The Moose Jaw Minor Hockey Association is about to enter a new era of high-performance hockey programming -- and like many governing bodies for the sport all over Canada, making the game part of a regular school day will be a major component.
The MJMHA announced recently that they have entered a partnership with Village Sports and Global Sports Academy to offer programs for student-athletes in Grades 5 through 12 beginning in the 2022 school year.
“We’re super excited,” said MJMHA president Chris Flanagan. “It’s a great opportunity for students who want to be a part of a program that brings hockey into their school day, and we think this is an exciting opportunity not just for our association but for the community of Moose Jaw.”
Global Sports Academy already has a Saskatchewan footprint, having operated in Prince Albert since 2020 and having originally set up in Alberta in 2015. Conversations about how things operate and fit into education systems led to the MJMHA approaching Holy Trinity Catholic School Division about the program, and eventually things took off to where they are today.
The heart of the initiative will see male and female students in Grades 9-12 at Vanier Collegiate who enroll with GSA receive “cutting edge content and delivery, including skill development, ice times, multi-sport training, dryland training, leadership and character training and academic support sessions.”
Students in Grades 5-8 will be part of the Moose Jaw Morning Academy, which will also be a hockey-focussed multisport program focussing on position-specific development. Sessions will take place in the morning from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the Kinsmen Arena and through Gottselig Athletic Performance in the Golden Ticket Sports Centre.
Players will still be a part of Moose Jaw Minor Hockey and will have the opportunity to play for their respective representative teams.
Flanagan feels the program will offer a positive step forward for Moose Jaw Minor Hockey, moving along in a growing trend for the sport all over Canada.
“It just seems like we've always just been at a standstill, we're not moving forward, we're not moving backwards, we're just we're staying on course,” Flanagan said. “Hockey is changing in this direction, and we felt it was a chance to get on board with a really good program. So we’re looking forward to seeing it grow and develop.”
The program will be overseen by area manager and coach Curtis Pereverzoff, who as a coach with the U18 Tier I Saanich Braves won three regular-season championships and four playoff titles. He’ll be joined by Colten Smith, who will join the organization as a coach after running academy programs in Alberta as an on-ice skills coach, off-ice strength and condition coach and head coach of multiple U13 and U15 programs.
Pereverzoff will also serve as the head coach of U15 AA Warriors next season, with Smith taking over the U13 AAs.
“Both Curtis and Colten are very passionate about the game, and they came to us highly recommended,” Flanagan said. “So we're very excited that they decided to jump on board with minor hockey and actually move out here this summer.”
The key now will be to see how strong the response is to the new offering. Even with so many hockey options out there at the moment, Flanagan hopes Global Sports Academy will quickly find a solid home.
“People are entitled to options, and we hope this is an option that kids might be able to benefit from,” Flanagan said. “I personally think the response is going to be quite good, and we’re hoping it all takes off quickly.”
For more information on Village Sports and Global Sports Academy and to apply for Moose Jaw programs, visit www.villagesports.ca.