The Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) is a play-based program designed to increase school attendance as well as high school graduation rates in socially and economically challenged schools in Winnipeg.
WJHA has over 250 volunteers from local companies, 50 school champions and employs 30 university students throughout the school year to guide over 620 children in improving their connection to their school by offering a weekly hockey program for student athletes.
…This program has helped me have a more positive and outgoing outlook on my life. Some skills I have further developed and improved thanks to this program are sportsmanship, competitive spirit, confidence, and being punctual.” – Janna R.
The WJHA runs during the school year and within local arenas and schools in Winnipeg. The program enables children who have few recreational options to participate in a hockey skills program over a 25 week period that incorporates community volunteers and university students as instructors and positive role models. Participation barriers are removed by providing programming staff, equipment, transportation, ice rentals, nutrition, and qualified on ice instruction to all academy participants. The daytime, school based program creates a path for students from grade 2 through high school to learn the basics of hockey and increase their connection to their school.
Upon reaching high school, student athletes enter the Hockey Canada Skills Academy with the support and supervision of the WJHA. This enables students to receive a high school credit that can be used to fulfill their graduation requirements. Additionally, as WJHA students enter High School they will be able to gain volunteer experience and job experience as instructors in training at the academy as well as contribute to the program as role models for the younger students. Having volunteers from diverse companies affords unique opportunities for students to be exposed to a variety of career paths as well as future internship and job opportunities. In addition, WJHA participants in the St. James School Division who are in Grade 4 to 8 are part of our 15 week After School pilot program.
The WJHA aspires to build and sustain connections to school and community through hockey skill development, inter school exhibition games, various outings and after school programming.
We are proud that for the past four hockey seasons, the average hockey program attendance rate was over 90%.
Every year, a number of local businesses and organizations partner with the Foundation as part of the Living Philanthropy Program, which includes adopting a class and providing volunteers to run weekly on-ice sessions for WJHA students.