Meet Blaine Harrison, long time Strength and Conditioning coach here at Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) in Penticton, BC. Blaine has worked for Okanagan Hockey Group since 2006, and has since made a positive impact on our training program through his knowledge and personal experiences.
Blaine works with our student athletes tirelessly, ensuring 1-on-1 attention and personal adaptation. All eight of our OHA teams have daily strength and conditioning sessions with Blaine; improving their athletic performance while also teaching lifelong fitness and movement skills.
A huge part of Blaine’s job is reducing the risk of athletic injuries. Making sure that our student athletes are practicing safe movements within the gym and while training from home, which is crucial to our philosophy. Our student athletes trust Blaine to do right by them, by challenging them while also recognizing their limits. His trustworthiness and guidance has been applauded by many student athletes over the years, including former OHA Penticton student athlete, Sam Jones.
Sam has always seen Blaine as an inspiration. “I had great coaches on the ice at OHA, but one of the biggest influences in my hockey career was my strength and conditioning coach Blaine Harrison. In the 4 years I was at OHA he worked with me tirelessly to get me to the Jr. A level” says Sam. “I was extremely lucky to have the support that I did, and I realize how important off- ice training is, as it translates to on the ice. I now want to pass it forward, and do for others what Blaine did for me.”
Blaine says that his favourite part about being a coach is seeing progression. ”I strive to help players set their physical goals and to understand the commitment and dedication it takes to achieve them. I like to remind them that there may be many distractions along the way, and encourage them not to be one of them” says Blaine. “I encourage my athletes to know their purpose. Whatever you’re doing, do it right…this is the key to achieving your goals.”
Blaine is the heart and soul of our training facility here in Penticton, BC; inspiring young athletes each and every day to set training goals and chase their dreams. This stems from his achievements prior to and during his time at OHA, along with his everlasting hard work ethic and positive attitude.
Blaine has always been interested in sport— he enjoyed being active and setting fitness goals for himself. “In grade 8 I had a friend who was a weight lifter & hockey player, so I joined the weightlifting team just for fun. I did pretty well for not even weighing 100 lbs. at the time” Blaine states. Though, it wasn’t easy for Blaine to fully commit himself at such a young age, as like many parents, his parents were very concerned about the physical risks. “I went home and told my parents that lifting was something I was interested in, but they were not very supportive at first because they didn’t want me to get hurt,” says Blaine. Once I was out of the house, and off to college, I started playing rugby. I felt that I needed to become stronger, and therefore attended gym sessions to do so.”
It wasn’t long before gym owners and coaches began recognizing that Blaine had a special talent— eventually persuading him to attend the BC Winter Games for power lifting in 1992, where he won his first gold medal.
By transitioning into competitive power lifting, Blaine immediately found a new love for the sport and has never looked back. His success within the sport has been extremely impressive, being named BC Power Lifting Champion in two consecutive years; 1994 & 1995, and winning fifth place in 1999 at the National Power Lifting Championship. In 1999, at 40 years old, Blaine set a deadlift record of 605lbs in the Open weight class, which he still holds today!
Blaine transitioned into Strength and Conditioning after testing the waters with personal training on the side of his fulltime job. His clients convinced him to pursue lifting more, encouraging him to become certified after furthering his education at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He soon became certified as a Can-Fit Personal Trainer and a Twist Conditioning Certified Trainer before joining OHA in 2006.
While working at OHA, Blaine continued power lifting at the National level, placing first in 2012 and second in 2013 in the Masters National Championships.
To build on his qualifications, Blaine wishes to attend the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) in the upcoming months. He will then continue attending courses once a year to be recertified and stay current within the continuously evolving world of sport.
When asked what his greatest achievements are beyond power lifting, Blaine is very proud of his continued relationships with many student athletes. “I love watching them develop over the years, and truly enjoy catching up with them to see where they are today” Blaine says.
Blaine is inspired by his day-to-day work within the Academy by witnessing success each and every day. “When I see athletes making gains, whether they are big or small, this always feels good, says Blaine. “As long as I believe that I am making an impact, I feel good about what I am doing in my life.”
We are so fortunate to have Blaine as a member of our family here at OHA Penticton. His attention to detail is crucial within our training centre, ensuring our student athletes are training efficiently while practicing safe movements. His dedication and positive spirit shine bright throughout our facilities. He is always smiling, working hard and inspiring young athletes to find their purpose both inside and outside of the gym.
During my three years in Penticton, OHA was influential in my growth as a student, an athlete, and most importantly a person. Their overwhelming support made the city feel like home and the community feel like family. It was truly a first class experience, in an elite program that has prepared me for my time in university and any future endeavors."