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.
We believe that elite athletes need to be challenged, yet supported, in all aspects of their lives. We hold our student athletes accountable on their efforts, attention to details, and above all their attitudes. We have learned through experience that those three key ingredients are keys to future success.
OHA is built on experience, knowledge, passion for our game, and above all, OHA is built on each individual’s mark left behind as they move on to achieve their goals. The commitment to excellence in all areas is what makes the Okanagan Hockey Academy a tremendous opportunity for any young and aspiring hockey player.
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Situated in the beautiful South Okanagan, Penticton is a community with a long history of supporting student athletes. The small town feel provides a great, family oriented environment for our student athletes to prosper in, and the easy access to beaches, wineries, and outdoor activities makes it a great location for family visits.
The Okanagan Hockey Training Centre is a state-of-the-art facility designed to provide a unique development opportunity for each of our student-athletes. Integrated within the 90 million dollar South Okanagan Events Centre, the OHTC consists of three NHL size ice surfaces (including Memorial arena), private Academy Locker Rooms, Athletic Therapy room, a full size classroom equipped with professional video editing equipment, Skill Centre (off campus), 5000 square foot performance centre and cutting edge training equipment, as well as our administration offices.
Teaching is a big part of our daily activities, from techniques to hockey IQ which gives our athletes not only a physical advantage but also allows them to understand the game and how to be successful within it. Our coaches are experts by experience having played the game at the NHL, Junior, University, National and Olympic levels. Their knowledge of what it takes and their understanding of the player’s perspective make OHA a unique and standout program.
On Ice Development
OHA offers male teams at the U18, U17, U16 and U15 levels, as well as two U18 female teams. Our teams play in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League in addition to various highly scouted tournaments and showcases.
Our athletes take part in daily purposeful training both on ice and off ice. Practices are designed with individual skill development in mind through tactical and technical teaching. Our philosophy is to provide our athletes with the tools needed to execute and perform at the highest level possible.
We strongly believe that physical preparation is key to long-term hockey development. Our professional Strength and Conditioning Coach, combined with our Athletic Therapists, provide expertise for maximum off-ice development. Testing is done multiple times throughout the year, analyzing each individual baseline and development curve, as well as identifying each individual’s strengths and weaknesses. With that information a purposeful training program is built around maximizing each athlete’s growth and helping them achieve their optimum athletic potential.
Our Strength and Conditioning Coach works closely with our medical staff ensuring that everything from flexibility, mobility and injury prevention embodies our athlete’s programs. Everything is done in house from our Academy Doctor to our rehabilitation programs. The amount of attention on our athlete’s health and development is truly a focus of ours.
EXPOSURE AND PLACEMENT
OHA leads the way in exposure and placement of players to Junior A, WHL and NCAA programs. Our coaching staff has extensive professional hockey backgrounds that show diversity in the routes they took to become successful, and they possess a network of contacts that is second to no one. OHA coaches are consistently contacted by Junior and college programs because these programs place a high value on their knowledge, honesty, and integrity.
It is often a very difficult decision on which route a player might choose. At OHA, we are impartial to which route is chosen, and we educate both the parents and players to sure that they are as informed as possible. The ultimate decision rests with them, and if well informed they will make the right decision for their particular situation.
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.
OHA’s Coordinator of Residential Life, Garth Astles 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 insures 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 insures the student and his or her new billet family will be comfortable with one another.
Astles brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in working with youth and their families, through his work as a social worker with the BC Ministry of Children and Families. In addition, he has a unique understanding of the billet life – both as a host family through his childhood and as a billeted player during his time with the Seattle Breakers in the WHL. Garth feels this position has brought him full circle, back to the game he is most passionate about.
Billet families provide student athlete with a home away from home. The families provide meals and transportation, when needed. In many cases, the relationships developed between the student and billet family last for years, even when the student has moved onto the next chapter of his or her life.
“As A Billet Family, We Love Being Involved With Oha. We Have A Young Son Playing Hockey And The Example And Determination Of These Young Men Is A Huge Boost To His Confidence And Game Play. We Absolutely Love Having Them In Our Home And Meeting Their Families And Gaining New Friends Along The Way.”
– DUSTIN AND KRISTY MALLORY, OHA BILLET FAMILY
“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)
Our athletes are Student-Athletes which means education is one of our biggest priorities. OHA is in partnership with Penticton High, one of the highest rated schools in Western Canada, as well as Skaha Lake Middle School (Grade 8). 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. 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.