post-secondary courses. This season, over 160 current players are taking post-secondary courses while playing in the WHL. The financial assistance received for post-secondary studies while playing does not impact on the WHL Scholarship benefits a WHL player is entitled to upon graduating from the League.

Every player who plays in the WHL is eligible to receive the WHL Scholarship. For every season a player plays in the WHL, they receive a guaranteed, full-year WHL Scholarship, including tuition, textbooks and compulsory fees to a post-secondary institution of their choice. The WHL Scholarship is a fully-guaranteed academic scholarship with no requirement to play university hockey to qualify.

About the Western Hockey League
Regarded as the world’s finest development league for junior hockey players, the Western Hockey League (WHL) head office is based in Calgary, Alberta. The WHL consists of 22 member Clubs with 17 located in Western Canada and five in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. A member of the Canadian Hockey League, the WHL has been a leading supplier of talent for the National Hockey League for over 50 years. The WHL is also the leading provider of hockey scholarships with over 350 graduates each year receiving WHL Scholarships to pursue a post-secondary education of their choice. Each season, WHL players also form the nucleus of Canada’s National Junior Hockey Team.

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