The Hockey Canada Skills Academy Program is a national initiative that evolved from the 1999 Molson Open Ice Summit on player development. Recommendation #10 tasked Hockey Canada with investigating ways to support the design and delivery of a school based program that would make use of facilities during regular school hours.
The 1999-2000 hockey season saw the Canadian Hockey Association (now known as Hockey Canada) spend a considerable amount of resources researching the sport school concept in Canada and across Europe. The goal was to learn about the sport schools across the world in order to develop a national program that would best suit the needs of the Canadian minor hockey system and its members. Dave King and Bjorn Kinding were commissioned by the CHA in 2000 to develop what is now known as the Hockey Canada Skills Academy (HCSA). The 2000-2001 hockey season marked the first year of operation for the Skills Academy program with two programs in Alberta. The program has since grown to 65 programs encompassing 80 schools nation wide for the upcoming 2007-2008 season. Collaboration between Hockey Canada, its 13 member branches, local minor hockey associations, local schools, and municipal school boards has allowed the Hockey Canada Skills Academy Program to grow into a second mainstream player development program mirroring the minor hockey club team system in Canada.
In order to operate a Hockey Canada Skills Academy one must apply to Hockey Canada for approval as a HCSA licensed program. Approved hockey academies must meet all HCSA licensee criteria and match the operational mandate and philosophy as set out by Hockey Canada and its member branches. Each application will be judged by the HCSA national board and applicable Hockey Canada Branch. In order to ensure applications are approved, it is important to demonstrate your partnership with your local school, school board, and minor hockey association; as well as outline a sound player development plan.
Becoming a licensee of the Hockey Canada Skills Academy program comes with many benefits. A sample of products and services that are offered to licensed academies include, but are not limited to:
• Use of the HCSA Logo
• HCSA on and off ice skill development guide
• Hockey Canada training videos
• Access to testing equipment
• Medical and liability insurance
• Annual instructor professional development seminar
Hockey Canada recently hosted 25 HCSA instructors at the University of Guelph for the annual Eastern Canada Skills Academy Seminar. Delegates from across the country gathered to participate in classroom sessions, on-ice sessions, and share their best practices with fellow academy instructors. This year’s seminar was highlighted by guest presenters Cheryl Pounder and Sean Skinner. Approximately 60 academy delegates will gather in Calgary from August 7-10, 2007 for the Western Canada Skills Academy Seminar.
If you are interested in more information regarding the Hockey Canada Skills Academy Program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.