Hitting the books is just as important as hitting the ice at the new hockey academy at Samuel Robertson Technical.
The Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District teamed up with Pacific Rim Hockey Academy to offer this specialized program that balances educational requirements with the development of hockey skills.
“The program has been really well received at the school,” said Craig Millin, owner of Pacific Rim Hockey Academy, which has operated a similar academy at Pitt Meadows Secondary School since 2004.
“The instructors are the same at both programs,” he added. “So, it’s been great to maintain that level of coaching consistency across the district.”
Forty-four students registered for the new program at SRT that began in September.
Lesley McPherson, the program’s academic teacher, wasn’t surprised by strong enrolment numbers for the inaugural year.
“RPM has done such a good job with the academy at Pitt Meadows Secondary, we weren’t surprised there would be demand for it at this end of town. Hockey is so big in our community,” she said. “I think it’s an excellent opportunity for kids to make that integral connection between academics and athletics and am pleased to see so many kids here take advantage of its availability.”
Millin noted that Pacific Rim’s hockey academies are “technical skill-driven” to help players improve at whatever level they desire to play at – from rec hockey to more elite levels.
The program also has a strong academic focus. “We’re trying to keep kids engaged in school and understand the importance of maintaining strong academics for opportunities beyond high school and minor hockey,” Millin said.
Student athletes, who earn credit for physical education and/or advanced hockey, are tested both on and off the ice to track individual improvement. They are also taught life skills and encouraged to become strong community citizens.
McPherson says the academy has garnered very positive reviews from students.
“They love that they get a chance to work on their hockey skills within the framework of the school day. They really like and respect the coaches. It’s a very positive environment, where everyone is working hard,” she said.
McPherson believes there are many benefits for the student-athlete in the academy environment. “As an athlete they are exposed to excellent instruction from coaches who are really focused on skill development. For kids to be able to do this as part of their school day twice a week, can only be hugely beneficially,” she said. “Academics are tied closely to the student’s ability to be a part of the academy. Hockey academy students are expected to work as hard in the classroom as they do on the ice; as well as be good citizens in the school. I believe that has a positive effect on school culture as well.”
Hockey academy info night
Samuel Robertson Technical Secondary, January 29, 2018 at 7 pm
Pitt Meadows Secondary, January 30, 2018 at 7 pm