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Yale Hockey Academy moving to Centre Ice

Skills academies to be stopped in move aimed at freeing up space

The Yale Hockey Academy is on the move while two skills programs run by the Abbotsford school district receive the axe.

The Abbotsford board of education voted in December to relocate the Yale Hockey Academy to the renovated Townline Road Centre Ice facility.

Meanwhile, skills programs at W.A. Fraser and Yale Fraser Hockey will be halted in a move the district hopes will ease enrolment pressures on schools in the eastern portion of the city. There will be no new Grade 6 registrations in the Fraser program, and the board says the Yale skills program won’t have enough participants next year; non-catchment and non-district Grade 8 students at Yale will have to return to their neighbourhood school for 2018/19. The two programs cater to students playing on minor hockey teams but who are seeking additional coaching and training.

Students from Fraser are being encouraged to take part in an evaluation weekend in April for a new bantam varsity program proposed by the Yale Hockey Academy.

“The Yale Hockey Academy staff are working to develop new programs that will allow peewee and bantam minor hockey players the opportunity to continue receiving first-class skill development from YHA instructors and coaches. More information will be forthcoming about programs and camps for Abbotsford hockey players,” a release issued by the school district said. “The district remains fully committed to the Yale Hockey Academy program. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we move forward to strengthen these programs and services for our students.”

A report for the board suggested the Centre Ice owners hope to have the hockey academy as the “principal occupant” for the facility, which will include three classrooms, a meeting room, staff offices and a private weight room.

The report suggests the facility “will not significantly raise student fees,” which start at $13,500, and run to $21,500 for out-of-province players and $26,500 for international players. Three teachers will instruct players through a blended system that may incorporate multiple disciplines in the same class. The use of online classes will also be explored, school board chair Shirley Wilson said.

While the players will now be dropped off and picked off at Centre Ice, they will remain connected to Yale, and will have to take some classes – including those that require specialized equipment and labs like science – at the school, Wilson said.

Moving the Yale academy will free up space at the school, the board report says. Eliminating the Fraser skills academy could also help, with 71 of 110 Fraser students coming from out of the catchment area.

The report also notes that the skills academy’s current impact on Fraser means “educational programming and instructional delivery is compromised by a loss of instructional time.”