Every year we start off with a lesson in goal-setting and from there we focus on a couple of goals each month. Without goals or focus student athletes flounder and when you work explicitly on skills for 10 months students need to be focused on the various tasks that are present.
For most young players, the vision of playing in the NHL is in the back of their minds. So, why not strive for that goal? We don’t say that you won’t make it – stealing dreams is not what we are about.
Rewind 10 years, one of our players came into the academy in September for their first lesson on goal-setting and as expected one of his goals was to play in the NHL. This player was a bit above average in ability and was motivated but his skating skills needed to be addressed first, followed by stickhandling, passing, shooting and checking. For two years our instructors worked with him and encouraged him, he was the kind of motivated player instructors love.
Colton Sissons left the academy for major midget hockey in B.C., followed by a shift to the Western Hockey League to Kelowna and from there he was drafted and is now playing in the NHL. It was a slow process with stops in the AHL and he went through long nights on the bench and healthy scratches. Always motivated, he was determined to make that pinnacle in hockey circles and alas with injuries and some good performances in the AHL, he managed to break into the Nashville Predators line-up. Colton has taken full advantage of his opportunity and by embracing the fourth line, third line and second line, he showed he can contribute in any place. He finished the 2017 NHL playoffs with 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) over 22 games.
This year’s group of student athletes have written down their goals and spent nine-and-a-half months working on them and maybe one day we will be watching another graduate of the HCSA program here at North Vancouver’s Skills Academy.