Friday, January 28, 2011

OKANAGAN HOCKEY ACADEMY: STRAIGHT ANSWERS

Having had a son recently attend the OHA for a couple of years, the following comments might be of use to other potential OHA parents:

1. First class training facilities and ice.

2. Good quality coaching, particularly McLaughlin and Wesley.

3. Penticton High School is a very good high school, no drug issues, particularly for OHA players and the Pen High/OHA connection works very well, so don't listen to the rubbish about Pen High being a drug den.

Problem #1
The OHA does not play competitive hockey, rather a series of exhibition games combined with second rate tournaments. For a good to great player, ie., one who has a chance to make the WHL or BCHL at 16 or 17 the OHA is a waste of time. He will simply not be playing competitive hockey against the better players at or around his age. For a hard working player who is still a long ways from the top couple of rungs, the OHA would provide alot of training, ice time and some good coaching, which could be of a benefit for one year, no more.

Problem #2
Friends and family of OHA insiders, be they owners, employees or friends (see the cases of the Kerrs, Dirks, Playfairs...) These players will be placed on the top team without competition and regardless of their skills. Further, the top team that these players are on will enjoy a disproportionate amount of travel to the US for games.

Problem #3
The best interests of each player are way down the list in terms of the priorities of the OHA. Priority #1 for the OHA is filling their teams, so that if they consider that your son is a lock to play with them next year then your son will not be playing on the top team. They like to fill up the bottom teams, again with little regard for skill level, and keep the top team open for friends and the odd top prospect. The best way to deal with the OHA is to show up for your meeting with the powers that be, with your post-dated cheques in hand, along with a resume of your son's history and negotiate your son's position for the next year. A parent from Nelson did just that this year, as the OHA had previously told him that he son would have to try out for the Quad team,which generally means that he will not make the team, and by forcing the OHA to choose then and there, they guaranteed the player's spot on the Quad team. Don't pay the OHA the money before you have your son playing where you want him to play. This past year, in what seems to have been a rather desperate attempt to build a competitive dream team, and again with no regard for players who had worked hard the previous year to move up the ladder, the OHA brought in several purportedly high end players, again apparently on a free ride basis. Unfortunately, the team (the Quad team) has been a flop: can't beat the only semi-competitive two teams that they play regularly (The Edge from Alberta and Wenatchee); can't even win a AAA tournament (whipped by the second team from Notre Dame in the Kelowna final); and of course they don't even participate in the best tournament for "Quads", the Mac in Calgary. In my view, Major Midget is the only way to go for the solid 15 or 16 year old in the Province of British Columbia and it costs less than 1/3 what the OHA charges.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree with just about everything here except I know for a fact there is a big drug problem at OHA. His son obviously was not a part of that (a good thing). My son was not either, but many OHA kids do drugs and the access is right there on campus.

Anonymous said...

Althuogh i might agree with some of the post.I have to disagree with some of the writers thoughts as well. Just to set the record straight.....Oha did play Notre Dames top team at the Kelowna tourney. ND has reversed the names in the Midget division this season. Argos are top squad, Hounds are the next best 20 players. With this said, i might add that OHA was in the weaker of the 2 pools thus avoiding powerhouses Argos,Calgary's Edge Academy, Pursuit of Excellence, and highly regarded Thunder Bay, who were all in one pool scrapping it out. Thus an easier path to the finals for OHA. Moving on....the u-18 tournaments these guys are attending in the states is high calibre hockey with some of the finest talent out there. Don't believe me? Look it up.Do the research, do your homework. As far as Major midget is concerned I'm not going to dispute the calibre of play, but lets also admit that there are at least 4 teams in that league that are a complete joke.To wrap this up I would like to state that I cannot speak for OHA's other teams,but their top Midget team is playing some of the highest calibre hockey out there. If this was not true would'nt you think the Okanagan kids at these academy's would be playing on the Major Midget Rockets? Think about it!!!

Anonymous said...

just because of your name, doesn't mean you end up on the top team. Prime example is if you did your research and looked up both the varsity and junior varsity rosters. You would find two distinct last names with connections to the higher ups at OHA playing on the lower ranked teams.

Anonymous said...

particularly interested in the new girl's program - where I see they can win against the A level teams but are killed by the likes of POE. Edge and Warner. As far as I know no games agains the Okanagan AAA girls. Coaching seems good but they tend to fail to report losses in those suppposedly weekly updates they post.

Anonymous said...

you guys are really dumb, you know that, you are really really dumb. except for the third comment thats very true i know for a fact it is haha.

Anonymous said...

OHA's quad team is not eligible to participate in the Mac's tournament in Calgary because they are an academy. There has been conflict between The Calgary Edge and Mac's tournament in the past resulting in Mac's not letting any other academy's in. OHA's quad team did beat The Edge in the semi-finals of the Kelowna tournament making it to the finals thus stating that it was an 'easier path' to the finals is false. The quad team is highly regarded and would be a top competitor in the BC major midget league.

Anonymous said...

The truth and facts are that OHA was in a weak division. Everybody there was stating how the one division was stacked.Pretty much ruined what could of been a hell of a tournament. But that's what you get when coach Dirk is tight with the tournament co-ordinator. Just to prove my point, we look no further than OHA's record vs POE and Edge Academy this past season. Nough said

Anonymous said...

I am trying to do enough research to chose the best hockey academy for my child. My experience this far is that it is a game of roulette....which team, coach, billet, tournaments, even which bus transports them. Get the wrong one and you have paid to offer a disadvantage to your child. However, the players all seem happy regardless of whatever challenges they face (bullying, poor nutrition at billets homes, frequent bus break downs, over crowded hotel rooms, bad road trip meal planning....) Is any academy doing a better job of looking after the players? The front line workers (coach) should not bear all the responsibility. Their job is to coach. They need better support.

Anonymous said...

tarenThe cost is so high that you eliminate most if not all of the best players. So you have shit teams and average to shit players, except for the free ride players like Joe Hickets of BC. The coaching is decent but not great. Most importantly you practice with mediocre players at best and this is not good for any player that wants to play at the highest level. The games played are also not against the best. They play in the mediocre NAPHL and not against the best midget teams from Canada and the USA. This is huge as well! You would do much better making a major midget team or a USA tier 1 AAA U16 or U18 team and then spending extra money for extra skills development ice. If you spent a total of 10 grand for the season this way you'd see far far better progress in your sons. OHA is over 4 times that much and the boys are away from home to boot! If you must do an academy do the Dallas Ice jets in Dallas Texas...far cheaper and much better. DO NOT waste your hard earned money on OHA! For you wealthy parents...get your kid one on one and small group private ice sessions in your own city and keep your boy at home.

Anonymous said...

The last poster is 100% spot on. Good assessment and good advice!

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