DENVER, COLORADO (March 10, 2022) – The Okanagan Hockey Group (OHG) and Aces Hockey Academy are excited to launch Okanagan Hockey Colorado, which will begin operating in Denver, Colorado in 2022-2023.
This is the fifth academy for OHG and the first US-based hockey academy, providing both world-class training and education to student-athletes. Recognizing the need for 10-months of training and long-term development of student-athletes, OHG launched the first Okanagan Hockey Academy in 2002 in Penticton. Soon after, OHG launched similar programs: in St. Polten, Austria in 2008; Edmonton, Alberta in 2015; and, Whitby Ontario in 2018. OHG’s success can be seen in the long list of players who have moved on to play in the NHL, multiple Pro Leagues, WHL, Junior A, and University and International levels.
“We could not be more excited to partner with Aces Hockey Academy and bring the proven OHG development model to the United States”, said OHG President Andy Oakes, “Colorado is a centrally-located state with high quality players and we’re thrilled be able to provide this option, which will allow student-athletes to develop both athletically and academically.”
Aces Hockey Academy was founded in 2018 through partnerships with local middle and high schools, with the goal of providing youth hockey athletes with access to skill development without having to sacrifice a traditional academic experience. Built on the values of Athletics, Character, Education, and Service, Aces added a full day, in-person, and private hockey academy in 2020. Aces Sports Academy currently caters to student-athletes in grades 4 through 8, providing high-level instruction from certified teachers.
The program is sanctioned by USA Hockey and, for the first year, will be exclusively for 14U boys born in 2008. It will operate for 10-months of the year, following the school calendar, and feature an independent, event-based competition schedule. Athletes will train on the ice up to 5 days a week, and off the ice up to 4 days a week. The schedule will follow the very successful OHG model, with a focused daily schedule that emphasises integrated athletic and academic development. Professional coaches and strength and conditioning staff will guide student-athletes on and off the ice, while a dedicated academic counsellor will ensure that student-athletes thrive equally in the classroom as they do at the rink.
“Our program focuses on building good athletes and good citizens by focusing on education and community stewardship, while also experiencing elite hockey competition and exposure to the next level,” said Andy Oakes.
Denver’s Arapahoe High School will host the academic program for the new Academy, while practices and games will take place at the Family Sports Ice Facility, in Centennial, CO. The strength and conditioning component of the program will be executed in partnership with the Drill House Sports Centre, which is located in the Family Sports Facility.
Brooke Wilfley, Founder, President and Head of Aces Sports Academy, will serve as Managing Director of the Okanagan Hockey Colorado Academy. She has spent the past four years dedicated to working with the local education and hockey community to create healthy pathways for student athletes, with an emphasis on academics and whole child development.
"We are excited to collaborate with Okanagan Hockey Group to provide student athletes with a holistic approach to education and elite hockey in grades 9 through 12,” said Brooke Wilfley, “We believe that this partnership will allow youth athletes the opportunity to develop athletically, with an emphasis in community commitment and character development, while also providing a traditional high school experience close to home."
The Okanagan Hockey Colorado Coaching staff will be announced in the coming week.
For more information on OHG and the Okanagan Hockey Colorado, please contact Jennifer Barnes at JenniferBarnes@okanaganhockey.com.
About Okanagan Hockey Group:
Okanagan Hockey Group was founded in 1963 in Penticton, B.C., Canada. Since its establishment, Okanagan Hockey Group has become an icon in the hockey camp industry and has grown to be the longest operating hockey camp in the world. In 2002, Okanagan Hockey Academy was established as the first hockey specific sport school recognized by BC Hockey and Hockey Canada. The success of the academy is evident in the long list of players who have moved on to play at the NHL, pro, WHL, Junior A, University and International levels. With our staff having a vast amount of knowledge, experience and an incredible network, our athletes have the inside track to move on to the next level.
About Aces Hockey Academy:
In 2018, Aces Hockey Academy was founded with the goal of partnering with local middle and high schools to provide youth hockey athletes, of all skill levels, with access to skill development without having to sacrifice a traditional academic experience. In 2020, founder Brooke Wilfley, with the support of local families and coaches, founded Aces Sports Academy, a full day, and traditional, private hockey school. Aces Sports Academy currently caters to student-athletes grades 4 through 8, providing instruction from certified teachers.
For information and interview inquiries please contact:
Alexandra Yallouz, Manager, Digital Media and Communications
Okanagan Hockey Group
In 2010 I was fortunate enough to play at the Okanagan Hockey Academy on the Midget Prep team. With coaches like Robert Dirk and Greg Holst it was an unbelievable year. I have to this day still never been on such a close-knit team. It was my first year of midget hockey and that meant a lot more travel. Playing in the CSSHL I got the opportunity to play in some pretty awesome spots. The league helped me learn to stay on top of school, which has helped me not only in college but also in junior. I was able to make an easy jump to junior and college academically with the help of Dave Nackoney, a guidance counselor at Penticton Secondary School who works with all the student athletes. To this day if I need anything he is always more than willing to help. It is the great staff that left such an impression on me, and made it possible for me to be where I am today.