Accelerated Athletics for Bonnyville

ENDHS hopes to bring new program with a focus on athletics.

Ecole Notre Dame High School is will pilot a new accelerated athletics program for the 2017-18 school year. The program will be appropriate for all sports, with a focus on developing hockey. “This is an exciting opportunity for advanced athletics training to take place locally for high school students,” explains CTS Coordinator, for Lakeland Catholic School Board Amanda Wildman.

Wildman presented to Town of Bonnyville Council on Tuesday evening during the regular meeting with a request for financial support to get the program going. As she explains, the program was conceived with hockey player in mind, but grew to so much more, “originally, we thought we would offer it as an accelerated hockey program for student. But as we started to consult with students and their parents about the potential of this program, we realized that we could offer accelerated athletics in other veins.” Cross-training, gymnastics, football, track, and volleyball have all been brought up as potential sports featured in the program.

The class would run with 25 students, entering Grade 9 in the 2017-18 school year. Should the program demand more than 25 students there will be options in place to expand to two classes. Students would train at the Centennial Centre in the morning, either on the ice, if in the hockey program or in the field house/wellness centre if in the other sports. In the afternoon students will continue with regular studies. Parents-coaches, Chad Cabana and Ryan Blocha were the driving forces behind the program and will coach the hockey training portion.  Physiotherapist, JF Bernier, has also agreed to jump on board. It is unknown who will coach other elements.

Wildman explains the goal is to keep the kids in town for as long as possible. Without an accelerated athletics program, especially for hockey, many kids end up leaving the community to train elsewhere. Parents have shown a real desire to keep the kids in town and at home for as long as possible, well advancing their athletic careers.

ENDHS anticipates the program will cost $3,187.50 for the use of the Centennial Centre, at a reduced rate for the ice of $85/hour. The request to the town was a monetary contribution of any kind to assist in the costs.

Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski, was in favour of the program; however felt the request for funds was a little premature, as the school had not yet sought after corportate sponsorships. “I’m fairly certain there’s some corporates that will jump on [an accelerated athletics] program,” Mayor has offered to assist the school in seeking out oilfield companies that may have an interest in becoming a long-term sponsor of the program; noting Cenovus, Canadian Natural, Imperial Oil, and Osum. “I do believe there’s an opportunity here, especially for an on-going sponsorship. That’s what we want to focus on.” Mayor Sobolewski went on to say he hopes every student that wishes to participate will be given the chance, “I don’t want any kids not to be able to participate because of the financial strain on the family.”