Skip to content

Purcell Collegiate announces elite female U18 hockey program

Purcell Collegiate School announces new elite female U18 hockey program.
Multi-sport athlete Valeriia Manchak- Jensen has been selected as head coach for the Purcell Hockey Academy.

Purcell Collegiate School (PCS) has announced the launch of the Purcell Hockey Academy (PHA), an elite female U18 hockey program, set to begin September, 2024. 

Thus far, PHA has received commitments from 10 athletes from all over the world and has also started to announce some very exciting staff members. 

This includes Valeriia (Val) Manchak-Jensen, a multi-sport athlete hailing from Ukraine, who has excelled at boxing and karate at world championship levels. She qualified to participate in the Olympic games in Rio. In addition to playing professional hockey in the U.S., she also led the Ukraine to the IIHF Division III championship this year as team captain and leading scorer of the tournament. 

Manchak-Jensen also runs Infinite Edge and Power, a hockey skills development and mentoring program, making her an ideal candidate to take the helm of PHA as head coach. 

As associate coach, PHA has brought in Kimberley local Megan Hostasek. She left Kimberley at 15 to go to an Alberta hockey academy and then headed to The Ohio State University on a full hockey scholarship, where she played four years of NCAA Division I hockey. She attained numerous accolades at her time at OSU, both athletically and academically. After she graduated, she spent a year as assistant coach of Buffalo State (NCAA Division I 3) women’s hockey team and then two years in Sweden playing and coaching for Ormsta HC. 

Also, as an assistant coach, PHA has hired Caytlyn Luke, a member of the Ktunaxa Nation born and raised in the Yaqan Nuʔkiy Community near Creston. She grew up playing hockey and started officiating at the minimum required age of 12. 

Luke utilized her playing and reffing experience when the opportunity arose to coach Cranbrook’s Female Development Program for the 2020/21 season. 

Finally, Harry Rosenholtz, the former associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for Yale and Quinnipiac University’s Women’s Ice Hockey programs, will serve as a consultant and as senior international hockey advisor. In addition to coaching at NCAA Division I for 12 years, Coach Rosenholtz has consulted for the Japanese Ice Hockey Federation and was the head coach of the Spanish U18 and Senior National Teams. He is currently the director of College Hockey Showcases which runs female high performance camps and exposure events throughout the world.

In terms of their roster, PHA will begin announcing players shortly with commitments confirmed from players hailing from Hungary, the US, Argentina, Denmark, and Canada including several who are members of their respective U18 national teams. 

The players will be billeted in homes in Kimberley and Cranbrook and practice and play games at Kimberley’s Civic Centre. 

PCS shared some details about this new program as well as more information about their pursuit to become authorized as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School at an open house in Cranbrook,  They currently are a candidate school for the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) and will begin a trial implementation of the MYP in September. 

Speaking at the open house event, Duncan MacLeod, PCS Head of School, had this to say about bringing both the MYP and elite female hockey to the Kimberley-?aq’am-Cranbrook area: “We’re excited about the opportunities these new initiatives represent for local students. Getting to participate in the MYP trial implementation and/or to learn alongside elite female student-athletes from across North America and around the world—it creates a university-prep learning pathway normally only found in large cities.  And with the scholarships and bursaries we have available to local students, it’s both accessible and affordable, particularly if families sign up to host international students as part of our billet/homestay program.”    

Their next open house is at 7:00 PM on June 26 at the former Meadowbrook Elementary School — the current site of the Purcell Preschool and, beginning in September,  the interim home of Purcell Collegiate. MacLeod is encouraging families to attend to learn more about attending PCS as a regular local student in Grades 6-12 or a participant in the hockey academy.  Information on hosting a regular international student and/or a female hockey academy student-athlete will also be presented. 

PCS will also shortly announce another open house at Purcell Golf to discuss the details surrounding the buildout of the campus there, which is still their goal.

About the Author: Paul Rodgers

Read more