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.

2020-21 Teams:
U18 Prep
Female U18 Prep
U17 Prep Black
U17 Prep White
Female U17 Prep
U16 Prep
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 teams.”

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 someone 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 to 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 independence.”


How are injuries and sick student athletes monitored?

“We have full-time 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. We also utilize a software program called Kinduct that monitors not only the health and wellness of a student athlete but is a resource for their workouts and concussion testing.

Parent communication will also 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, such general check-ups, walk-in clinics or emergency room visits. This is especially helpful when the families are not in town and are kept up to date with every step of the injury or illness and their 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, yoga classes 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
Mike Needham, Manager of Hockey Operations
Rob McLauglin, Manager of Events/Power Skating
Mack O’Rourke, Manager of Operations
Mark Fitzgerald, Manager of Human Performance
Heather Perrin, Manager of Medical Services – Athletic Therapy
Bob Pond, Asst. Manager of Medical Services – Athletic Therapy
Craig Bedard, Coach
Robert Dirk, Coach
Mike Egener, Coach
Dennis McKinnon, Coach
Dave Whistle, Coach
Cassea Schols, Coach
Venla Hovi, Coach
Tyler Love, Goaltending Coach
Blaine Harrison, Strength & Conditioning Coach
Trevor Connolly, 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 regular weekly 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: $26,000 + tax
Team Fee: $5,000 + tax (Female U18 Prep $6,000)
*Transportation Fee (Kelowna & outside residence): $2,000
*Billet Fee: $7,500
*Out-of-Province Educational Fee: $8,437.50
*International Fee: $12,500

*If required”


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

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