Approximately 50 people jammed the Howe Sound Secondary School (HSSS) library on Thursday (Jan. 16) to learn more about a proposed hockey academy coming to the school starting next September.
Based on attendance and early returns, the interest appears to be there, but parents at the meeting also expressed a desire to see a hockey academy come to Don Ross Secondary School (DRSS).
Several parents wanted the program to start at DRSS and Peter Jory, Sea to Sky School District director of instruction for technology and innovation, said it’s something he will try to push forward if there’s enough parent interest. Jory also hinted that HSSS is looking at bringing a mountain biking academy as soon as this September.
As far as the hockey academy goes, Craig Millin from the Pacific Rim Hockey Academy (PRHA) laid out the entire program, including costs, the timeline and what will occur during the camps. Millin pointed out that his group has operated successful hockey academies in B.C. for the past 11 years.
“We’ve been created by the academic, not the athletic environment,” he said. “We cover the province in large and small communities and they’re all run at the same pace at the same time.”
Millin said the academy will be available to all boys and girls in Grades 10 to 12 who are HSSS students as of the 2014-’15 year. The program includes three on-ice sessions a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and two off-ice sessions a week (Tuesday and Thursday) that includes sport specific training, health, fitness and nutrition education and class time that consists of guest speakers, leadership education and other special events.
He said students must maintain good grades to remain a part of the program and that those of all skill levels are welcome to join the camp. Students will receive eight credits upon successful completion of the program and those can be used as physical education credits.
The program will run first semester in 2014-’15 or from September to January and has a total cost of $1,220. Millin said class sizes consist of 20 to 25 students and there will be four staff on the ice at all times, including an academic teacher present.
Players will also play hockey in their respective associations, unlike other hockey academies like the Yale Hockey Academy in Vancouver or the Pursuit of Excellence in Kelowna.
“We support local hockey associations and help make them stronger by improving players’ skills,” he said. “And you don’t need to spend the kind of money you do at those academies.”
After the presentation, Millin took questions from the audience and several of the queries were from parents wanting the hockey academy to come to DRSS and even to local elementary schools.
“If there’s enough interest for an academy at DRSS, we will move forward with the process,” Jory said, noting that he plans to email out a survey to parents to gauge interest in the coming weeks. “Letting the school board know about this interest and moving forward is the next step and looking around this room it’s a positive thing.”
HSSS principal Dr. Christine Perkins said she was happy with the show of interest by local parents.
“We’re thrilled with the turnout tonight and it’s more than we expected,” she said.
Perkins said there’s interest in the hockey academy from international students as well and noted that applications were being accepted starting Friday (Jan. 17). Millin also said a hockey academy is planned for Whistler and Pemberton students starting next September, with arena details still needing to be ironed out in Whistler.
The academies are all subject to student interest and are pending school board approval. It’s expected that the school board will discuss the academies at its next meeting in February.
Those interested in the hockey academy can find more information and instructions to register at www.rpmhockey.com.