Posted by John Borst on Apr 10, 2018
Bill Reid, a KPDSB teacher and leader of the Hockey Canada Dryden Skills Academy shared the history and goals of the program.
In many ways, the Hockey Canada Dryden Skills Academy (HCDSA) story is part of Bill’s own personal story. Bill was born in Dryden and went to school here. A hockey scholarship at the University of Michigan got him into university. After graduation, he came back and worked in the Woodlands Divison at the local mill. In 2007, however, he was caught in the downsizing process and lost his job. Reid responded by going to The Faculty of Education at Lakehead University where he acquired a teaching degree.
Bill started by covering a maternity leave at New Prospect Elementary School in 2010 and for the next four years taught physical education. In September 2015, Reid was offered what he considered a “dream job” teaching at the just created Hockey Canada Dryden Skills Academy
In that first year, there were 25 Gr 7 & 8 students in the program including skaters and non-students.
The “hockey season” went from September to March with “dryland” training for rest of school year. To participate in the program the students had to keep up their academic work or they did not go on the ice.
In the Fall of 2016, the HCDSA program expanded to Grades 4 - 12 with an enrollment of 125 students, 40% of the whom were girls.
As you can imagine the cost of the course increased considerably.  However, almost a third of the children came from lower income families. With a minimum cost to outfit student at $500.00, community support was crucial to keeping the program viable.  The Canadian Tire Corporation also contributed funds from the “CTC Jumpstart” Foundation.
The biggest benefit of the Academy is on the ice activity through which the students learn to live a healthy lifestyle. They are also encouraged to get involved in other extra-curricular activities. They must also put in at least 5 - 10 volunteer hours a year while maintaining their grades.
Two added benefits are learning time management as they must be on the school bus early enough to play hockey. The program increases student attendance at school.
One student has been offered an opportunity of a university hockey scholarship in the USA.
After his talk, Bill was presented with a cheque for $4000.00 to help with equipment purchases for students.