Unique academy-style model will focus on development and advancement.
Total Package Hockey is pleased to announce that it will provide hockey operations support for the launch of Orchard Lake Academy, a prep hockey program that will field teams at the 16U and 18U levels, and will be housed on the Orchard Lake Academy campus in Orchard Lake, MI, starting in the 2020-2021 school year. TPH will operate and support all elements of the OLA hockey operation, including the hiring of staff, building of critical infrastructure and implementation of the TPH Hockey Development Model.
“TPH is thrilled to support the launch of the Orchard Lake Academy,” TPH Director of Player Development and Managing Partner Brandon Naurato said. “Orchard Lake Academy will provide a unique academic and athletic opportunity for driven, goal-oriented hockey players who have a desire to learn about the process of becoming elite student-athletes, while receiving a first-class education, world-class hockey instruction and hands-on mentorship. We believe academy-style programs like the one being launched at OLA are the future of team training in North America. We are looking forward to implementing many elements of our Center of Excellence model on the Orchard Lake Academy campus, where student-athletes will have everything they need to grow.”
Helping to build the foundation of this Prep program, OLA has named Ryan Barnes to the position of Director of Hockey-Operations. Barnes brings an extensive hockey resume to OLA, including eleven years of coaching experience, seven seasons of professional playing experience as well as involvement on the player representation side of the sport, with Quartexx Management, an agency that represents some of the most household names in hockey such as Mitch Marner, Taylor Hall and Detroit Red Wings 1st round draft pick Filip Zadina. Barnes will oversee all elements of the hockey-operation at OLA.
“Ryan Barnes knows what the best hockey players in the world need to be successful both on and off the ice,” Naurato said. “His unique perspective as a former player, current coach and family adviser will give the OLA program credibility and set our student-athletes up for success in all areas right from the start. Ryan is a key piece for us in supporting OLA and we couldn’t be happier to have him in this role.”
Barnes echoed Naurato’s sentiments when expressing his enthusiasm about OLA.
“Orchard Lake Academy is a terrific concept, one that will strengthen the development of hockey players, especially for 16, 17 and 18 year-olds who may be ready for junior, but one more year may help them avoid being in and out of the line-up, assist them in moving up a level or just gain more confidence in preparation for the demands of the junior level,” Barnes said. “I am excited about being involved and having the opportunity to help TPH support OLA. The model is very pure and is designed to bring out the best in teenage hockey players in more ways than just on the ice.”
The structure of Orchard Lake Academy will be like that of a traditional prep hockey program. Structure, discipline and supervision will be hallmarks of the OLA program.
OLA differs from traditional prep hockey programs in a few ways, most specifically, the format of the academic experience. Program attendees will study in a “best of both worlds” academic environment that incorporates a hybrid classroom/online learning experience. Student-athletes will take traditional courses as well as three online courses through TPH’s official learning partner, Edmentum. OLA attendees will have access to the same rigorous, robust, NCAA-accredited courseware used in TPH’s Center of Excellence model. This hybrid approach will allow program attendees to achieve positive academic outcomes, while balancing the demands of a 50-55 game independent prep schedule.
“We believe the blended learning environment we create within our Center of Excellence allows student-athletes to pursue and maximize both their academic and athletic goals,” Naurato said. “OLA is a model that incorporates both on-site and online learning and provides an unmatched learning platform for student-athletes who are looking for a unique experience on the ice, off the ice in the weight room and more importantly, in the classroom.”
The on and off-ice experience Naurato mentions is linked to TPH’s Hockey Development Model, which will be implemented at OLA. On most days, OLA attendees will train on the ice twice per day- in the morning for 45 minutes, in an individual and small group training session that incorporates foundational and blended skills as well as habits, concepts and details that often do not get covered due to time constraints and limited ice time. In the afternoon, OLA teams will reconvene for a 50 minute practice geared towards team concepts, structure and systems, as well as a 45 minute off-ice training session designed to enhance the strength, speed, athleticism and endurance of all individuals, consistent with TPH’s vision for developing a true Hockey Athlete.
“The TPH Hockey Development Model is built on 7 pillars, starting with the character traits of the individual and then building right up to the structure that makes a successful team,” Naurato added. “We will apply our hockey model in a manner that is consistent with ADM standards for 16U and 18U High Performance Hockey Clubs. This will be done in an effort to maximize each individual’s athletic development.”
While quality vs. quantity encompasses TPH’s entire approach with OLA, this distinction is very relevant to the building of both the 16U and 18U game schedules. The 50-55 game schedule will maximize practice, training and study time opportunities that will
ensure no shortcuts are taken in the development process.
OLA Director of Hockey-Operations Ryan Barnes believes that while no one hockey-operations-related task is more important than the other, the building of a quality game schedule will be a top priority.
“We will seek to attend competitive, high-exposure events like the USHL Youth Fall Classic, NAHL Blaine Showcase, and various New England Prep tournaments,” Barnes said. “In addition, OLA will strive to schedule weekend series with established Prep programs like Shattuck St. Mary’s, Culver Academy, Northwood Prep, St. Andrews College, Hill Academy and Upper Canada College, to name a few. While the schedule is very much a sketch at this stage, our hope is to turn our vision into a reality and create a game schedule that is built around school and the lifestyle of an aspiring elite athlete, not the other way around.”
Building off Barnes’ point, whether referencing the game schedule, academic or hockey training blueprint, Brandon Naurato says that all the decisions being made with regards to the building of the OLA experience serves two purposes.
“For us in TPH, OLA is about teaching driven, dedicated 16U and 18U players how to become better hockey players, student-athletes and people, while providing every single individual an opportunity to achieve his or her academic, athletic and life goals. Individual development, individual advancement and team success all go hand-in-hand. Orchard Lake Academy provides Total Package Hockey an opportunity to give aspiring elite teenage hockey players a platform to fulfill their potential, while we live out our company vision, which is to positively impact the lives of student-athletes through the game of hockey.”