The La Ronge Ice Wolves objective is to not only be successful on the ice but also to prepare our young men for growth in athletics, academics and to enhance their social and community awareness. To do this, Northern Lights Hockey Development, the governing board of the La Ronge Ice Wolves, has partnered with community members, educational institutions and schools to create as many opportunities for our athletes as possible. The community has a wide range of facilities and programs for players to continue building and working towards an academic goal. Our board of directors and coaching staff recognizes the importance of combining education and hockey to enhance scholarship opportunities.
Churchill High school & Senator Myles Venne High School
The two high schools offer the opportunity to finish curriculum classes in an effort to continue on pace to continue to gain credits while playing hockey so athletes can graduate on time at the end of the season. Each high school offers an array of credits for players who want a regimented and traditional classroom environment to build success. Both schools have guidance councillors who will assist in planning classes around practice times and the season in the best effort to assist our players in a successful year.
The Edcentre is a unique school in the north, that is a comprehensive online school. They offer an array of credits to help athletes graduate or to upgrade classes. The credits offered with the Edcentre are of the high school curriculum and accessed online. The entire course is laid out for them in assignment format, with assistance available from instructors. This is not a correspondence course, the head office for the Edcentre is in La Ronge, where instructors have office hours and are available to meet with students face to face , as well as through the course site.
Northlands College is a regional college that offers University classes through the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina. Northlands offers a number of degree programs but also a wide array of classes in the first and second year that are transferrable all over North America. Northlands College offers University courses in many different modes that give our athletes many different perspectives and prepare them for university. There are televised classes, face to face instruction, video-conferenced classes as well as online. There are also some blended courses that use a combination of two of these modes to support students through distance learning. The best thing about Northlands College University model is the use of Instructor Aides in the classroom to help facilitate course material and liaison for professors from the University. They work as tutors in a supportive classroom model to assist students.
Homework & tutor support
La Ronge is a smaller community with lots of supports for our players. Through Northlands College there are hours that students can work at the school in a quiet space to get some much needed work done, as well as to ask for help. The La Ronge Ice Wolves have a volunteer education coordinator to help facilitate information and choices to student athletes.
Northlands College offers the invigilation of the SAT exam, while the education coordinator offers SAT prep sessions, tutors and homework time to work on practice questions to prepare for the SAT exam.
The Northern Lights Board of Directors and the coaching staff for the La Ronge Ice Wolves feel strongly about supporting players through education. They feel so strongly that they pay for successful completion of courses and SAT exams. The La Ronge Ice Wolves work very hard to make the difference in the classroom, the community and on the ice.
ICE WOLVES' EDUCATION PROGRAM STRONG
While the wins have been hard come by this year for the young Ice Wolves, the players are investing in the future through learning. On-ice the players are working hard to learn systems of play under Head Coach Vossen and the coaching staff and progress is being made. Off-ice the players are being encouraged by Vossen to take advantage of the great partnership between the Wolves and Northlands College and take classes through our Education Program.
The next logical step in hockey for most Junior A players is to attend a Post-Secondary Educational Institution an play on the varsity team. The plum prize is a full ride scholarship at a U.S. NCAA Division I school. Scholarships and roster spots are also available for Division III schools. In Canada, most Universities and senior Technical Institutions have varsity teams that play in the CIS or other leagues. This is the route that Evan Vossen took in hockey, playing Junior for the Ice Wolves, Post-Secondary at McGill where the team won a national championship with him as Captain, through minor pro in the ECHL, and eventually back to the Ice Wolves as a rookie head coach.
Besides hockey skills, a player with aspirations to play university hockey is well advised to work on their academics while in Junior A. This is where the Wolves Education Program comes in. At the beginning of the season, the players meet with volunteer Education Coordinator Brandi Bell who is also the Senior Program Specialist at Northlands College. Brandi meets with the players and they outline their career and hockey goals. Brandi then recommends an educational program that will help meet those goals. The program range from high school classes to upgrade marks, to University level junior elective classes, to preparation and taking the SAT exams to enter U.S. universities.
This year has seen the highest uptake of the Education program ever. 6 players have signed up for 1st year U of S English, 3 players are taking Athabasca University Social Science Classes, 4 are upgrading marks for grade 12, and 10 have signed up for SAT examinations! The SAT exam results can be accessed by U.S. coaches, and make up part of the decision for acceptance.
The Ice Wolves have one of the strongest education programs in the SJHL, thanks to the encouragement by the organization and the coaching staff, and the partnership with Northlands College that provides classes, tutoring, one on one educational counselling, and focus on class arrangements that are flexible so that if the player is traded their education can go with them. Finally, the Ice Wolves organization reimburses players for tuition and fees for courses that are successfully completed.
As former Wolf, Lucas Nagel, who is now playing for the U of R Cougars says, ““take as many university courses as possible in Junior A. If you plan on playing University/College hockey the courses you already have will help with the course load in the future.”
It looks like the current Wolves are taking that advice and preparing well for the future, both on the ice and off.