Representatives from the Fellowes High School Hockey Skills program. From left: Hockey Skills Academy instructor Kevin Gravel, students Brad Lapierre, Brad Schauer, Colton Kuehl and Principal Bryan Baird made a presentation to the RCDSB in 2012.
Two of Renfrew County District School Board's (RCDSB) secondary schools partnered with Hockey Canada
and Pembroke Minor Hockey
to run a Hockey Skills Academy during the 2011-2012 school year.
Fellowes High School and Mackenzie Community School are home to one of about 80 Hockey Canada Skills Academies across the country and 20 in Ontario alone.
Twenty-eight students enrolled in the program with a wide variety of hockey backgrounds.
The Hockey Skills Academy combines on-ice training and classroom learning with an individualized fitness component. The on-ice curriculum and off-ice training align with the Healthy Active Living curriculum, allowing schools to offer this course for credit. Students receive on-ice instruction coupled with off-ice fitness, health and nutrition training specifically designed to meet the needs of each individual.
"A couple of years ago we came here with a mission to partner with Hockey Canada," Fellowes Principal, Bryan Baird, told the Renfrew County District School Board trustees during a February meeting. "It's been an overwhelming success. We're continually pulling in kids because it's unique. It's a great way to learn more about hockey."
The drills and routines allow for differentiated instruction so all skill levels can participate with a focus on individual improvement.
In the classroom, academy students study the history of hockey, video analysis, nutrition, first aid, CPR, personal safety and injury prevention. The students also organized a fundraiser to raise funds for free ice time at the Pembroke Memorial Centre for Highview Public School students.
"Kids don't skip class ever," said Baird. "If you are well enough to be on the ice, you are well enough to be at math class. You really see growth and maturity."
The following are comments from past Hockey Skills Academy participants:
"I heard about it and wanted to come right away." - Brad Lapierre, RCDSB student
"It's been a great leadership opportunity and experience for me. I'd recommend it to anyone." - Colton Kuehl, RCDSB student, AAA Ottawa Valley Titans, drafted by the Gloucester Rangers
"I couldn't stop or skate backwards. I learned a lot, we trained hard, and we had fun." - Brad Schauer, RCDSB student