Colorado Hockey Leaders, TPH Partner to Grow CoE Model
TPH is pleased to announce that Derek Robinson and Angelo Ricci have come together in partnership with TPH to operate not only its current Denver location, but to also bring a second Center of Excellence to the state of Colorado at the Sport Stable in Superior. Robinson, the Executive Sports Director of RoughRiders Sports Club, and Ricci, Executive Director of the Colorado Thunderbirds, are combining forces with the long-term vision of strengthening hockey in the Rocky Mountain region. The two individuals and entities will partner with TPH in both the Denver and Superior locations. This unique partnership will allow these two leaders in Colorado youth hockey to work together in the Study, Train, Play academy style model to further develop aspiring elite 6-12th grade student-athletes from all over the Rocky Mountain region.
“On behalf of TPH we could not be happier to enter into this partnership, and that’s truly what this is – a partnership,” TPH CEO Nathan Bowen said. “What has been built in Superior is truly remarkable. The vision, facility and team members we have met are all first class in every sense of the word. The RoughRiders have a brand that is synonymous with quality and a culture that aligns with TPH. We look forward to this partnership in our efforts to strengthen the development of not just hockey players, but all student-athletes in the Rocky Mountain region.”
The Sport Stable is a truly one-of-a-kind facility and has quickly become a one-stop-shop for all athletes, regardless of their chosen sport, to get the tools needed to develop their game. The facility features two and a half ice sheets, three basketball courts, two turf fields, golf simulators, batting cages, a restaurant, coffee shop, barber shop as well as a variety of health, wellness and performance avenues for its student-athletes, including strength and conditioning, physical therapy and performance psychology consultation. In time, TPH hopes to expand the reach of its Center of Excellence model to the various sports programs housed inside the Sport Stable.
While the Sport Stable offers a plethora of opportunities for all student-athletes, the one piece its leadership has been looking to add is a proven academy-style training, learning and life-development model. Enter TPH and the Center of Excellence.
“We are so excited to launch the academy model at the Sport Stable,” Executive Sports Director Derek Robinson said. “It will provide our players with the best available training and a high-end education that will ultimately provide a better lifestyle for our families. We also know what Angelo Ricci has done for players in the state, and together, we will provide a path from 8U to 18U for Colorado players to stay home and get world-class training until they are ready for junior or collegiate hockey. Now with TPH and their national network and reputation for developing and advancing players, we have everything we need right here in the state for each individual to succeed.”
Just over one year ago TPH brought the Center of Excellence to the South side of Denver, and Angelo Ricci echoes Robinson’s excitement.
“For the past 12 years, Derek and his team have built a program from the ground up and I have a deep respect for what he and his team have done,” said Ricci, who is also the Executive Director of the Colorado Thunderbirds organization. “For the last decade plus, Derek and I have competed against each other, but we have also worked together. I am excited for this new venture and opportunity to work as one, in the best interest of all the student-athletes who want to take advantage of the academy model.”
In his earlier comments about the “high-end” education student-athletes will receive, Derek Robinson is referencing TPH’s best-of-both-world’s academics scenario. Student-athletes complete their NCAA-accredited coursework online, interact with their instructors virtually and have the option to take school home or on the road with them every day, with no fear of days missed due to the demands of being an aspiring elite athlete. At the same time, when student-athletes are on-site, they study under the direction of an academic leader who is focused on fostering a positive culture, maintaining accountability and putting a learning plan in place for each individual based on where, when and how he or she works best. This layered academic approach ensures that when it’s time for TPH student-athletes to focus on their sport, whether its training at the CoE, practicing with their club teams or jumping on a plane to travel to games, they are on-pace or ahead in their courses.
Current TPH-Denver Director of Hockey-Operations Jordan Pietrus oversees its Center of Excellence at Family Sports Center in nearby Centennial. TPH’s Denver-based CoE maximized capacity in year one and expects continued growth for the 2020-2021 school year. Ironically, Pietrus played two seasons of junior ‘A’ hockey with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL, where he was part of a Clark Cup Championship squad in 2005. He will support the setup and growth of TPH’s second CoE in the Rocky Mountain state.
“This partnership between these two long-standing leaders and their programs is a big step for the future and culture of Colorado hockey,” Pietrus said. “They both want to see student-athletes stay in state until they are ready to play and contribute at the junior hockey level. The CoE model offers a degree of flexibility that high-level athletes require if they are to pursue their sport, academic and future career goals. At the same time, there is a level of structure and detail on both the academic and sport side of the model that all kids need. There’s a daily schedule, classroom guidelines, clear expectations and ample opportunities for our staff to mentor our student-athletes on what it means to aspire to be elite and most importantly, how to get there. We also have data that shows just how beneficial our blended learning environment is when it comes to academics, rest, recovery and long-term athlete development. This model is proven and backed by results.”
The academic data Pietrus is referring to is highlighted in the graphic boxes in this release. The CoE model has grown to twelve locations and has been in existence since 2014. In that time, student-athletes across the country have been able to study and excel through TPH’s on-demand, blended academic learning model. And as Nathan Bowen points out, even during some of the challenges and uncertainties faced in our world today, TPH student-athletes continue to perform.
“Prospective Sport Stable CoE families might be interested to know that throughout this current COVID-19 crisis, our student-athletes across all Centers of Excellence haven’t missed a beat academically,” Bowen added. “Our academic outcomes continue to be extremely positive. Seniors are graduating and our student-athletes are staying on pace with their schoolwork. While routines have certainly changed for our student-athletes over the past several weeks, they have not had to transition from a learning standpoint which is one of the benefits of the academic model we implement in the CoE.”
Obviously, everyone’s hope is that once the CoE school year arrives in late August, we see what Bowen calls a “full return to normalcy.” In the event CoE’s are unable to operate like they did prior to the arrival of COVID-19, TPH has a plan in place to maintain the Study, Train, Play experience for all of its student-athletes.
“Families should rest assured that we will be prepared to mentor our Center of Excellence attendees in a safe, healthy and successful manner,” Bowen said. “We are currently crafting three potential options for the 2020-2021 school year that include hybrid, small group on and off-ice training sessions, revisions to our classroom layouts, increased policies with regards to sanitization, and if necessary, a virtual platform for us to train our student-athletes on in a manner similar to the TPH Virtual Hockey Development platform we have been using to service our student-athletes on for the past two months. The CoE really provides an ‘on demand’ experience, first and foremost on the academics side, something Derek wants for all Sport Stable CoE attendees.”
With the success of TPH’s Denver-based CoE and the announcement of its second Study, Train, Play model in the state of Colorado, TPH is looking forward to providing that “missing piece” for the Sport Stable in hopes that it will incentivize its Colorado-based athletes to stay home, enjoy the holistic experience of the CoE and maintain a quality of life that Bowen calls “second to none.”
“While every family’s situation is different, there really is no reason for an athlete to leave the state of Colorado to pursue his or her goals,” Bowen said. “On the hockey side alone, for TPH, Angelo Ricci and Derek Robinson to be joined together, we will do everything in our collective power to accelerate the development and advancement of the hockey players we support and make Colorado the premier destination for hockey players and athletes from other sports who have a desire to Study, Train and Play to their fullest potential.”