Clearwater Secondary looking at hockey academy

The school board will make its decision on Coates' hockey academy proposal during its meeting on Monday, March 24

Should hockey be part of the curriculum at Clearwater Secondary School?

Principal Darren Coates has presented a proposal to the board of School District 73, asking for approval to have a hockey academy at the school.

CSS is only about 100 meters from the hockey arena at the North Thompson Sportsplex, he pointed out.

S.D.73 have an agreement with the arena’s owners, District of Clearwater and Thompson-Nicola Regional District, that allows students to use the facility without charge during regular operating hours.

Coates also pointed out that Clearwater has a vibrant minor hockey program already.

The head coach for the hockey academy would be Bianca Mirabella.

The local teacher holds Hockey Canada Development 1 certification and has coached at hockey camps in Kamloops and in Clearwater. She played hockey for four years (2007 – 2001) while at University of Toronto, as well as playing two seasons (2004 – 2007) of Junior A in Toronto. She was formerly assistant coach of the UBC Women’s Thunderbirds. Mirabella presently plays with the Kamloops Vibes, an elite senior A women’s team.

A number of potential guest coaches have been identified, including former professional hockey player Olaf Kjenstad, presently a Clearwater realtor.

The proposed program would be similar to a hockey academy that is based in Valleyview Secondary in Kamloops.

It would be certified by Hockey Canada and would teach Hockey Skills 11, which is a school board approved course.

Students would spend two or three classes on the ice per week, plus do dry-land training and learn about hockey theory, nutrition and sports psychology.

Fees for one semester, based on 22 students, would be $300.

As per school board policy, no student would be denied the opportunity to participate because of financial hardship.

There has been extensive consultation on the matter, Coates said. It has been discussed at parents advisory committee meetings, through the school newsletter, and with a survey to parents.

Some were concerned about reducing the number of academic courses available by one. Others felt the hockey program might lead to academic success for students.

A survey of parents found 17 girls and 33 boys who might participate.

According to a 2012 article in the Kamloops Daily News, the Valleyview hockey academy had 80 applicants (including one from Germany) for the 50 spots available when it first started up.

Cost of the Valleyview program was $900 per semester.

The Valleyview students needed to be bussed to Memorial Arena for ice-time.

The school board will make its decision on Coates’ hockey academy proposal during its meeting on Monday, March 24.