Despite recent struggles on the ice, Red Deer Rebels players are learning how to better balance their work ethic and learning away from the rink.
Until last year, Rebels players attended Hunting Hills High School. However, due to schedule changes for both the school and the team, the partnership became impractical.
Now, players attend St. Gabriel Learning Centre and Online School which has allowed for a more comfortable and less intense learning environment.
“Being on the road all the time, these guys have a hectic load. They were asking them to be good all the time and obviously being at the rink a lot and training, with the traditional hours, we couldn’t always make those,” explains Erik Lodge, Rebels Assistant Coach and teacher at Notre Dame. “This move was made to serve our students and give them the potential and opportunity to be the best they can be at school and at the rink.”
Lodge says the biggest benefit is the closer connection players have with their teachers, which means sessions that resemble one-on-one tutoring and access to help at almost any time.
“It’s more of a flexible set up. A lot of the work is online, so the benefit from that is obviously as they’re working through stuff, if they need a break, they take one, and they pick right back up on the module they’re on,” he says.
“On the road, they can work through it at any time. On the bus, we have wifi, so they can even video chat or conference with a teacher.”
Lodge recalls being a player himself, it can be intimidating going into a classroom where you don't know anyone because you’re at the rink so much. This change, he says, was made to take some of that pressure off, but also to put more accountability on the players.
“A lot of the time they’re saying how they missed school and it’s hard to make up, but now there are no excuses,” Lodge says. “When you’re behind, you go in and you ask for help. It’s really pushed our guys to mature quickly and take responsibility upon themselves… it’s actually made our players closer.”
The Rebels are the first WHL team to go with this education delivery model.
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