Canada’s first field hockey academy in WV
This September, West Vancouver School District will become the first in Canada to open a field hockey academy.
Registration for the new program, run out of Sentinel and Rockridge secondary schools, is currently underway. So far, out of the 30 spots available to Grade 8 to 12 boys and girls, approximately 12 spaces have been filled The new academy is open to youth of all skill levels and the district is hoping to draw more male players to the sport. It will officially open its doors this September.
It’s hard to say whether the academy will attract students from across Canada, said Diane Nelson, the district’s sports academies principal.
“Certainly I see [the academy] being full because there are so many field hockey players across the North Shore,” she said.
Although field hockey doesn’t hit the media limelight as often as the district’s academies’ other sports — ice hockey, tennis, soccer and golf — there are more opportunities for the field hockey students to continue playing at post-secondary schoosl, Nelson said. The district is working on building relationships with university field hockey clubs.
“We are hoping to develop a pathway [students] can follow,” Nelson said.
Ambleside’s new artificial turf sports field was part of the inspiration behind the academy, Nelson said. The high-tech field is one of a handful built throughout B.C. Set to open before fall, the school district wanted to take advantage of its during the week day — when the field would likely not be booked.
“[The students] will be training all year round,” Nelson added.
West Vancouver Field Hockey Club has partnered with the school district to create the academy. Its head coach is three-time field hockey Olympian Peter Milkovich. From 2007 to 2010, Milkovich also was the technical advisor and assistant coach to the Canadian men’s Olympic program.
WVFHC head coach Andrea Gibson and senior national team player Antoni Kindler will work with Milkovich.
“It’s very exciting,” Nelson said.
The school district originally started the sports academies as a way of attracting students to its schools, she said. Today, with the majority of spaces in West Van schools accounted for, the academies are seen more as a way to enhance students’ educational experience, Nelson said.
To learn about West Van’s academies or register visit www.sd45.bc.ca or call 604-981-1150.