CSSHL Program Profile: Okanagan Hockey Academy

“Commitment to Excellence”

Situated in the sunny South Okanagan of British Columbia, the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton
is a founding member of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League, joining the League in 2009.

2023-2024 Teams:
U18 Prep
U18 Female Prep
U18 Female Prep Black
U17 Prep
U17 Prep Black
U15 Prep


Partner School (Grades 9-12): Penticton Secondary School
Partner School (Grade 8): Skaha Lake Middle School

What are some of the things your program does to provide educational support?
“Pen High and Skaha have implemented a schedule that allows our student-athletes to attend school
from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm without missing core classes for practice or training. A weekly mandatory study
hall provides our student-athletes with an opportunity to have one on one instruction with our
Academic Advisors and help manage their workload.”

How are grades monitored and how often?
“Grades are monitored minimally weekly in our study halls. Teachers communicate with our study hall
teachers and David Nackoney (Academic Advisor) if they have concerns. Coaches are part of the
academic team approach to supporting our student-athletes. We also complete a quarterly update of all

How are courses and the graduation path for student-athletes chosen?
“Our Academic Advisor, Dave Nackoney, works diligently at helping our students navigate through SAT’s,
ACT’s, and NCAA Clearinghouse ensuring that all options are available for our students when they are
ready to attend a post-secondary institution.”

Do you have an academic probation policy?
“Academic probation is a case by case situation. We work on being proactive and use academic
probation as a last resort. Students are giving opportunities to catch up on their work if they are falling
behind. If a situation arises that a student is not keeping up on work, they will be assigned extra study
halls until work is completed. In cases of academic misconduct, games can be taken away from student-
athletes. Students, coaches, parents and teachers can all be involved in the academic process.”


Do you offer a billeting program or a dormitory for non-local student-athletes?
“Our athletes who need room and board are billeted among a great group of local families. Our billets
provide a safe and supportive environment that our student-athletes can call home. We have had great
success through our billeting program and feel that it has been an integral part of the growth of our
Academy. We have a designated Coordinator of Residential Life that facilitates the process and ensures
that our students are placed in a home they will be comfortable with. This process includes an extensive
screening process that ensures the family and student are the right fit for each other. Each potential
billet family goes through a wide-ranging interview and reference check. The student is also asked a
series of questions such as if they are okay living with children, pets, etc. This process ensures the
student and his or her new billet family will be comfortable with one another.”

What kind of life skills do the student-athletes learn by living with billets?
“Okanagan Hockey strives to make our athletes feel right at home while developing their emotional
intelligence. Our athletes will develop key life skills by living away from home, such as time management
skills, cooking and laundry, self-advocacy, relationship skills, appreciation of new cultures and controlled


How are injuries and sick student-athletes monitored?
“We have full-time Certified Athletic Therapists staffed daily in our state-of-the-art facilities for injury
assessment, rehabilitation and coverage during training and games. We have a team physician that
comes to the academy weekly and is booked by appointment through an athletic therapist. Athlete
monitoring is typically completed with daily check-ins but can differ depending on the injury or illness.
Parent communication will take place for athletes that are injured for any extended period of time,
including updates on their progress or changes in their injury status. Parent communication will also
take place when any sort of physician contact occurs, such general check-ups, walk-in clinics or
emergency room visits. This is especially helpful when the families are not in town so they can be kept
up to date with every step of the injury or illness and their student-athlete’s recovery back to health.”


What does the daily schedule look like for an Okanagan Hockey Academy student-athlete?
“Our student-athletes attend classes from 8:30am to 1:00pm. In the afternoon they have an on-ice
session, which could be a full team practice, individual skill development, etc., and they also have an off-
ice session in our gym or state-of-the-art performance centre. Our student-athletes complete all
activities by 4:30-5pm and then are pick up or transported home.”

How many games can your teams expect to play?
“Our teams play 40-50 games a season, which includes the CSSHL regular season and Championships,
exhibition games and tournaments.”

What does the on and off ice training look like?
“Our athletes take part in daily purposeful on-ice training. Practices are designed with individual skill
development in mind through tactical and technical teaching. The Okanagan Hockey Academy Performance Centre is a state-of-the-art training facility designed after top NCAA and NHL programs. We have professional off-ice training staff and supplement core strength training, explosive speed training, mobility as well as nutrition guidance. We strongly believe that physical preparation is the key to long- term hockey development. Our philosophy is to provide our athletes with the tools needed to execute and perform at the highest level possible.”


Who are some of the key staff at the Okanagan Hockey Academy?
Scott May, General Manager
Heather Perrin, Assistant General Manager
Mike Needham, Head of Player Development
Brett Vestby, Head of Operations and Events
Dave Zarn, Head of Athletic Therapy
Paul Bisnauth, Head of Strength & Conditioning
Craig Bedard, Coach
Robert Dirk, Coach
Jessie Leung, Coach
Dennis McKinnon, Coach
Jeff Urekar, Coach
Bill Maguire, Coach
Lucas Gore, Goaltending Coach
Nolan Rau, Physician
Garth Astles, Residential Life Coordinator
Dave Nackoney, Academy Advisor


What is included in the price to attend the Okanagan Hockey Academy?

“OHA has an all-inclusive model that provides the highest standard of services for all on and off ice
activities for 10 months. Our medical services and therapy are part of the program, which includes
doctor visits and any treatment needed for minor or major injuries. Finally, our educational services
including weekly tutoring are also part of each student’s experience.
The breakdown of our fees is:

Academy Fee: $28,000
Team Fees:
U18 Female Prep $8,500
U18 Female Prep – Black $7,500
U18 Prep $7,000
U17 Prep $7,000
U17 Prep – Black $7,000
U15 Prep $7,500
U15 $6,000

*^Transportation Fee: $3,000 (Peachland, West Kelowna and Kelowna)
* Billet Fee: $8,500
* Out-of-Province Educational Fee: $8,840
* International Education Fee: $13,000

^Subject to 5% GST
* If applicable


What is the best way to contact the Okanagan Hockey Academy?

Website: okanaganhockey.com
Email: info@okanaganhockey.com