Kids honing their on-ice skills

By James Allum, MLA for Fort Garry-Riverview

As published in The Sou'wester February 21, 2017

<p>By James Allum, MLA for Fort Garry-Riverview</p>

<p>As published in The Sou'wester February 21, 2017</p>

James Allum (MLA for Fort Garry-Riverview) practising his skills and drills with Grade 7 students in the Churchill Hockey Academy.

This year, Churchill High School started an interesting new program featuring fun, fitness and fundamentals.

It’s a Hockey Canada-certified academy and it’s truly a growing concern, with fabulous players combining their skills with the best of academics. Recently I joined the daily morning practice session with these Grade 7 students and I could barely keep up!

The 26 students entered the Churchill Hockey Academy last fall and for them the program will continue through their years at the school. The academy will take in more students this year and had an encouraging turnout to a recent open house.

The Academy program is an extension of Churchill’s longstanding tradition of academic, athletic and artistic excellence, using hockey as a way to keep students engaged and enthusiastic about their own potential.

Students are enrolled in all the core academic courses from either Collège Churchill (French language) or Churchill High School (English language). The curriculum also includes home economics and industrial arts. The schools offer many other extra-curricular activities as well.

As for hockey, "the academy is designed to complement and enhance skill development opportunities with a specific focus on skating, individual skill development and becoming a strong student athlete."

Collège Churchill and Churchill High School deserve high praise for this new program. It has been well-received by the students and their parents who seem very pleased with results, reporting improved self-confidence and improved academic performance. One parent relates that her child is "passionate about school this year. The hockey academy has sparked something in him that is not just hockey-related but is school related."

During my visit to the practice, I had a chance to speak with the administrators of Churchill High School.

They say it has been a pleasure to watch as the hockey academy develops its program. Principal Donna Miller shared the students’ views on the academy, who say that going to practice before school every day really helps them focus on learning and striving for their personal best both on and off the ice. For vice-principal Dominic Zagari, the hockey academy "is a true reflection of the school in that teachers and instructors work collaboratively to focus students’ energy and passion on the ice and in the classroom."

For those interested in the Churchill Hockey Academy, please call Churchill High School at 204-474-1301.

If you would like to get in touch with me you can call my office at 204-475-2270, or email me at