HISTORY OF PROGRAMS
In 2009, five like-minded Hockey Canada Accredited Schools came together to launch the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Their vision was to establish a league designed specifically for elite level student athletes, give these athletes an opportunity to increase their skills on and off the ice, and provide athletes with a high level of competition as well as exposure. The inaugural 2009-10 season featured five sport schools and eight total teams spread across two divisions.
Over the years, the CSSHL has grown to encompass 26 Accredited Schools/Schools with Residence and 84 teams in six different divisions.
2009-10 – Founding Members
- Banff Hockey Academy, Edge School, Okanagan Hockey Academy, Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy and Swiss International Sports & Education Centre
- Wenatchee Wild added
- Wenatchee Wild leaves the league after the 2012-13 season
- BWC Hockey Academy, Compete Hockey Academy, Delta Hockey Academy and Yale Hockey Academy added
- Pacific Coast Hockey Academy and Shawnigan Lake School added
- Compete Hockey Academy changes to Coeur d’Alene Hockey Academy
- Northern Alberta X-Treme and Okanagan Hockey Academy Edmonton added
- Swiss International Sports & Education Centre changes to International Hockey Academy
- Notre Dame Hounds, Pilot Mound Hockey Academy, Rink Hockey Academy Winnipeg, St. Mary’s School and West Van Academy added
- St. George’s School added
- Prairie Hockey Academy added
- Eastern Division added
- Canadian International Hockey Academy, Hill Academy, Mount Academy, Okanagan Hockey Ontario, Ontario Hockey Academy and Westlake Bourget College
- Banff Hockey Academy changes to South Alberta Hockey Academy
- Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy changes to Rink Hockey Academy Kelowna
- West Van Academy takes a one year leave of absence
- Coeur d’Alene Hockey Academy takes a one year leave of absence
- Coeur d’Alene Hockey Academy returns after a one year leave of absence
- West Van Academy rebrands as North Shore Warriors
- Indigenous Sports Academy and King Heights Academy added
- Bishop’s College School, Champions Hockey Academy, STAR Hockey Academy at KVHA, Ulysse Academy, and Wenatchee Wild added
In 2009, five like-minded Hockey Canada Accredited Schools came together to launch the Canadian Sport School Hockey League. Their vision was to establish a league designed specifically for elite level student athletes, give these athletes an opportunity to increase their skills on and off the ice, and provide athletes with a high level of competition as well as exposure.
The inaugural 2009-10 season featured five sport schools and eight total teams spread across two divisions. During the 2023-24 season, the CSSHL will feature 32 Accredited Schools/Schools with Residence and 111 teams in seven different divisions.
All programs within the CSSHL are sanctioned Hockey Canada Accredited Schools or Schools with Residence, meeting the regulations of not only Hockey Canada, but their respective provincial or regional members.
The CSSHL continually strives to be a leader in education based hockey in North America. The objective of the league is to provide a competitive environment for young student athletes that share similar values of Sportsmanship, Citizenship, Academic Excellence and Hockey Development.
When the CSSHL was founded in 2009, the focus was not only placed on hockey but that education of young student athletes is of the utmost importance. Our programs have a structured yet supportive environment to help balance academic work loads.
With the uniquely structured academics and learned time management skills, the student athlete has the opportunity to chase their goals without compromising their education.
CHARACTER AND CITIZENSHIP
The CSSHL prides itself on not only developing student athletes on the ice, but also inspiring them off the ice. Student athletes leave our programs prepared for the next step in their life, whether it be post-secondary education, the work force, or wherever their path may take them. Off-ice conduct is taken very seriously in the CSSHL, from appearance to behaviour. Because of the standards we keep, we feel our student athletes come to us as teenagers, but leave as young adults.
The majority of games in the CSSHL take place on weekends, in a showcase format. Programs in each division take turns hosting these Showcase weekends, which sees multiple teams in one location playing multiple games. This format cuts down on travel time, as well as school days missed. Teams will also play a small number of flex games through the season on non-showcase weekends.
