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Delta Hockey Academy aiming for a well-rounded experience There’s no mistaking the mandate of the Delta Hockey Academy when speaking with academy director Ian Gallagher. “We’re not a win-at-all-costs program,” Gallagher told HockeyNow. “We want these kids to really excel in the classroom, excel in their relationships and excel in hockey, too.”

Of late, it seems the academy’s top teams—they have four: bantam varsity, bantam prep, elite U15 and prep U18—are doing an exceptional amount of the latter. Among the academy’s accomplishments at HockeyNow’s press time, both bantam teams were atop their respective divisions in league play. The bantam prep team had won its last four tournaments, including the 37th annual John Reid Memorial bantam AAA hockey tournament, one of the best in the nation.

The academy, founded in 2004, started out as a supplemental program that focused on offering skills camps to players, including those attending other academies. But, before long, the demand arose for a full-fledged academy and competitive, elite-level teams. “The rationale was, one, our kids were leaving the community to go elsewhere, but two, kids and families in the hockey community were asking for it,” Gallagher said. Part of what the Delta Hockey Academy focuses on is offering a better lifestyle for hockey families. Using the academy approach, Delta is able to incorporate school and hockey into players’ daytime schedules and takes care of the transportation, communication and other aspects of delivering high-performance hockey. The goal is to relieve some of the stress that comes with being a hockey family. As for the recent successes of the academy’s teams, Gallagher said it’s not necessarily a sign that the program is hitting its stride in recent years.

They’ve always provided high-quality hockey programs, but, as he said, it has never been a win-at-all-costs model. “We’re just staying consistent with the values we’ve always had,” he said. “We want to create good citizens. We want to create people who are good members of teams. “We want to have high-performance athletes… but people who are not just capable of being successful in the hockey world.”