Smithers is once again punching above its weight class.
Last week, representatives of Engage Sports North (ESN) were in town in preparation for making Smithers Secondary School (SSS) a campus of the Canadian Sport School (CSS).
“Canadian Sport School facilitates a high performance culture amongst like-minded athletes while providing support, coordination and advocacy between student athletes and their high school teachers and sport coaches,” said Mandi Graham, executive director of ESN.
On Jan. 15, Graham, along with ESN director high performace Dave Adolf introduced SSS students and staff to the program, conducted a workshop and put student athletes through a workout at the school.
Smithers will join Victoria, Kamloops and Prince George as campuses for the sport school in September, Graham told The Interior News.
“We chose Smithers because we feel Smithers has a really good fit with the active community and we were approached by a qualified individual in the community that was really interested in bring the program here,” she said.
She noted when they visited the idea they received “amazing community support and collaboration.”
The qualified individual is Derek Holland, a strength and conditioning specialist coach who holds a masters degree in coaching from the University of Victoria and has been heavily involved in the Smithers Secondary Hockey Academy and Northern Hockey School.
“Smithers is a community that is really committed to physical activity and there’s a lot of driven youth and committed youth in this community that could really utilize the extra support so they can stay in their community as they develop in their sport,” Graham said.
That support includes help and resources for balancing the demands of training and competing at an elite level with academic excellence and teenage life in general.
ESN was also impressed with the facility.
“We’re really happy with the collaboration the [school] district has given us and providing a really amazing facility in the mezzanine of the secondary school, so we’ll be making some upgrades and purchasing some equipment to make sure it’s up to the standards of the Canadian Sport Institute,” she said.
The Canadian Sport Institute Pacific is an organization dedicated to the development of high performance Olympic and Paralympic athletes affiliated with high performance sports centres across the country.