Our student athletes are on the ice almost every day. During the week, student athletes take part in structural practices and skill development sessions. Each team works closely with their respective program’s strength and conditioning coach, as well as various other off ice seminars such as video work, mental training and nutrition.
Kevin Goodwin – Chief Operating Officer
As the Chief Operating Officer, Kevin is responsible for the successful management, initiatives, and administration of the CSSHL.
A graduate of Okanagan University College, Kevin has been involved in all aspects of the game, which includes on-ice officiating, and coaching or managing teams from the U6 to U18 levels.
He has been involved in in the CSSHL since its inception, including the initial meetings to setup the League in 2008. Kevin was named the CSSHL’s Executive Director in 2013 and then was named the Chief Operating Officer in 2016. He is a part of the Hockey Canada Accredited School assessment teams with BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta and Hockey Manitoba.
Jordan Martin – Manager, Media & Communications
Jordan started with the CSSHL in 2021 and is responsible for the production, publishing and editing of all necessary digital content on all social media and website platforms.
Before joining the CSSHL Jordan spent three seasons in the league with the Northern Alberta Xtreme (NAX) as Marketing & Communications Manager. Prior to his time at NAX he attended MacEwan University, earning a degree in Bachelor of Communication Studies, Majoring in Journalism, while covering the University sports teams. He has spent time developing his skills working for SportsMEDIA Technology, the Leduc Representative and Merit Contractors Association.
Michael Suttnig – Manager, Operations
Having spent one season in the CSSHL last year as head of CSSHL Discipline, Suttnig joins on a full-time basis as Manager, Operations. Suttnig will assist the CSSHL Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Goodwin, with league operations including schedules, rosters, discipline, ensuring league standards are meet and more day to day operations. Suttnig, who was born in Austria and played professional hockey there, was recently Commissioner for the international Junior leagues (U20 and U18) of the Ice Hockey League and Alps hockey League where he was responsible for the development and implementation of new programs such as special sport events, development weekends and international tournaments.
Carl Michaelson – Eastern Canada Coordinator
Current Co-Founder, and Head of Recruitment & Scouting for CSSHL member program Bourget College, Michaelson joins the CSSHL League Staff as Eastern Canada Coordinator. Michaelson comes to the CSSHL with a highly decorated resume, having worked in various roles at both the elite minor hockey, junior stream and a total of six years coaching in the NCAA and European professional leagues. In his new position Michaelson will be responsible for guiding the Eastern division growth and expansion, while providing league insight and standards at showcases and other events.
Brad Lazarowich – CSSHL Officiating and Discipline Coordinator
Brad is responsible for officiating development; evaluating officials, providing them with feedback, speaking with officiating assignors, providing the league with feedback on areas on improvement, potential ways of increasing the number of officials for the game of hockey and ways to improve the respect between officials, coaches and athletes.
A long-time linesman in the NHL, Brad retired in 2016 after working 1,971 games, which included three Stanley Cup Finals, the 1996 World Cup and 2004 World Cup, along with the 1996 NHL All-Star Game.
Brad is currently the Director of Officiating for the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), the Officiating Director for the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL).
Jodi Smart – Bookkeeper
Bio to come…
Kai Farenholtz – Video Editing Assistant
As Video Editing Assistant, Kai is responsible for assisting in all video content creation such as highlight clips and packages.
Farenholtz joins the CSSHL in a full time role as Video Editing Assistant. A recent graduate of the Radio Arts & Entertainment program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), Farenholtz most recently completed an internship with the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) where he was responsible for creating written, graphic, and video content throughout the 2022 playoffs.
Tammy Berge – Sponsorship Coordinator
As Sponsorship Coordinator, Tammy is responsible for actively seeking out sponsorship opportunities for the CSSHL.
