The Okanagan Hockey Group sincerely hopes that all of you are doing your best to cope with this challenging time. Taking care of our physical and mental health, and the health of our loved ones is the main priority for all of us. As we continue to deal with this pandemic, it is important to focus on our internal strength, patience, positivity, and facing adversity head-on. These are the times that the lessons that the game provides can help us immensely. The value systems that we work on and talk about every day through our development directly apply to how we handle this crisis and come out the other side as better people, leaders, teammates, and student-athletes.
The Okanagan Hockey Academy has been working on a delivery and content platform that will allow us to continue this development with our student-athletes using the resources that are currently available to us. As we are certainly aware, access to any on-ice training is unavailable in the current climate. However, at this time of year, on-ice development becomes less important in the training and development cycle of hockey players. This is the time to reflect on your past season and recognize what areas of your individual game need your focus and attention. This is the time, not to prepare for next season, but to focus singularly on improvement on a day to day basis. This unique situation gives us all the opportunity to get better in all of the foundational abilities that we need to be our best.
Our Virtual Academy Program will allow us to focus individually on every student/athlete and provide the structure and accountability that is necessary for growth. The model that we have created will be called the “Human Performance Program”.
The Okanagan Hockey Human Performance Program is designed to provide a singular outcome/goal for all parts of the program. The model focuses on these key components:
We want to take each of these components and separate them as individual program units that are concentrated on increasing Human Performance with each of our student-athletes. Our goal at OHA is not simply to develop young people in these areas but to enhance their overall performance as people, students, and athletes. By separating the program into these units, it allows us to create a detailed, focused platform for each as a standalone entity.
In order for us to administer this program and to guarantee the best results, we have developed the following structure to ensure consistency and accountability. The academic time will be modified by each individual location dependent on the delivery model of our academic partners.
The day will be divided into three blocks:
Block 1 – Academics
Block 2 – Nutrition, strength and conditioning, off-ice skills
Block 3 – Academics, OHA programming
The OHA based programming will include presentations from coaches, third party presentations, and competition based challenges for each group focusing on these topics:
In order for OHA to manage the focus and engagement of each athlete, every head coach will be scheduling a daily video conference call with each athlete on their team. These calls will include:
The strength and conditioning program will consist of daily workouts that will be loaded onto each player's Kinduct App that they have been working off of this season. These workouts will be designed to do at home with limited equipment needed. They will be tracked through the app and will be reviewed by the trainers and strength and conditioning staff. All programming will be developed by Mark Fitzgerald from Elite Training Systems and he will oversee all of the strength and conditioning programs across all of our Academies.
Mark Fitzgerald has spent the last 15 years working with athletes from a variety of sports at every level. He began his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization and most recently was the head of performance for the Anaheim Ducks. Mark is the founder of Elite Training Systems in Ontario, which has grown to four locations servicing athletes from all major and minor sports. Mark also serves as a consultant for a number of health and performance organizations.
Although we are not in our traditional environment, we have a tremendous opportunity to provide each of our student-athletes with a unique program solely focused on enhancing Human Performance through these difficult times. The ability to overcome adversity and use it to your advantage is one of the greatest skills a hockey player/person can possess. OHA is committed to doing anything we can to provide you all with the best possible programming we can through this time and we look forward to getting started.
At OHA, I had an opportunity to play with some of best players in the country and had coaches that pushed me to be my best, positioning me to play for the Penticton Vees and now the University of Denver.