Prince Rupert’s first foray into the world of hockey classes introduced in the standard school curriculum has gotten off to a flawless start, parents and coaches reported last week.
With the introduction of the Pacific Rim Hockey Academy at Prince Rupert Middle School (PRMS) in September, numbers, academy details and feedback have started to roll in.
At the B.C. School District 52 (SD52) board meeting last Tuesday night, the academy’s coaches Craig Munro, Rick Roemer and Gary Coons outlined for the school board the intricate details of just what’s involved in the academy, how the kids are doing with the on-ice and off-ice sessions and any behavioural or skill-based changes the students are seeing.
“From the [Pacific Rim] Hockey Academy, [founder] Craig Millin sets the schedule and it lists what we should be working on throughout the week,” said Munro, who is also a member of the senior men’s puck team, the Prince Rupert Rampage, and assistant coach with the Charles Hays Secondary School girls’ soccer team.
Power-skating, footwork, crossovers, backwards skating, tactical skills, breakout drills, neutral zone coverage, power-play tactics, puck-handling and more are explored in the on-ice sessions, Munro told the board, adding that 35 children are involved in the academy this year at PRMS, with eight girls.
“There are two groups [of students]. Group One is the Grade 6’s and the girls and Group Two is the Grade 7’s and the Grade 8’s … Group One will be on the ice one day and while that’s happening, Group Two is at school and they’re doing dryland sessions or in-class sessions fulfilling their goal-setting and nutrition [parts of the academy],” said Munro.
The 15 – 17 kids in each group follow the guidance of coaches Munro, Roemer and Coons and there are two goalie instructors – Jamie Lowe and Cole Lindsay – for two goalies in each group.
“We can pull aside the kids that need that extra help or that extra support and we can give it to them. That’s kind of missed somewhat when it comes to minor hockey because [there] it’s drill after drill after drill, play and then got off the ice. So that’s kind of nice,” said Munro.
In the classroom portion (each groups alternates the on-ice and dryland and classroom portions each day), the students make a nutrition log for the week, improve their fitness and strength in the gym, and have all come together to hike the Butze Rapids trail and partake in yoga and spin class.
The feedback from the kids themselves was glowing as two groups made presentations to the board. The students told them that the academy is not only affecting their hockey skills, but behaviour too, something their parents are backing up.
“It’s the best money I’ve ever spent,” said parent Rosa Miller.
“My son … is more attentive, responsible at night and in the mornings – his bags are packed … he’s a ‘total student’. It’s about much more than hockey,” she said.
Fellow parent Terena Stegavig also wrote a letter to the board, saying that her daughter “is making lunches the night before school, [has become healthier] with dryland training” and “can’t say enough about the program”, also inquiring if Charles Hays Secondary will host the academy next year as well.
“I think the key to the program isn’t the instructors, it’s the kids. They’re great – they’re respectful and they’re the ones driving the program right now, in my mind,” said Coons.
“We have kids that are here going home and by 7:00 at night, have their hockey gear, their food and everything ready for the next day, which wasn’t happening before. Kids are coming home and telling them what they did on the ice and in the gym … as teachers and parents know, that doesn’t happen a lot,” added Roemer.
The academy continues to run at PRMS until Jan. 15, 2016.