Hockey Costs

New league strives to expand talent pool in academy hockey

The Junior Prospects Hockey League will drop the puck next season with five teams in Alberta and four more in British Columbia

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A new academy league is starting to give elite players another path to junior hockey.

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The Junior Prospects Hockey League will drop the puck next season with five teams in Alberta and four more in British Columbia. The league is a product of Silent Ice Sports and Entertainment and aims to provide players with a student-athlete experience in a competitive environment at an affordable price. .

“We spoke with SISE about the hockey landscape and where it is, and potentially where it is,” said Tyrel Spitzer, vice president of sports properties at Silent Ice Sports and Entertainment. “We talked about how to build something like this and what it would take.

“In October, we kind of took it seriously and started talking to different hockey professionals in different parts of BC and Alberta. We talked a bit about the concept and it just evolved from there.

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The league will feature two teams in Edmonton, as well as one team in Calgary, Lethbridge and Lloydminster. It will also have two teams in Vancouver, one in Kelowna and another in Victoria.

As a league without borders, players are allowed to sign up for any team and are not restricted by regions. The league will feature three age divisions; under 18, under 15 and under 14. Each team will be affiliated with a different educational partner in their respective city.

“They’re all hub-specific, so some teams will do their training in the morning and have their education in the afternoon, or vice versa, or some will combine their education with off-ice and on-ice training,” Spitzer says. “Each is a little different depending on the logistics of their education partners, but there is a direct link between education and athletics.”

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Academy hockey leagues are not new, as a number have sprung up across the country and more and more players are choosing to follow the academy route to develop their game. junior prospects seeks to give players another option.

“The way this one is different is it’s a top down approach so we share all the costs between our hubs so if a patch of ice is $200 an hour in Victoria and $100 in Edmonton then we share the cost at $150. “, Spitzer said. “So as a league we offer our program at one price, so you don’t necessarily have to leave the house to go and get a different amount or a different style of program. So as much as we could evolve, we were able to adapt to all the hubs.”

A place in the league will cost $12,500 in public school and $15,000 for private school.

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“We don’t just want to match the existing standard, we want to exceed it,” Spitzer said. “We didn’t want to sacrifice anything, because there are players who want to train during the school day and they want to train four or five days a week.

“They’re going for it anyway, because it’s available and you want to provide them with the best and you want to try to provide it. The other thing is to have a player who is really, really motivated, but can he also afford it? So you’re trying to get that to get to the biggest pool of players possible, get the strongest depth, and the strongest leaders all together.

The league is designed to help players reach the junior level, whether it’s the Western Hockey League, BC Hockey League or Alberta Junior Hockey League.

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“We concentrated the talent so to this day we would be the smallest league in Western Canada, and we tried to make it as accessible as possible, while offering what we believe to be the best development programs.” , Spitzer said. . “If a junior team looks at a player, they will encourage that family to go to the best place for their development.

“With this model, we want to take a 14, 15, 16 year old player, we want to develop these players, so when they come into junior, regardless of their age, they have an impact because they have had the best training that be accessible to them.

The league will play a fully balanced schedule as well as playoffs to determine a champion.

“Everyone plays everyone else in the league the same number of times, so the stats and standings will be legit,” Spitzer said. “We’re basically a Pacific league, we don’t play Alberta teams against Alberta teams with a bit of crossover with BC. It’s a legit league.”

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The league will also broadcast its games, giving scouts the opportunity to watch players at different times of the year. Players interested in joining the league can find information about its website (juniorprospectshockeyleague.com).

“We bring junior-level broadcast with color commentary and things like that,” Spitzer said. “So not only does it make it much more appealing for junior teams and team reps to be able to scout, but also for mom and dad, grandpa and grandma, they’ll get a much better product to watch from a distance. And we can do things with replays and player interviews between periods, which I think will be a really cool experience for the players, but also more of a show piece for the junior teams.

Email: [email protected]

On Twitter: @DerekVanDiest

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