January Sport Spotlight: Hockey

February 27, 2013 by  
Filed under Canadian Sport Features, Sport Spotlights

Europe has soccer. The Dominican Republic has baseball. Here in Canada, we have hockey. Hockey is our national sport – we eat, sleep, and breathe the sport. Many of our Saturday nights consist of sitting in front of the TV with friends and family taking in the sights and sounds of the game. It’s imbedded in our culture and is part of our national identity. There is nothing more Canadian than Hockey.

History of Hockey

Variations of hockey have been played around the world starting back in 4000 BC in Egypt. However, through the years, the sport has developed, and hockey as we know it today has been around since the 19th century. It is believed that the sport has evolved from outdoor stick-and-ball games adapted to the icy conditions of Canada by the British soldiers and immigrants to Canada. “Shinny” – an early form of the sport with no standard rules – was played in Nova Scotia, Montreal, Quebec City, Kingston and Ottawa.

The first official game of the sport took place in Montreal in 1875. There were nine players on the ice, no boards, 6-foot wide net, a puck, and 60 minutes of game time. The sport became increasingly popular from that moment on. Leagues started to pop up around the nation and the first world championship took place in Montreal’s Winter Carnival in 1883. From then on, the sport gained immense popularity and made it’s way over to Europe thanks to the efforts of Lord Stanley’s five sons.

Hockey in Canada Today

For many male and female high school students, the high school they choose to go to depends entirely on the caliber of the schools hockey program. There exists a number of great hockey development programs within high schools across the nation. Lets take a look at some of the best programs in Canada that are available to our future hockey stars today.

Okanagan Hockey Academy

The Okanagan Hockey Academy offers a hockey program that is comprised of education at Pendicton High School, hockey, off-ice strength and conditioning, mental training, and personal and team development. The program runs for 10 months out of the year by a staff of professionals that are dedicated to the growth and development of each student athlete.  The combination of the on-ice program, off-ice conditioning program and the mental training program provides an opportunity for maximum player development.

For more information on the Okanagan Hockey Academy, please visit


The Banff Hockey Academy

The Banff Hockey Academy (BHA) offers a ten-month program for college-bound male and female athletes. They hire only the most dedicated and hard-working staff to work with the student athletes. There are a limited number of students accepted into the program so that the coaches and educators are able to really focus on the students. There is a strong academic program where students are expected to focus on their education just as much as their hockey development. The BHA offers on-ice development, off-ice development and mental training for all student athletes. The BHA focuses on developing mind skills as they find them to be the most important factor in athlete development. These mind skills are confidence, persistence, teamwork and organization.

For more information on the BHA, please visit


Other Preparatory Schools offering great hockey programs

  • Blyth Academy – Burlington, Ontario
  • Brentwood College School – Mill Bay, British Columbia
  • Everest Academy – Thornhill, Ontario
  • The Hill Academy – Vaughan, Ontario

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