Does a Hockey focused school make sense?

Playing higher level hockey is hard. Malcolm Gladwell’s book made it clear the successful are the ones that put in more time. Attending a hockey school provides more opportunity to train and thus potentially reach a higher level.

With the growth of the sport, limited hours in a day and increased competitive pressures many families are making the decision to look to a school that has a full time hockey focus. Hockey schools are not new but with the increased interest in sport across the country more schools are opening. In a typical 7 hour school day players may get 0 to 1 hour of athletic development. Instead of spending early mornings or late evenings at the rink families may find it beneficial to have a school that incorporates 1 to 3 hrs of ice and athletic development. This decision for some is very easy and others may be very difficult. Will the player burn out? Will there be enough academic learning? Can we afford the costs?

An effective decision to commit to a full time school must take in the following considerations and analysis of of potential schools.

  1. What is the quality of the education. Although hockey is your focus make sure the school has a strong curriculum followed with accountability and good teachers.
  2. A good student to teacher ratio and a good student to coach ratio.
  3. Is there opportunity to excel in other areas besides hockey? Remember when you were a kid. Unless you were a completely focused machine you probably took your time to figure out what you wanted to be and you changed your mind a few times. It is important the kids have this opportunity.
  4. Talk to existing families and families that might have left recently. Get a full unbiased perspective.
  5. Become involved in the school. Many schools are small and often can benefit from unique backgrounds each family can offer.
  6. Determine total costs. Analyze boarding cost vs. commute cost. There are many great values in private hockey schools and some are certainly overpriced but don’t pay for name, pay for education and training. This is not a college. Nobody cares as much where you went to high school. Some states like Minnesota high school plays a bigger part in hockey.
  7. Understand the hockey commitment. Is the player joining the teams also along with day training or are they just signing up for training. Sometimes there is a cost surprise when everything is added up.
  8. The key to fully understanding the programs is to have honest conversations with educators, coaches and other families.

It is not an easy decision and it is not good fit for everyone but hockey schools offer many great benefits for families.

We are preparing a list of some of the best hockey schools in the country. If your school wants to be added to the list please contact

The goal of is to be a advocate for talented youth hockey players. We offer need based financial aid to hockey players (no skill based aid sorry) along with opportunities for Elite Hockey Development. If you would like to participate in our programs and have a financial need don’t hesitate to email Good luck to all that participate in elite youth hockey and best wishes to all youth hockey families. To be notified of programs we run please apply.

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