Just two years after its inception, the innovative hockey program, which incorporates on and off-ice training into the regular school day, freezes out the competition
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif., April 6, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The ice hockey program at Fairmont San Juan Capistrano has been getting a lot of attention since its formation in 2021. People from all over California have taken notice of its impressive rise during that short time, particularly after they captured the Division 1 title in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League (ADHSHL) – besting teams like Orange Lutheran and Santa Margarita Catholic High School – and earning an invitation to compete at the state level.
A Program Like No Other
But it’s not just the team’s record that people are talking about. There’s also quite a buzz surrounding the innovative way Fairmont incorporates its athletes’ on and off-ice training into the course of the actual school days. “Four days a week, our players skate on a rink for their first period class before jumping on the bus to the campus for their academic and athletic training classes,” said Dack Petersen, General Manager of Fairmont Hockey. “While other hockey players aren’t getting home until the evening, our athletes are wrapping everything up – school, skating, strength and conditioning, speed and agility – by 4:00 in the afternoon.”
Petersen first approached Fairmont about starting a hockey program in 2019 and had a clear vision for what he wanted that program to look like. “There are lots of serious hockey players out there and I was looking for a way to create a program where they could get not only exceptional training but also an exceptional education. I was very familiar with Fairmont’s reputation for academic excellence. I also knew that they had some street hockey experience and were always on the cutting edge of introducing new opportunities to their students. I approached the school’s leadership and, thankfully, they agreed.”
A Pandemic Pause
But then came COVID, so the program was put on hold for two years. Petersen took advantage of this time to put things in place so they would be ready to hit the ground running once cleared to return.
For its part, Fairmont made the strategic decision to launch the program at its newly acquired campus in San Juan Capistrano, where they were investing considerable resources into developing athletic programs which would appeal to high-level athletes. One such program is Fairmont Athletic Academy, which caters to elite middle-school athletes and partners with organizations like Strikers Soccer Club – Orange County’s #1 youth soccer club, and Tstreet Volleyball Club – California’s #1 volleyball club.
Success Beyond Their Expectations
A lot of things have happened since hockey’s inaugural 2021-22 season. “We set a goal of having a strong JV team by the end of our second year,” said Petersen. “Not only did we meet that goal, but we exceeded it because that team was elevated to a Varsity D-3 level within the first month of our first season. We have also added Varsity D-1 and Varsity D-2 teams since we started the program – something we didn’t expect to do until our fifth year.”
A big part of this success, said Petersen, is due to the partnership Fairmont entered into with West Coast Academy, whose co-founders, Kevin Bieksa and Dean Caban, shared the same priority as the program: helping young athletes reach the highest levels in hockey and in life. Bieksa played professionally for 15 years, including three with the Ducks, and is a well-known television broadcaster and analyst. Caban, widely recognized as a student of both the science and art of hockey, has been coaching elite players from all over the world for two decades.
Another contributor to Fairmont’s success is the high-caliber off-ice training athletes receive through the school’s partnership with The Treigning Lab, which leverages science and technology to maximize performance and develops cutting-edge, personalized training regimens for each individual athlete.
Fairmont hockey has come a long way in a very short period of time. But Petersen isn’t content to rest on its laurels. He has plans to expand upon its middle school program so more players can benefit from its elite training before they reach high school. He’s also eyeing international hockey players. “There’s a lot of interest from athletes outside of our country. We believe that tapping into this pool will not only benefit international athletes but also help prepare our domestic players for global competition.”
Fairmont has some lofty goals as it moves forward because they believe they have the makings of one of the premier high school programs not just regionally, but nationally. But no matter what they set their sights on, Petersen says they will remain committed to staying true to Fairmont hockey’s four pillars of youth performance: academics, athletic development, character and leadership, and strength and conditioning.
About Fairmont Schools
Fairmont is Orange County’s oldest and largest secular, co-educational preschool – 12th grade private school. Voted Best Private School in Orange County for nine consecutive years, Fairmont is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and Cognia. It is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools.
SOURCE Fairmont Schools
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fairmont-san-juan-capistrano-ice-hockey-wins-d-1-championship-in-anaheim-ducks-high-school-hockey-league-301792110.html
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