WHITBY, ONTARIO (March 21, 2018) – The Okanagan Hockey Group (OHG) is excited to launch Okanagan Hockey Ontario, which will be operating an academy based in Whitby, Ontario in 2018-2019, and will host camps and combines in summer of 2018. This is the third Canadian hockey academy for OHG, providing both world-class training and education to student-athletes. The academy will be the first Eastern Canadian location for the organization, after having successfully launched similar programs in Penticton in 2002 and Edmonton in 2015.
Recognizing the need for year-round training in long-term development of student-athletes, OHG launched the first Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton. After launching the first hockey-related sport school in BC recognized by BC Hockey and Hockey Canada, OHG has now expanded to five academies worldwide, with schools in St. Polten, Austria and Swindon, England, in addition to the three Canadian academies. The organization has placed over 150 athletes in junior, collegiate and professional hockey programs around the world, including 13 alumni of the academy drafted to the NHL since 2010.
“Much of OHG’s success in producing successful student athletes comes from the incredibly talented and knowledgeable coaching and support staff we employ,” said Dixon Ward, vice president of Okanagan Hockey Academy. “Our coaches come from strong hockey backgrounds and are eager to pass down their knowledge and love for the sport to the next generation.” Ward speaks from experience, as a former NHL player, having played 537 NHL games of which 22 were for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Since its inception in 1963, OHG – the longest running hockey camp in the world – has sought to develop talented young athletes from all around the globe into world class hockey players. In 2014, the OHG partnered with the Western Hockey League (WHL) to create the WHL Prospect Combines – an event designed to test the skills and abilities of young athletes while providing exposure to WHL teams. This partnership allows athletes to experience the caliber of hockey seen at the highest level of junior hockey in Canada. OHG will be hosting camps and combines in Whitby as early as summer 2018.
Whitby’s Henry Street High School, a member of the Durham District School Board, will host the academic program for the new Academy, while practices and games will take place at the Town of Whitby’s Iroquois Park Sports Centre. Student-athletes will participate in the Academy for Student-Athlete Development (ASAD) program, run out of the Abilities Centre, which focuses on academic (post-secondary approved programs, study hall and tutoring) and athletic (strength and conditioning, technical training, sport psychology and nutrition) support, ensuring they are equipped with the resources they need to excel in both sport and the classroom. The strength and conditioning component of the program will be executed in partnership with Elite Training Systems.
“Our goal is to provide talented, young student-athletes with the tools to reach their full academic and athletic potential,” said Andy Oakes, president and director of Okanagan Hockey Group. “There is an immense amount of hockey spirit and talent within the Ontario hockey community. As positive members of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association and Ontario Hockey Federation, we’re excited to offer dedicated student-athletes a world-class training and education program close to home.”
Enrollment will be open to Canadian and international student-athletes alike based on selection. For more information on OHG and Okanagan Hockey Academy Whitby, visit www.okanaganhockey.com or follow OHG on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Going to OHA was one of the greatest decisions I have made for my hockey career. OHA prepared me for the next level. Skating, strength, speed, conditioning. I wouldn't be the player and person that I am today if I hadn’t chosen OHA."