Program Profile: Okanagan Hockey Academy


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, helping form the League in 2009.

At the Okanagan Hockey Academy our primary focus is to promote the long-term development of each of our athletes in the classroom, on the ice, and in the community. Putting young, motivated people in a structured environment, surrounded by a world class staff and support system allows us to deliver a consistent message and value system that we feel is imperative to the long term development of our students.

2021-22 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 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 their high school experience to ensure that all of their options are available in both Canada and the USA. Additional support is provided for those students looking to attend NCAA schools through SAT’s & ACT’s preparation, as well as information regarding the NCAA Clearinghouse.

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.

“OHA students have had so much success at Pen High due to our structured and focused environment. Education is truly a priority for the academy and that’s why a great majority of their students are consistently on the honor roll.”

– Dave Nackoney, OHA Academic Advisor

The staff at Pen-Hi made my time there unforgettable.  Being a student athlete, their support and understanding meant the world to me. They helped me set and reach my goals all while preparing me for university.”

– Emily Clark, Team Canada / University of Wisconsin, NCAA


Do you offer a billeting program or a dormitory for non-local student athletes?


Our student- athletes that require need room and board are billeted among a great group of local families. Our billets provide a safe and supportive environment that our students 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.

OHA has a full time Manager of Residential Life who facilitates the process of placing our athletes in a home they will be comfortable with, as well as providing year round support to both the student-athlete and both families.

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.”

“Playing at OHA was great. I had great billet families and made great relationships with people I still keep in touch with. It was a really good learning experience for me being away from home playing hockey, which set me up to go play junior.

– Dennis Robertson (Charlotte Checkers, AHL)


How are injuries and sick student athletes monitored?

We employee full-time Certified Athletic Therapists who work out of our state-of-the-art facilities. Our Therapists are available 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 our athletic therapists. 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. Concussion testing is managed through the Highmark EQ concussion testing software.

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, position specific drills or individual skill development.  There would be an off-ice physical activity which would typically be a workout in our private OHA gym as well as a skills session in our shooting centre. Our student-athletes also participate in ‘Coach Time’ which is led by our coaches in a team setting to and includes, video review, leadership/community service exercises, goal setting and mental health training. 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.

On-Ice Highlights

  • 4 – 5 practices per week
  • 40-50 – games per season
  • Detailed breakdown of all facets of the game, both individually and team oriented
  • Digital video analysis of all areas of the game
  • Professional coaching staff
  • Consistent instruction in skating and movement

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.

Off-Ice Strength and Conditioning Highlights

  • Professional off-ice training staff
  • Okanagan Hockey Academy off-ice speed centre
  • Core strength, explosive speed, and plyometric equipment
  • An individualized 10 month strength and conditioning program
  • Hockey specific training
  • Yoga classes
  • Nutrition and supplement guidance


How many ice surfaces does the Okanagan Hockey Academy have?

Our academy operates on three ice surfaces, all of which are on site within the larger Okanagan Hockey Academy campus. Two of the surfaces are located within the 90 million dollar South Okanagan Events Centre with the third surface located in Memorial arena.

What other facilities do you offer?

In addition to our three ice surfaces, the Okanagan Hockey Academy campus includes private, dedicated Academy locker rooms, Athletic Therapy rooms, full sized classroom, Skills Centre and a 5000 square foot private gym fully equipped with cutting edge training equipment. Our administration offices are also located on our campus.

Facility Highlights

  • 3 ice surfaces
  • Private academy locker rooms
  • 2 athletic therapy rooms
  • Full size classroom equipped with professional video editing equipment
  • 5000 square foot strength and performance centre and cutting edge training equipment
  • Private Skills Centre with indoor turf
  • 2 laundry facilities
  • On-site skate sharpening


Who are some of the key staff at the Okanagan Hockey Academy?

Scott May, General Manager
Mike Needham, Manager of Hockey Operations
Rob McLaughlin, 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
Craig Bedard, Coach
Robert Dirk, Coach
Dennis McKinnon, Coach
Cassea Schols, Coach
Venla Hovi, Coach
Lucas Gore, Goaltending Coach
Trevor Connolly, Physician
Garth Astles, Residential Life Coordinator
Dave Nackoney, Academy Advisor

Read all of our staff profiles here. 


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:

Tuition $28,000 plus GST
Team fees see below
Transportation Fee (for Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland) $3,000 plus GST
Transportation Fee (for Summerland, Penticton and all points south – excludes Naramata and Westbench) $1,000 plus GST
Billet Fees (if applicable) $9,500
Province of BC Education Fee – International (if applicable) $13,500
Province of BC Education Fee – Inter-Provincial (if applicable) $9,175
Medical Insurance – International Students (if applicable) $900
U18 Female Prep $9,000 plus GST
U18 Female Prep – Black $8,000 plus GST
U18 Prep $7,500 plus GST
U17 Prep $7,500 plus GST
U17 Prep – Black $7,500 plus GST
U15 Prep $8,000 plus GST
U15 $6,500 plus GST


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



Our complete Prospectus can be downloaded from our website.