The 19th Hockey Canada Skills Academy (HCSA) summer seminar is a return to
After staging virtual summits in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19
pandemic, over 70 hockey education delegates from all over the Great White
North will convene at Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary from July 7-9. HCSA
program leaders will hear presentations from experts and engage in
interactive exercises to attain insights on how to take their on-ice and
classroom instruction to the next level.
Drew McLaughlin, Hockey Canada’s manager of membership engagement for
school programs, says Hockey Canada is heartened and grateful that so many
educators enthusiastically enrolled for this experience during their summer
“So many of them are teachers or have some role in the realm of academia
day-to-day,” he says. “Understanding that this seminar is outside of the
typical school year, their commitment to excellence and wanting to
understand how to grow their program’s capacity to be more inclusive and
beneficial is appreciated.”
Three expert facilitators will deliver the National Coaching Certification
Program (NCCP) instructional stream components that will constitute the
core programming of the seminar.
Darren Rommerdahl, a player development coach with the Calgary Flames, will
guide shooting and scoring drills and impart on-ice and off-ice growth
strategies that attendees could apply to their elementary or secondary
Vanessa Hettinger, one of just two master skating instructors certified by
Hockey Canada, is commissioned to guide the seminar’s on-ice skating
presentation. A master instructor with Quantum Speed skating development
company, Hettinger will also share student athlete development tips for
players at and away from the rink.
Brett Dudar, a Hockey Canada trained skills coach and a High Performance 1
trained coach with Hockey Manitoba, has been tapped to demonstrate
small-area skills and offer counsel about effective player and practice
management. Dudar currently serves as the director of player development
for the Evolution Hockey skills development organization in Winnipeg.
Gina Kingsbury, the director of hockey operations for Canada’s National
Women’s Team, will be the keynote speaker. Ross McCain, the director of
athletic performance and manager of the Duckett Performance Centre at Edge
School in Calgary, will guide a presentation entitled A 360 Degree View on Student-Athlete Development.
Keen to foster strong Member participation in the seminar, McLaughlin said
he is pleased four senior provincial officials are joining the 2022 event
in a leadership capacity. The hockey leaders are BC Hockey’s manager of
athlete development, Dave Cunning; Hockey Northwestern Ontario’s interim
executive director and technical director, Jim Fetter; Hockey Manitoba’s
director of hockey development, Bernie Reichardt; and Hockey New
Brunswick’s technical director, Matt Vautour.
McLaughlin says this event, featuring a welcome return of the face-to-face
networking missing the previous two years, is poised to be enriching.
“There is a strong appetite among our attendees and across our 155 school
programs across the country to have access to this kind of professional
development, education and an opportunity to gather with like-minded
individuals to work on best practices and understand at a peer level of how
different programs operate.”
For McLaughlin, this will be his first HCSA summer seminar. He looks
forward to witnessing the thought-provoking ideas and innovations that will
emerge as hockey experts and academic professionals pick each other’s
brains. It is safe to suggest that each delegate in the room are wired with
a desire to ensure the HCSA nationwide footprint remains vibrant for years
The HCSA program will celebrate its 23rd anniversary during the 2022-23
school year. McLaughlin says he expects that the academy will be a course
offering in approximately 160 schools. On average, 5,000 students
participate in HCSA classes each year. A hallmark of every school program
is its accessibility. Any student, regardless of hockey experience, is
welcome to enroll in the unique educational experience.