Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League announced today the Kamloops Blazers as the recipient of the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy (WHL Scholastic Team of the Year).
The WHL Scholastic Team of the Year Award was renamed in honour of Jim Donlevy, long-time WHL Director, Education Services, who passed away in August 2019 following a courageous battle with cancer. This marks the first occasion on which the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy will be presented to a WHL Club since its dedication.
The Blazers continue to be leaders in the classroom among WHL member Clubs, guaranteeing that student athletes meet and exceed their academic potential consistent with the WHL Education Standards and Policies. They commit to ensuring that their policies and practices enhance educational opportunities for all players.
Student athletes with the Blazers attend Valleyview Secondary School. This year, eight players completed 33 core courses with an average of 90.8 percent and 49 overall courses with an average of 93.6 percent. In January, three of the Blazers graduated high school early.
The academic standing of the Blazer players at Valleyview Secondary School continues to be a source of pride for the Blazers organization, community and the school. In the past 17 years, the Blazers have maintained a 100 percent high-school graduation rate.
With a focus on educational achievement in the post-secondary sphere, four members of the Blazers also enrolled at courses at Thompson Rivers University. Their marks are consistent with the Club’s academic expectations, with the average exceeding 73 percent for this group of students. Four other Blazer students were enrolled in online university courses offered through the WHL partnership with Athabasca University to meet their academic goals.
Named in honour of the aforementioned Donlevy, the WHL Scholastic Team of the Year Award is presented annually to the WHL member Club that achieves the highest overall academic performance during the regular season.
Born in McLennan, Alta., Donlevy was instrumental in the creation and continued success of the WHL Scholarship program – the largest privately-funded amateur sports scholarship program in Canada, and one of the most comprehensive education programs for hockey in the world today. Since the establishment of the WHL Scholarship in 1993-94, over 6,400 scholarships have been accessed, totaling an investment of over $28 million by WHL Clubs.
Education was always paramount to Donlevy. For two years he served as the School Liaison within the Registrar’s Office at the University of Alberta. This eventually led him to his role as Director, Education Services, with the WHL in 1992.
Along with WHL ownership and past WHL President Ed Chynoweth, Donlevy played a leading role in the establishment of league-wide education policies. This has allowed WHL players the opportunity to prioritize and accomplish academic goals while continuing to play hockey at the highest level in the Canadian development system.
In May 2013, Donlevy was presented with the WHL Governors Award – recognition for his outstanding achievements and service towards the growth and development of the WHL.
Winners of the Jim Donlevy Memorial Trophy / WHL Scholastic Team of the Year Award (since 2000):
2018-19: Portland Winterhawks
2017-18: Saskatoon Blades
2016-17: Victoria Royals
2015-16: Spokane Chiefs
2014-15: Kamloops Blazers
2013-14: Calgary Hitmen
2012-13: Portland Winterhawks
2011-12: Edmonton Oil Kings
2010-11: Swift Current Broncos
2009-10: Tri-City Americans
2008-09: Prince Albert Raiders
2007-08: Chilliwack Bruins
2006-07: Kamloops Blazers
2005-06: Kootenay ICE
2004-05: Vancouver Giants
2003-04: Portland Winterhawks
2002-03: Prince Albert Raiders
2001-02: Portland Winterhawks
2000-01: Prince Albert Raiders/Portland Winterhawks
1999-00: Portland Winterhawks
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.