The Cranbrook Bucks and Kootenay Christian Academy have partnered to start the Kootenay Hockey Academy, a non-profit with the goal of developing young local players.
Nathan Lieuwen, owner and president of the Bucks said they want to provide local players with the chance of developing the community, so they don’t have to move to other locations.
“We’re hoping to keep kids local, so they have an opportunity to play high-level hockey right here in Cranbrook until they’re ready to advance to higher levels,” he said.
The program will start with a U17 men’s group, but Liewen said they hope to expand it to include a women’s program as well.
“We’re hoping to get there at some point but we’re just starting with the one program for now.”
He said the academy has taken some time to get off the ground due to the hoops they had to jump through.
“BC Hockey and Hockey Canada have a lot of requirements to get these things going and it’s a big deal these days with so many academies across B.C.”
While the program was started with local kids in mind, Lieuwen said it could also attract other players to the area.
The program will consist of 36 games as well 150 hours of on-ice practice.
KCA will be in charge of the schooling, which will feature a custom education schedule to include on-ice practice into the school day.