AIHA Bantam League player, Jesse Allen, is currently experiencing first hand what the world of AA hockey is like, playing for the Notre Dame Hounds in the Saskatchewan AA Hockey League.
We caught up with Jesse’s parents who provided the following update on his experience to date.
After 3 weeks of intensive testing in academics, fitness, on/off ice testing, hockey knowledge, game awareness, mental toughness and more, which is held to establish a baseline of every student for the school to work out an individual trajectory to reach the AAA Junior team at the conclusion of their schooling, Jesse was placed in the Notre Dame Hounds Bantam AA team.
The team’s season has now started and they are 2 games in with 1 win and 1 loss. His coaches have this to say “Jesse shows a lot of potential. He is strong on his feet and has skill with the puck and skating.” Jesse and the other foreign kids all need to work on their understanding of position and situational awareness as the games in Saskatchewan are very fast and physical, this understanding and situational awareness is being worked on in practices and games.
Jesse lives on campus with everything within a couple minutes’ walk of his dorm. He shares the dorm room with 3 other grade 9 students from around Canada (Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario) The school’s student population is about 300 kids with the first year grade nine students being approximately 33 boys and 15 girls including kids from Russia, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, China, USA, Australia and others. In addition to Hockey they have a wide range of sports including athletics, rugby, basketball, volleyball, football, soccer, baseball, to name a few which was particularly attractive to Jesse as he likes to play a multitude of sports. He even made the baseball team and pitched in one of their last games before the snow started to fall.
A commercial kitchen on campus provides all of their meals together for all 300 students at breakfast, lunch, dinner and is open between meals for snacks, sandwiches, etc. He says the food is very good and is all designed around student athletes.
The hockey programme is very intensive with 31 regular season games, plus tournaments, playoffs, etc. taking their expected game tally to over 50 games in the season. They practice on ice 2-4 times a week depending on the number of games they play in that week, plus off ice training in the weight rooms, gymnasium and their state of the art, multi million dollar shooting gallery.
He is loving the environment and has slotted straight in, he says he will be a four year hound and we are very proud of our son. We miss him like crazy, but know this was the best decision for him in pursuing his dream to take his hockey to the highest level possible. And we know this will open doors to University, Juniors and the professional leagues throughout the world. – Jeremy Allen, Jesse’s Dad.
About Notre Dame:
HOUNDS HOCKEY – Notre Dame offers an unprecedented opportunity to earn a first-class education while competing in some of the most respected leagues and tournaments for Bantam, Midget and Junior hockey in North America.
Our Student-Athletes are expected to carry a full academic workload, maintain a high-grade point average, contribute to the school community and be accountable for their actions both on and off the ice.
Our campus boasts a full-size Olympic ice surface, a state-of-the-art off-ice skills training facility, high-performance training facility with a certified strength and conditioning coach, athletic therapist, fully equipped gymnasium and elite coaches with provincial, national and international experience.
Coaching, practices, off ice training and game schedules, combined with ideal facilities, offer the perfect training environment for players to develop.
Hounds are well-conditioned athletes with a renowned reputation for relentless attacks, tenacious defence and a “never lose heart” attitude.
Currently, 19 Hound alumni are playing, coaching or working in the NHL such as Jaden Schwartz, Morgan Rielly, Jordan Eberle, Sean Couturier, Tyler Myers, and Hayden Fleury, while Alumni Barry Trotz, Jon Cooper and Rod Brind’Amour are head coaches.