Morning Hockey Academy South – Grades 5 – 9
What are the eligibility requirements to attend the National Sport Academy?
Student athletes apply in January to June 2022 for the September 2022 to June 2023 training season. Student athletes in grades 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 are eligible to apply for the program.
Student athletes interested in the National Sport Academy program are invited to attend a National Sport Academy ice session as our guest. Training with the National Sport Academy is a great way to meet the current players and coaches and experience a National Sport Academy ice session.
A student must complete the application process with the National Sport Academy which includes:
- Complete the National Sport Academy online application ( the web link for the online application will be emailed to you upon request).
- Attend a current National Sport Academy ice session where an on-ice assessment will take place.
- Meet with the National Sport Academy coaches (usually after the on-ice assessment) to review the National Sport Academy program and how it operates.
To request an application please click here.
Making the National Sport Academy work with your school schedule.
Although many of the National Sport Academy student athletes attend RT Alderman School, there is no formal affiliation with RT Alderman School. For more information on RT Alderman School and to apply to the Science Program, please contact RT Alderman School at 403-777-7520 or RTAlderman@cbe.ab.ca.
In addition, student athletes may attend any school and train with the National Sport Academy. Please contact the National Sport Academy for more information on this option.
The National Sport Academy is partnering with the National Sport School to accommodate student athletes in grades 8 to 12. The National Sport School at WinSport is located on the beautiful campus at Canada Olympic Park and is perfectly designed to support and guide high performance student athletes teaching them how to thrive outside the traditional school setting while pursuing their chosen sport, earn a high school diploma and plan for the future post-secondary aspirations. No other school in Canada exists on a campus quite like the National Sport School at WinSport – a premier training facility collaborating with an onsite esteemed school.
For more information on how the National Sport Academy and the National Sport School work together to support the student athlete, please email the National Sport Academy or contact us at 403-777-3646. Tours are available of the National Sport School and the WinSport facilities the student athletes access for training.
How many ice sessions do the student athletes have throughout the year?
National Sport Academy Hockey targets 55 ice sessions per year but recognizing there may be school field trips etc. that may result in some students being unable to attend all of the ice sessions, we schedule closer to 65+ ice sessions throughout the fall and winter and 4 – 6 ice sessions in the spring. Although our target is 55 ice sessions we are usually at 60 – 65 ice sessions or more by the end of March.
National Sport Academy Annual Schedule / Plan
The student athletes train as two groups, grade 5, 6 & 7 and grade 7, 8 & 9 and experience a combination of drills, activities and small area games in order to develop individual skills and tactics as well as offensive and defensive individual skills / tactics and Hockey IQ. There is an emphasis on:
- Multi-directional skating & skating agility in order to effectively go away from traffic & pressure and find open ice.
- Skate from the waist down (so you can handle the puck from the waist up).
- Battling skating (in addition to straight line skating) to work effectively in tight spaces with traffic and pressure.
- Powerful skating – powerful long strides.
It is critical that each player develop sound skating mechanics in order to execute the skating skills required to compete at a higher level and in preparation for combining skating with high level puck handling skills.
- Handle the puck from the waist up (skate from the waist down)
- Develop width and depth in puck handling to increase the ability to release and receive the puck from various points all around the body for puck handling, passing & shooting. This is no easy task and takes repetitions over many years to become competent.
- Develop & reinforce proper puck handling mechanics on the journey to develop high level puck handling skills.
It is important to continue to develop high level puck handling skills combined with continuing to develop high level skating skills in order to develop high level individual skills and tactics necessary to be creative, innovative and deceptive.
Including the mechanics of puck handling required to pass the puck, National Sport Academy Hockey student athletes continue to develop good Hockey IQ to play away from the puck and the most important offensive team tactic – puck support.
Develop / continue to improve the skills to use puck handling mechanics (passing) combined with the offensive team tactics (passing) to generate:
- Team speed and team change of speed.
- Width & depth in attacks / multi-directional attacks, multiple attack options.
- Creative and innovative attack options for increased scoring opportunities.
- Puck support that provides teammates with pass options and the ability to be deceptive.
Improve all shots through purposeful practice.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition to become an excellent shooter and goal scorer.
- Release the puck from various release points around the body.
- Improve release – quick and deceptive release.
- Combine shooting with movement, skating agility and puck handling to be a deceptive shooter and goal scorer.
- Become a goal scorer by practicing in competitive game like situations.
Checking / Body Checking
Checking is everything we do individually and as a team when we don’t have the puck. Continue to develop (or introduce) the 4 steps of checking with a focus on the first three steps for the younger grades and all four steps for the older grades.
Step 1 – Skating, Positioning & Angling
Step 2 – Stick Checks
Step 3 – Body Contact
Step 4 – Body Checking
Similar to the higher levels of hockey, knowing how to check – to maintain defensive side positioning, knowing when to pressure and when to contain and having a good stick are just a few of the skills necessary to play the game when you and your teammates don’t have the puck. Improve on preventing opposition scoring chances and regaining puck possession so your team may go on offence.
Practical Application of Skills & Games – Competitive & Small Area Games
Competitive small area games – the practical application of developing skills and tactics.
It is important to work on advanced skills and tactics in a controlled setting but they must also be taken to a competitive game situation where they can learn how to use them.
Competitive small area games and competitive situations within the National Sport Academy ice sessions provide the opportunity to learn advanced skills and tactics, make mistakes, go do it again and get the coaching and repetitions to achieve improved skills, tactics and Hockey IQ that can be used with their club teams.
How does the National Sport Academy training impact the student athlete’s academic classes?
The National Sport Academy is a before school program that trains from 7:30 – 8:30 am three times a week at Southland Leisure Centre and 8:00 – 8:50 am twice a week at Willow Ridge Community Association. Student athletes / families are required to work with their own school in order to attend the ice sessions. As many student athletes attend RT Alderman School, the National Sport Academy provides bussing from Southland Leisure Centre to RT Alderman School. The National Sport Academy will attempt to accommodate requests for additional bus drop off locations for student athletes.
National Sport Academy Storage Room
Student athletes must each have a second set of equipment they store at Southland Leisure Centre in a heated secure storage room. Equipment such as skates, helmet and gloves, the student athletes will usually transport back and forth in a sport bag. Few, if any, student athletes use 2 pair of skates and we don’t recommend it due to the cost and unique rocker on each pair of skate blades.
Student athletes will bring their skates (helmet and gloves) from home to Southland Leisure Centre, access their equipment from the Southland Leisure Centre storage room, get dressed and train. After the ice session, they will place their equipment back in the Southland Leisure Centre storage room and take their skates (helmet and gloves) back to school to store at the school in order to take their equipment home at the end of the day. If you are a goaltender, please let us know and we will explain how the equipment is handled.
How do we receive feedback on our student athlete’s progress in the National Sport Academy?
National Sport Academy Hockey coaches are available to meet throughout the year when they are not leading training sessions with student athletes. In addition, there will be times throughout the year when we have scheduled individual coach / parent meetings that we hope you will attend. We know these dates and times won’t work for everyone so, we can’t stress enough that we can meet at any time the coaches are not working with student athletes.
Who do I contact for more information about the National Sport Academy?
There are many components to National Sport Academy Hockey and a conversation over the telephone or a meeting in person may be helpful. As we are with student athletes throughout the day, please send an email to Roger Wolfe or Jamie Armitage with your contact information and any relevant information and we will contact you.