California Rubber

California’s and Nevada’s Authoritative Voice of Hockey

LAKHSHL launches new program honoring academic excellence


The L.A. Kings High School Hockey League (LAKHSHL) is taking some new measures this season to encourage academic success and reward the players for their achievements in the classroom.

Realizing that what its student-athletes learn in school is just as important – if not more so – than what they learn on the ice, the league has implemented a program to recognize students who maintain a high grade-point average as well as continuing its Student-Athlete of the Month award.


Emma Tani, the Kings’ hockey development coordinator of leagues and rinks, has placed a heavy emphasis on academics within the high school league since joining the organization. Tani played hockey at Trinity College in Connecticut after growing up in Southern California and playing her high school hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Minnesota.

“As a former college hockey player, I understand the importance of education and the challenges of balancing hockey and school, which is why I have decided to launch the Royal Recognition program,” Tani said.

The program is new this season and recognizes players who receive a GPA of 3.8 or better. Each player will receive a helmet sticker and will be acknowledged on the LAKHSHL website, as well as on Fox Sports West.

The Student-Athlete of the Month program, which started during the league’s inaugural 2015-16 season, has the award recipient each month receiving two tickets to a Kings game and being recognized on Fox Sports West.

recognitionDevon Dunn, a senior at John Burroughs High School who is in his third season playing for the Burbank Cougars, was selected Student-Athlete of the Month for October.

A recent progress report of Dunn’s showed no grade worse that a B+ in his six classes, which included not only English and economics, but broadcast journalism and digital media. He said he had always been a good student, but never really got excited about school until getting the chance to explore video editing and production last year.

“I fell in love with the whole film world after taking a digital media class last year,” Dunn said. “I’m taking the advanced version of that class now and added the broadcast journalism class, which is basically producing our morning TV news program.

“It’s all I ever want to do now.”

Dunn said he and some classmates have developed a segment for the morning news in which they try out different activities offered at the school. One week, they were testing their skills at cheerleading and another week, they were stretching their vocal chords with the choir. He has learned not only how to operate all the video and audio equipment necessary to produce professional video packages, but also video editing skills.

He said he’d like to play junior hockey after high school and then enroll in film school at Columbia College Hollywood, with the goal of working in film production or TV news. In the short term, he’s exploring summer internships in the video production and editing world.

“Being awarded as the Student-Athlete of the Month is really an honor,” Dunn said. “It really shows that I’ve improved and am starting to take things really seriously as I try to figure out what I want to do for a career.”

Added Tani: “The student we select each month not only has good grades, but also demonstrates leadership on and off the ice. We ask players who are interested to send in a copy of their progress report as well as a paragraph about why they should be selected. Devon’s submission really stood out to me, not because of his GPA, which was excellent, but because of his nuanced appreciation for his classes.

“It appears that Devon has not only grown as a student, but also as a person.”

— Greg Ball

(Jan. 9, 2018)

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