Tammy has experience in branding, event management, strategic planning and national product launches with companies such as ProFound Talent Inc., Scotiabank, Oriac Trading Company, and Diageo Canada.
CSSHL INDEPENDENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS
George Crookshank – Chair
From Vernon, BC, Crookshank is a passionate believer in the strength and integrity of the CSSHL and the importance of its role, both academically and athletically and in the development of young men and women looking to pursue their hockey ambitions. He played junior hockey in BC and then four years on a full scholarship at Minnesota-Duluth (1979-1983), graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communications and a minor in Psychology. He has 20+ years of minor hockey coaching and hockey school experience. In Crookshank’s professional career, he built a very successful advertising agency (Drum Communications) which was ultimately purchased by a global leading agency Saatchi & Saatchi/Publicis. He has wide ranging business skills enabling him to build great, collaborative teams to get the best out of every member.
Denise Allen – Director
Residing in Baddeck, NS, Allen is the President & CEO of the Food Producers of Canada and the Vice-Chair Board of Governors, Cape Breton University. Denise works collaboratively with government, senior bureaucrats, and regulators to improve Canadian business competitiveness. Her passion and strong sense of community and engagement has her participation sponsor various community development initiatives and charities. Allen is interested in serving the CSSHL Board utilizing her business and governance experience with advocacy for female hockey.
Cass Bruni – Director
Bruni is located out of Calgary, AB and has an educational background that includes a CFA designation, a Law Degree, and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering. Bruni is a former junior hockey player and has attended numerous CSSHL events and showcases as a scout with the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League (WHL) over the last seven seasons. Along with his hockey experience, he obtained diverse corporate experience in his current role as an investment banker with RBC Capital Markets, a corporate lawyer with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, and as a Process Engineer with NOVA Chemicals. His collective experiences and education provide him with insights on governing principles, decision making processes, due diligence, and skills on the board required to effectively govern. His time at Blake’s provided him with experience in serving smaller scale private firms and not-for-profits on bylaws, policy, and good governance practices.
David Grout – Director
Located in Vancouver, BC, Grout has over 21 years of experience as a corporate lawyer, first in Calgary at Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer, then as Associate General Counsel with the Alberta Investment Management Corporation in Edmonton. Most recently, in 2021 he became General Counsel of Wesgroup Properties in Vancouver. He served six years on the Board of the Missing Children Society of Canada, a Canadian Not-for-Profit Corporation located in Calgary, and was a co-instructor of Mergers and Acquisitions at the University of Alberta Law School. Grout believes he can provide strong leadership and welcomes the opportunity and challenges that will face the CSSHL’s inaugural Board.
Louise Lalor – Director
Lalor has 20+ years of experience as a CPA in senior finance roles across various industries and has worked closely with external Boards. Her current role is Controller, Hillside Winery & Bistro. She also serves as a Director on two boards: one of a privately held winery and the BC Grape Growers Association where she acts as Treasurer. Lalor has a practical and entrepreneurial business approach developed through her experience working in a wide variety of profit and not for profit organizations in North America and Europe. As a Board member, Lalor will lead by being informed, prepared, ethical, connected, and engaged with the CSSHL community.
Jon Neutens – Director
Neutens is currently VP & Head of Agriculture at ATB Financial (formerly Alberta Treasury Branches) overseeing financial planning, strategy, and lending operations. He previously held executive leadership roles at Syngenta and Nufarm, and served on the industry governance boards of CropLife Canada and CleanFarms Canada. Prior to those roles the Cochrane, AB resident founded and owned a successful software business. Neutens is committed to supporting the CSSHL’s Mission of providing a premier platform to nurture young athletes to fulfill their academic and hockey endeavours.
Michael Shouldice – Director
Shouldice has been involved in learning and sport since 2009. He is currently Manager, Partnerships and Collaborations for Athabasca University. While at Athabasca University he has worked with the Western Hockey League, Professional Hockey Players Association, and the CFL Players Association developing and managing education focused partnerships. He has governance experience with Edmonton based minor soccer, where he currently resides, and served as a Board Member and Board Chair of the Canada Place Child Care Society.
