Program Profile: Okanagan Hockey Academy

Located in Penticton, BC, Okangan Hockey Academy is a founding member of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL), entering their 16th season in the league.




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.

  • 2024-2025 Teams:
    • U18 Prep
    • U18 Female Prep
    • U18 Female Prep Black
    • U17 Prep
    • U17 Prep AAA
    • U15 Prep
    • U15 AAA


  • Partner School (Grades 8-12): Penticton Secondary School
  • What are some of the things your program does to provide educational support?
    • Pen High has 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, at a minimum weekly, in our study halls. Teachers communicate with our study hall teachers and David Nackoney (OHA 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 SATs, ACT’s, NCAA Clearinghouse, and USPORT requirements 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 given opportunities to catch up on their work if they are falling behind in study halls. If a situation arises that a student is not keeping up on work, they will be assigned extra study halls until their work is completed. In cases of academic misconduct, games may be taken away from student-athletes. Students, coaches, management, parents, and teachers are all 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 who 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-athlete 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 student-athletes feel right at home while developing their emotional intelligence. Our student-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 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 who comes to the academy weekly and is booked by appointment through an athletic therapist. Student-athlete monitoring is typically completed with daily check-ins but can differ depending on the injury or illness.
    • Parent communication will take place for student-athletes who are injured for any extended period, 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 as general check-ups, walk-in clinics, or emergency room visits. This is especially helpful for families that are not in town so that they can be kept up to date on each step of the injury or illness recovery process.


  • What does the daily schedule look like for an Okanagan Hockey Academy student-athlete?
    • Our student-athletes attend classes from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm. 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 4:30-5 pm and then are picked 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 student-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 student-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
    • Jesse Hammill, Coach
    • Mikaela Reay, Coach
    • Lucas Gore, Goaltending Coach
    • Dr. 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:
    • ªAcademy Fee: $28,000
    • ªTeam Fees:
      • U18 Female Prep – $9,000
      • U18 Female Prep Black – $8,000
      • U18 Prep – $7,500
      • U17 Prep – $7,500
      • U17 Prep Black – $7,500
      • U15 Prep – $8,000
      • U15 – $6,500
    • ª *Transportation Fee:
      • Peachland, West Kelowna and Kelowna – $3,000
      • Summerland, Penticton and South Okanagan – $1,000
    •  *Billet Fee: $9,500
    •  *Out-of-Province Educational Fee: $9,175
    •  *International Education Fee: $13,500

ªSubject to 5% GST
 *If applicable


  • What is the best way to contact the Okanagan Hockey Academy?
    • Website:
    • Email:
    • Social media:
      • Facebook/twitter/Instagram/Threads: @okanaganhockey
      • TikTok: @okanaganhockeyacademy