Reporting Esme Murphy
EAGAN, Minn. (WCCO) – Parents will do a lot to give their children an edge in youth sports.
But what about sending them to a sports school?
In Eagan, a new private school devoted to hockey is growing quickly.
At Northern Educate Hockey Academy, students from kindergarten through 12th grade get three hours of ice time in addition to one hour of dry land training every day.
In just one year, the school has grown from eight to 80 students, some coming from as far away as California and Australia.
Northern Educate uses a state-approved, online charter school curriculum tailored to each student.
Parents and kids told WCCO it’s a great education, but also said you go to this school for the hockey.
Judy Black has taught in public schools and says these kids are more motivated.
“They know they can come in, work hard and then go out and do an activity that they like, which is their hockey,” Black said.
Abby Grounds’ family moved from North Dakota so that Abby and her two brothers can go the school.
“I like it (here) a lot better,” she said. “I love the hockey. I used to not be that good of a hockey player. I have reached all of my goals.”
Sixteen out-of-state kids board with other students.
Tuition is $11,500 dollars a year, a price 8-year-old Mason Johnson’s Dad says is worth it, both for the academics and the hockey.
“Just the hours, the coaches, the repetition, is second to none,” Johnson said.
The schools has big goals.
“Most of our kids should be able, if they stick with us, should be able to get a college scholarship,” said Kathy Black of Northern Educate.
But some students, like Bubba Thompson, who at 13 years old is 6-foot-1-inches tall and 185 pounds, are dreaming bigger.
His dream is playing in the NHL.
Northern Educate says the Minnesota State High School League has signed off on an agreement with the newly formed Achiever Academy to field a high school team that will play against other Minnesota High Schools in the Class A league.
The state high school league did not return our phone call.