EXECUTIVE OPERATIONS COMMITTEE
Chairperson: Andy Oakes
Andy is currently the President of Okanagan Hockey Group Inc. (OHG). Under his leadership, OHG has expanded operations into Europe, United Kingdom and Eastern Canada. In 2002, Okanagan Hockey Academy was the first hockey sport school recognized by BC Hockey.
As a leader in the industry, Andy has been instrumental in working with hockey governing bodies to establish Accredited Schools in Canada. He is a member of the Hockey Canada’s Sports School Committee, which has been working together since 2007 to establish Hockey Canada Accredited Schools. Andy was elected as the Chair of the BC Hockey Schools Committee from 2014 to 2018. He was a BCHL Executive Committee member for five years and was awarded BCHL Executive of the Year for two consecutive years, 2009 and 2010.
Andy is a founding member of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL). Andy has held multiple positions on the Board of Directors since the leagues inception, including Vice-Chairperson (2012-2013) and Chairperson (2011-12 and 2013 – present).
Andy’s passion is hockey. Not only does he work daily in this field, he gives back to his community by volunteering as a coach with Penticton Minor Hockey Association.
Vice-Chairperson: Jason Stewart
Jason has been actively involved in player development and coaching hockey since 2004. As a certificated High School teacher, he has worked in various teaching roles at the Edge School in Calgary, Alberta and St. Francis Xavier High School in Edmonton, Alberta while coaching both AAA club hockey and academy hockey for the past 16 years. Jason has also been actively involved with the Western Hockey League working with the Swift Current Broncos from 2007-2018 and currently with the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Education based hockey and player development have always been a passion for Jason and he was on the ground floor in his role at Edge School with the inception of the CSSHL. Currently, Jason sits as the Vice-Chairperson for the CSSHL Executive Committee and the Owner/President of the Northern Alberta Xtreme program and Dynamic Hockey Development.
Treasurer: Ryan Cyr
Ryan has been involved in the hockey development business for the last 15 years. Upon retirement from playing, Ryan continued to follow his passion for hockey and got into the business and administrative side of the game, opening up GDI Goaltending in Winnipeg, MB (now RINK Goaltender Development) in 2007.
For the past 11 years, Ryan has held numerous rolls within the RINK business, including General Manager, and has been the President since 2015. He was instrumental in the creation of the RINK Hockey Academy which is a Hockey Canada Accredited School that competes the Canadian Sport School Hockey League and has two locations, Winnipeg, MB and Kelowna, BC
Ryan was the Goaltending Coach for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs from 2011-2019 and former Goaltending Coach for the WHL’s Regina Pats from 2007-2011.
From a playing perspective, Ryan played six years of Junior hockey, spending time in both the BCHL and WHL. Ryan then went on to play professionally in the ECHL, UHL and AHL.
Eastern Governor at Large: Andre Savage
With extensive experience in the NHL, AHL, NCAA, Germany and Sweden, Andre brings a wealth of practical knowledge to the CIH Academy coaching staff. Andre joined CIHA in 2012 and is currently the Hockey Director and Head Coach for the Voyageurs. He brings a professional approach and demonstrates true leadership. His focus on the development and attention to detail brings out the best in the young hockey players both on and off the ice.
Western Governor at Large: Ian Gallagher
Ian has led the Delta Hockey Academy since its inception in 2004. He designed and implemented the South Delta Secondary Hockey Academy Skills Program and has grown the academy to include 8 competitive teams in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL). Ian is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Delta Hockey Academy with over 25 years experience working with professional and amateur players, including 12 years with the Vancouver Giants (WHL) from 2004 to 2016. Ian earned his Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta and taught for 15 years in the Edmonton School District.
Secretary: Jason Kerswill