Dunmore, AB – The Banff Hockey Academy (BHA) is proud to announce that beginning in the 2020-21 season, Hockey Alberta has approved the relocation of the program to Dunmore, in South East Alberta.
The pre-existing BHA U18 Prep team and Female U18 Prep team will now compete in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) as the South Alberta Hockey Academy (SAHA), and in partnership with the Prairie Rose School Division, all student athletes will attend Eagle Butte High School.
“We are very excited about the opportunities that exist for the program in Medicine Hat,” says Bill Doherty, Founder and Director of the Banff Hockey Academy. “We are confident that the blend of our experience in the accredited school market, coupled with the reputation and leadership of Willie Desjardins and the Prairie Rose School District will prove to be synergistic at every level of the operation.
“As you can imagine, after 25 years in the Bow Valley, there is a significant amount of emotion as we recount the students, teachers and community members who supported their collective development during our tenure in Banff. The history of our program runs deep in our hearts and souls and is filled with gratitude for these memories.”
The Banff Hockey Academy is a founding member of the CSSHL and has been in operation for 26 years.
“We are excited for what lies ahead with the South Alberta Hockey Academy,” said Kevin Goodwin, Chief Operating Officer of the CSSHL. “The southeast corner of Alberta is a good fit for our League and will assist linking existing programs in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. We are appreciative for all the great memories the Banff Hockey Academy has provided the CSSHL since 2009.”
As part of the partnership agreement, the Prairie Rose School Division is responsible for the education component of the program, offering students a high-quality school experience that allows for flexible integration of skills and leadership training into the school timetable. Eagle Butte High School is located five minutes from the City of Medicine Hat.
“We are very pleased to partner with the South Alberta Hockey Academy,” says Prairie Rose School Division Superintendent Roger Clarke. “Eagle Butte has excellent teachers and smaller classes that will allow our hockey athletes to focus on their passion for sport, while achieving academic excellence.”
Led by hockey coach and mentor Willie Desjardins, all student athletes will have access to high caliber aspects of the academy program, including character building, citizenship, sportsmanship, and hockey excellence. On-ice scheduling will be built into the school timetable and games and tournaments will be played on weekends to allow for academic success.
“We are excited to offer our student athletes the opportunity to learn and train with academic and athletic staff and we are looking forward to getting back on the ice,” said Desjardins.
Both teams will have access to a world class training facility at the Medicine Hat Family Leisure Centre that boasts a 100’ x 200’ Olympic size rink, a 17,000 square foot fitness centre, a 200 metre indoor running track, an indoor fieldhouse, and aquatic centre.
“The Family Leisure Centre is a place to feel empowered and strong,” says James Will, General Manager of the Parks and Recreation Department with the City of Medicine Hat. “It’s a place where everyone can push themselves, learn new skills and understand what the human body is really capable of. We are thrilled to partner with the Prairie Rose School Division and the South Alberta Hockey Academy and hope together we can help build the future of hockey in our communities.”
The 10-month academy program will begin this fall, with recruitment already underway for the 2020-2021 season.