Saskatchewan's first Hockey Canada 'sport school' has now been accepted into the Canadian Sport School Hockey League for the 2018-19 season.
The Prairie Hockey Academy, based in Caronport, Sask. (just west of Moose Jaw), began its inaugural season this past fall, with a bantam and midget prep program.
While attending Caronport High School, student athletes spent their first season playing in showcase tournaments and exhibition games against teams in Western Canada and the United States.
Now, PHA will be where they belong, as the 20th member of the top tiered prep league in Canada.
"Prairie Hockey Academy, in partnership with Caronport High School, is honoured for its acceptance into the prestigious CSSHL,” Justin Simpkins, president of Prairie Hockey Academy, said in a press release. “The CSSHL is known as a leader in education-based hockey and we share their vision for the holistic development of student-athletes. We are excited for the opportunity that this partnership creates for our student-athletes to continue their skill development on-ice and off-ice."
The bantam PHA program will compete in the CSSHL's Elite 15 division as the 12th team, while their midget program will be the 17th team in the midget varsity division, alongside nine prep schools from British Columbia, five from Alberta, one from Manitoba, and one from Idaho, U.S.
Across their seven total divisions, the CSSHL, originally founded in 2009, now has over 70 teams from their 20 different sports schools.
“To have the first ever Hockey Canada sports school from Saskatchewan joining the CSSHL is a great step in expanding the league in the Prairie region," Kevin Goodwin, chief operating officer of the CSSHL said in a press release. "PHA’s commitment to building life champions through hockey is what the CSSHL strives for in all of its programs and that makes them a great fit for our league.”
Although the CSSHL is a relatively new league, there are still a couple notable NHL alumni that got their start in it, including Matt Dumba and Curtis Lazar.
Last month, 12 former CSSHL players were on NHL central scouting's mid-term rankings, led by Spokane Chiefs defenceman Ty Smith, a Lloydminster, Alta. native who got his start with Delta Hockey Academy Prep in Delta, B.C.
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