An information session April 30 drew about 25 people to the North Shore Winter Club to hear NSWC Director of Hockey Operations, Jeff Oldenborger outline the club’s plan to ice an Elite 15 Academy team in the Canadian Sports School Hockey League this fall.
The E15 program is a new concept in BC, designed to provide a bridge between bantam and midget programs for AAA bantam players not ready to make the jump to midget hockey- where it’s tough for most 15 year olds to compete against bigger, stronger, 16 and 17 year olds.
The other key element the E15 program addresses is scholastics. On and off ice training is worked into a regular school day; whereas MHA midget hockey is often subject to late night practices and games, which makes getting to school in the mornings a chore for 15 year olds.
Oldenborger has lined up Sutherland Secondary to provide the academic support for the program. The team will wear the Sutherland colors and adopt the Sabres name and logo, and all attend classes at the school.
On Friday, May 9, Canadian Sports School Hockey League board of directors will review the North Shore application and three others, and either approve or reject the application join the league.
The CCSHL launched the E15 program last year as a new division, in addition to their Varsity (U18) and Prep (U16) programs.
Oldenborger said the E15 program also entails development of a U18 for 2015-16 and an E14 bantam program for 2016-17.
The program itself will consist of 120-130 practice sessions per year, 4 to 5 on ice sessions from Septmber to March, two to three from April through June, with three to four dryland sessions per week. The team would participate in approximately 30 league games in six to seven CSSHL tournaments and play in one US tourney, in addition to exhibition games with local teams.
Program cost is budgeted at $13,500 per player and includes all travel, lodgings and meals.
Oldenborger stressed the program would have a development focus, rather than a win at all costs focus.
Oldenborger says three highly qualified coaches are in the running for the assignment, but stated it would be premature to name them prior to the Friday, May 9 application hearing.
He said if approved the new head coach would likely be announced by Monday, May 11, and a second informational meeting would likely be scheduled for soon after.
Tryouts are scheduled for May 23-25.
The tryouts are open to all interested players, however Oldenborger stated over the long term the intention is to make the academy an extension of current NSWC programs.
Oldenborger said he would make commitments immediately to a full roster of players. Some players would also be placed on a reserved list and would be invited to join the team in September, should some players make a Major Midget team roster.
Players making a Major Midget team would receive a full refund of their $2,500 commitment deposit.
NW Giants Major Midget team head coach Clint Thorton, who has been recently hired as NSWC Manager of Hockey Operations, was also in attendance.
He stated that his Major Midget roster would be firmed up by September 10.
Other Academies currently in the program consist of the four new academies that joined last year, Burnaby Winter Club, Yale Academy (Abbotsford), South Delta Academy, and Compete (Idaho); in addition to the founding member academies, Banff Academy, Edge (Springbank/Calgary), Pursuit of Excellence (Kelowna), and Okanagan Hockey Academy (Penticton).
The other applicants making formal presentations include two from Vancouver Island – Shawnigan Lake School and Pacific Coast Hockey Academy in Victoria; and St. Francis Xavier in Edmonton.
The CSSHL league was founded in 2009 and has graduated a number of players to college ranks and beyond including:
- Tyler Myers (Buffalo Sabres, Edge School)
- Matthew Dumba (Minnesota Wild, Edge School)
- Justin Schultz (Edmonton Oilers, POE)
- Dalton Thrower (Montreal Canadiens, POE)
- Mark MacMillan (Montreal Canadiens, OHA)
- Dennis Robertson (Toronto Maple Leafs, OHA)
- Luke Walker (Colorado Avalanche, OHA)
For more information on the North Shore E15 program contact Jeff Oldenborger at: [email protected]
Hockey Hub will update results of the May 9 meeting as soon as they are available.
CSSHL last season:
|Banff Hockey Academy||Banff, Alberta||2009||3: Prep, Varsity and Elite 15s|
|Burnaby Winter Club||Burnaby, BC||2013||2: Prep and Elite 15s|
|Compete Hockey Academy||Coeur d’Alene, Idaho||2013||2: Prep and Elite 15s|
|Delta Hockey Academy||Delta, BC||2013||2: Prep and Elite 15s|
|Edge School for Athletes||Calgary, Alberta||2009||4: Prep, Varsity (x2) and Elite 15s|
|Okanagan Hockey Academy||Penticton, BC||2009||4: Prep, Varsity (x2) and Elite 15s|
|Pursuit of Excellence||Kelowna, BC||2009||3: Prep, Varsity and Elite 15s|
|Swiss International Sports & Education Centre||Chestermere, Alberta||2009||2: Prep and Varsity|
|Yale Hockey Academy||Abbotsford, BC||2013||1: Elite 15s|