The Riverside Hockey Academy has been a part of Riverside for ten years. It started because there were many Port Coquitlam students interested in the game of hockey and Riverside wanted to provide an opportunity for the students to play everyday. Hockey Academy is a great program to sharpen hockey skills and meet other people who are passionate about the sport. Many of the students who are in Hockey Academy play hockey in a minor league, and the Hockey Academy keeps students in the game of hockey even during school.
The Hockey Academy can help improve hockey skills and provides an opportunity to play hockey throughout the week. The team meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at the Poco Rec Centre to get on–ice skill development and game scenario practice. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the team meets in Gym C to train off ice. At the rink, the day starts with a plan for the day, during the first half there are warm ups and and skill development. During the second half, there are game scenarios and scrimmages. The team gets divided up into two groups and play mini games against each other.
Riverside’s PE teacher, Jeremy Neufeld, is the Hockey Academy coach and has been a part of the team for the past six years. He was interested in the Hockey Academy because he played minor hockey growing up and loved the game. “Getting on the ice and engaging with the students is my favourite part of the Hockey Academy,” said Neufeld.
On October 30, Riverside had a friendship game against Centennial Secondary at Poirier Community Centre. They played a couple games and Neufeld said everyone had a great time. Centennial and Riverside are the only two schools in School District 43 who have a hockey academy, the friendship game was about playing against players they weren’t familiar with, and bonding with other players who are passionate about the sport.
Grade 9 student, Cole McDonell, started his Hockey Academy career at Riverside this year, while he also has been playing hockey outside of school for 11 years. McDonell said that when coming to Riverside, he took an interest in the Hockey Academy program because he loves hockey and wanted to gain better skills and experience.
Grade 10 student, Ari Stiver, is in hockey academy for his second year. He joined because he is very passionate about hockey and wanted to continue playing the sport. “It’s a sport that brings everyone together and hockey is something that you can very get passionate about,” said Stiver. Stiver plays outside of school on the Tri-City Predators. “Being in Hockey Academy helps improve my shooting and overall team play for the league I play on outside of school,” said Stiver.
Grade 11 student, Ethan Michaud, who is starting his third year of hockey academy said that his favourite part of the program is the atmosphere of the coaches and teammates because everyone is very friendly. Michaud has been playing hockey since he was four years old, and loves hockey because it’s an escape from reality. “You don’t think about anything else. Anything going on outside of the dressing room stays outside, just being able to hangout with your friends, then go play hockey, then back to the room to mess around with the guys is awesome,” said Michaud.
Sophia Nadalin, one of the four girls in the course has started Hockey Academy this year. She started playing hockey 10 years ago and plays on the Tri-City Predators. “Playing with the boys is something that motivates me to play better. It creates a greater level of competition” said Nadalin.
Roster: Justin Cecchetto, Braden Delesoy, Colby Delesoy, Jordan Duggan, James Eagle, Jack Gilligan, Tryston Hickson, Brendan Housden, Markus Jack, Owen LePine, Ethan Michaud, Jake Miller, Mackenzie Mills, Grady Minor, Connor Mora, Connor Moran, Daniel Moran, Sophia Nadalin, Ryan Orr, Ryan Parsons, Daniel Pugsley, William Reimer, Sam Ryznar, Sana Saleh , Junghoon Luke Sim, Ari Stiver, JUN Won Goalies: Conor Chisholm, Josh de Jong, Cole McDonnell, Darya Shlyk