Hockey academy coming to Strathcona elementary school?

Chilliwack's Strathcona elementary school hopes to become home to one of B.C.'s only elementary school hockey academies.

The man who spearheaded a successful hockey academy at Chilliwack middle school now hopes to do the same thing at a local elementary school.

Bob Young is now the principal at Strathcona elementary school, and he is working out the details for an academy that would provide on-ice instruction to a maximum of 25 students.

“It would have to be a bit different from the one at the middle school,” Young said. “It would be for kids in Grades 4-6, running twice a week out of Prospera Centre.”

Chilliwack Chiefs assistant coach Paul Nicolls would be the head instructor, with help from Young.

Nicolls is known locally as the operator of the Xceed Training Center on Hocking Avenue.

A former junior hockey player and minor-pro referee, Nicolls runs skating clinics for minor hockey players throughout the year.

“We want a big emphasis on skating,” Young said of the proposed Strathcona academy’s main focus. “You can work on other skills, and we would. But kids that age only have so much strength, and skating is the fundamental skill.”

The cost for parents would be $800, with money going towards facility rental, transportation and instructor costs.

Students would be expected to have a certain level of skating proficiency.

“They can’t be skating with those bars you see at public skating,” Young cautioned. “They would need some basic ability.”

The subject of an academy was initially broached at an information meeting in November.

Since then, Young has received 13 applications from Strathcona students, and another eight from kids who don’t currently attend the school.

With class sizes at Strathcona already at or near the maximum, Young doesn’t have the wiggle room to accept applications from outside the school.

With one exception.

“We are one of the district’s french immersion sites, and we have room to work with there,” Young explained. “If there are parents out there who are interested in having their child in french immersion and participating in the hockey academy, there may be room there.”

Young things he’ll know by spring break whether they’ll have the numbers they need to proceed.

For more info, Young’s email is bob_young@sd33.bc.ca.

The school’s main phone number is 604-792-9301 and inquiries can be made in person at 46375 Strathcona Road.