As Canadians it seems we’re always ready for more hockey. Spring time with the NHL playoffs underway, especially this year with Vancouver making it to the conference final, is a good time to focus on Journey Middle School and the hockey program beginning there in the fall.
The program is a pilot version, described in school literature as “The first step towards the possible establishment of a multi-grade Hockey Canada Skills Academy here at our school.”
Those behind the new attraction at the Sooke middle school operate under the philosophy that the training to be provided “is very much in line with the role of the school in other curriculum areas and aims to enhance students’ opportunities to excel academically and athletically.”
Wayne Kelly, Journey Middle School vice principal referenced existing academies focusing on soccer, dance and various other pursuits at other schools in the district, including Sooke’s high school. He indicated during a late-April conversation that it is not something to be entered into casually.
“Every school can’t just all the sudden say, ‘oh, we’re going to have an academy’ and somebody who knows how to skate can go ahead and run it,” said Kelly. “They have to be certified properly. And they also have a very strict format and protocol about how the program is delivered.”
He indicated a possible link while outlining the development of the course which, at the outset, at least, will be geared toward grade seven students.
“We have a hockey academy at EMCS (Edward Milne Community School). So there was some parent interest, some student interest. We had a teacher who started to become interested in whether there was a way, at the middle school. How would that look here?”
Steps were then taken to gauge community interest and a significant number of parents heeded the invitation to talk over the concept.
“I guess this is quite a hockey community,” said Kelly.
“So it wasn’t a surprise to us and we just started to move forward.”
The school board and parent advisory committee both appear supportive of the pilot program according to the vice-principal.
Organizers are looking at a fee-per-student of $675 for a course consisting of:
• on-ice skill development (30 per cent);
• participation (30 per cent);
• personal log (keeping close track of on and off-ice fitness assessments, etc. (20 per cent;
• theory (20 per cent).
Teacher Ross Elm has earned the accreditation necessary for directing the program.
He said he’s been involved in hockey at every level growing up, and is very much looking forward to the program.
“We’re ready to go, now we’re looking for the bodies,” said Elm.
“I’m enthusiastic about it and as you can see… the kids are bouncing.”
Skating fundamentals will be focused upon early in the program and will be revisited often. All facets of the game will be examined in depth, including puck control, checking, goaltender skills, shooting and team tactics.
There is room for a maximum of 30 students in the pilot program and the deadline for applications is May 31.
As of May 16 there were 14 kids signed up.