Valleyview wants hockey academy
A proposed hockey academy at Valleyview secondary will be put to the Kamloops-Thompson board of education tonight (Feb. 6) for final approval.
The school has received approval from Hockey Canada to begin its skills academy at the start of the 2012-2013 school year.
“Our goal is to have a cohort of approximately 50 student-athletes who are enrolled in the program,” Valleyview principal Walt Kirschner told KTW.
“On average, they’d be on the ice about three-and-a-half hours per week, then there would be core training requirements, dry-land and classroom instruction.”
Board of education chairwoman Denise Harper supports the program — especially given the interest it has generated among prospective student-athletes.
“The interest has been very widespread,” she said. “It’s exciting. It’s another opportunity for kids who are very interested in hockey and we’re excited to be able to foster an interest in physical activity.”
Brocklehurst middle school already offers a hockey academy, but Kirschner said Valleyview’s would be different.
For one, the age group — Valleyview being a high school — is not the same.
Also, Kirschner said, Valleyview’s program would be an “elite-skill” academy.
“They do have a hockey academy at Brock,” he said.
“I don’t want to compare the two, but this [Valleyview’s proposed program] is a Hockey Canada academy.”
Kirschner said a number of community groups are already on board, including the Kamloops Blazers, the Kamloops Storm and the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association.
“It’s been a lot of work,” he said.
“Many, many hours have gone into it. But, it’s a great opportunity for the school and our community.”
According to Kirschner, the idea came as he was watching local student-athletes head to hockey academies in the Okanagan.
"It started for me writing reference letters for kids I saw exiting Kamloops," he said.
“They were going to Penticton and Kelowna for enrichment programs for hockey.
“It’s tough to see.”
Kirschner said there are already 73 interested families with regard to Valleyview’s proposed hockey academy.
If the program receives the go-ahead from trustees, he said the school will hold an information session with those families to gauge real interest.
"We're trying to keep it at 50," he said.
Projected cost per student per school year is $900.