Skip to content

Solid start to season has Prairie Hockey Academy looking for big things in CSSHL campaigns

With Cougars in contention in every division, potential for some incredible results on the horizon

Back when the Prairie Hockey Academy first launched in 2017, the goal was to put together a set of teams that could compete year in and year out in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League while developing quality individuals in the process.

Given the size and scope of the CSSHL, that was always going to take time -- you don’t jump into a league with hundreds of teams across dozens of divisions without taking a few steps along the way.

Now, it appears all that work building PHA into a solid program is starting to show in the standings.

Heading into CSSHL play this past weekend, Prairie Hockey has teams in playoff contention in every division, with two of their crews straight-up fighting for first place overall in their respective league. That’s on top of their U15 team coming off a tournament win at the U18 AAA Wenatchee Wild Exposure Cup in Washington during the Nov. 24 weekend

It all makes for some exciting times out in Caronport, where the Cougars make their home in Barkman Arena.

“I think overall at the academy each of the four teams is having an improved season and we’re seeing a lot of positive results,” said PHA general manager and U15 coach Barret Kropf. “The same weekend we were down at Wenatchee, the whole PHA was 8-1, which is pretty fantastic. So I like where we’re at mid-break here and it’s a great spot for our guys to be in.”

The U15 Cougars are currently in ninth place in the 17-team CSSHL U15 Prep division, holding a 5-4-0-0 record through the first two months of the regular season. But they found an extra step in their game in Wenatchee, putting together a 3-1 round robin record over the tournament hosts, Victoria and Kamloops before falling to Seattle.

That sent PHA into the final, where they’d battle through another close game before taking a 4-2 win over Wenatchee.

“The state of Washington has added 40,000 players since they landed the Kraken, and their U15 team is ranked number on in Washington, so we knew we’d get some competition of our calibre,” Kropf said.

“We had some close games, and when you’re in games that matter you learn how to close teams out or you learn how to battle back and win, and we did both things that weekend,” he added, pointing to one victory that saw PHA tie the game with 24 seconds remaining and then win with less than a second on the clock. “That really gives your players some confidence, and we even got some production from our third and fourth lines, which was nice to see as well.”

The PHA teams in the older divisions have also been seeing all sorts of success.

Two teams are seeing action in the U17 Prep division, where the Cougars Blue are currently in 22nd place in the 33-team league with a 5-6-1-0 record, while the Cougars White are feeling rarified air as they hold down fourth place with a solid 11-2-1-0 record.

“That’s mostly a team made up of 08s with a couple of older kids and they’ve been finding a lot of success early, which is awesome,” Kropf said of PHA White. 

Then there are the U18 Prep Cougars, who have an 8-3-1-1 record to sit in fourth place and are a single winning weekend away from potentially moving into first. That crew has attracted all sorts of attention in the early going.

“(Coach) Dustin (Friesen) and the U18s, he has those guys just cooking with diesel right now,” lauded Kropf. “I’ve had people who’ve seen that team practice and they’re amazed. “They practice with so much pace and high-level execution when they get into the game, it’s almost like the game is easier because for five days a week they’re pushing the pace.”

The key now will be keeping everything going in a positive direction, with the next step taking place in the coming days.

All four PHA teams have dates coming up in Notre Dame, with the U18s in Wilcox on Friday, U17 White making the trip Saturday and the U17 Blue playing their first league game in nearly a month on Sunday. The U15s round out the run when they visit the Hounds Tuesday.

You can follow along with all the scores at and keep up to date with Prairie Hockey Academy on Facebook at

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks