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H.I.L.L. Message

Our way of life can sometimes be taken for granted. Tomorrow is Remembrance Day; recognizing ordinary people who have done and continue to do extraordinary things to maintain our values and freedoms. “Lest we forget”

After last week’s announcement regarding our new campus, it was so gratifying to receive so many notes from present and former staff, students, and Hill families as well as connections from all over the world. Social media is so powerful when used correctly.

It is continually so impressive to observe the commitment of student athletes on a daily basis, specifically when it comes to their travel schedules. Many awake very early in the morning to arrive at the school to start their day on time. This weekend many of our teams are competing against top competition, enduring very long bus rides (to PEI, Baltimore and New Jersey). The results are typically very positive and this preparation provides the foundation for success at the next level. 

Life at the Hill and Upcoming Events.

Remembrance Day Ceremony- Photo Submissions Tomorrow, Monday, November 11th, the grade 12 Canadian History class will be hosting a Remembrance Day ceremony in the Sports Village restaurant. The students are putting together a slideshow that features photos of family, friends, or ancestors of Hill Academy students and staff who have served their country during times of conflict. Photo submissions from everyone are welcome and can be emailed to Ms. Languay – will also be a donation box for anyone who wants to donate to Legion. For anyone who does not know what Legion is, it is a charity that provides financial and emotional support for members and army veterans of the British/Canadian armed forces. Any donations are greatly appreciated and any donation amount will be accepted.

Field Trip – November 20th On Wednesday, November 20th the grade 10, 11, and 12 history classes will be attending a field trip to Crawford Lake Conservation Area. Permission forms and trip fees to cover transportation and admission ($28) are due by Wednesday, November 13th. If you have any questions about the field trip, please contact Ms. Languay –

Monday AssemblyStudents are to meet in the gym at 8:40 for a Monday morning assembly. Students are to be prepared with their journals and a writing utensil. 
Midterm Report CardsSecondary Midterm Report Cards will be sent home with students on Monday, November 11th. The Power School Parent-Portal will also be back online on this day.
Parent-Teacher NightWednesday November 20th will be parent-teacher night. Please contact teachers directly to schedule an appointment. Meetings will take place after 4:30pm at The Sports Village.
Inclement Weather ProcedureIn the event of inclement weather, you are asked to check either our website at (under News & Announcements), Twitter, or this email to see if the school is closed for the day. The information will be posted by 6:30am at the latest and all attempts will be made to notify earlier. If nothing has been posted, then the school day will resume as scheduled.

Community Involvement HoursAll students who plan to graduate in Ontario need to show evidence of at least 40 hours of community involvement. There are some restrictions of the type of activities and how/when they are completed. Please contact Ms Flynn (cflynn@thehillacademy) for details or collect a Community Involvement form from the front desk with Ms Bush.

Student Photos Order Form:A reminder for students to pick up their school photo proofs from Cindy in the office and for parents to place their orders online.

Hill Lacrosse.

As we navigate the busy fall season there is pressure to perform on many levels for the players; it is a real thing.

-Team Pressure. We tend to be circled on everyone’s schedule and typically get our opponents’ best. There is a pressure to live up to the standard set in the past.

-Pressure to carve out a role and earn playing time. Players want to make an impact and play in keys situations. It’s a competitive program and to be able to earn a key role requires consistent performance.

-Pressure to get recruited. In the environment at The Hill, where students are graduating and attending the top lacrosse schools every year, players are asking, where do I fit in? What options will I have?  What level can I play at?

-Pressure to justify your decision to come to The Hill and everything that came along with that decision.  

How can you address and have clarity amidst this pressure:

-Trust and lean on your coaches. All the coaches at The Hill have the background, experience, and willingness to help. Seek Information, not affirmation. The affirmation will come organically. Use the coaches as a resource to provide objective direction and insight.

-Lean on your teammates. Watch and emulate those that are setting the right example. Serve the team and the team will serve you. This particularly helps in the recruiting tournaments. We don’t attend recruiting tournaments so individuals can showcase their skills. When we compete, we compete to play the game the right way and to be the very best team we can be. Individual recruitment will become a by product of good team play.

-Know and execute the plan. We have spent the first two months laying out our expectations. Lean on that plan as a roadmap especially in pressure situations.

-Play the long game. Try not to live and die on the little highs and lows of the game. Stick with it.

-Pressure is a privilege. Remind yourself that if you’re not feeling pressure, then it probably doesn’t mean much to you. Enjoy and embrace these pressure moments and have aggressive expectations.

Mondays after competition always present a new opportunity to get better and become more well equipped for the next challenge.

Hill Hockey.

Varsity Hockey Update: The message this week was details; focusing on what we are doing, why are we doing it and how will it help us improve. When I look around at our students each practice, I see such a talented group of hockey players. The reality is not all of us will make it to where we want to go and that is not a knock on any one or their skill set, it is a just based on numbers. There are only 20 OHL teams taking the top hockey players in Ontario and the United States across 5 age groups. 60 division 1 NCAA teams taking players from across North America and the rest of the world. To get to the professional level the odds get even smaller, with the pinnacle being the 700 players lucky enough to play in the NHL each year. The individuals who are lucky enough to get to these levels don’t get there by accident. Yes, they are incredibly talented, but they are also the ones who work every single day to improve and get better. They listen to each drill, they focus in on what the purpose of the drill is and how it can benefit them. Many times I see players just skating through a drill, just to do it, often missing the important details that could be helping them gain an upper hand. 

I was able to see both sides during my playing career, I watched some of the most talented individuals from my minor hockey days either never make the next level or fade out in the OHL, while also watching other players come from out of nowhere to become NHL superstars such as Wayne Simmonds. Even when I look back at my own career which ended up being more than I could have ever dreamed of when I started out, maybe if I would have taken more time to work on the things I struggled with I would have played more games in the NHL. Don’t allow yourself to be someone who looks back on their career 5- 10 years from now wishing they did more to give themselves a chance. Make sure every single day you do the best you can on that day to give yourselves a chance to reach your dreams. Increase your odds of making it to that next level.

Please note that Grade 9 Varsity skates on Wednesday & Thursday are moving back to 8:30am Starting this week, the Grade 9 varsity group will be skating at 8:30 am again on Wednesday & Thursdays. Each Wednesday up until Christmas, Lisa Clarke will be in to work with our students on their skating, specifically on edge work. The change will also ensure that all goalies in the program get time with the Franco Canadian goalie school Wednesday and Thursdays and allows us the opportunity to work together in a bigger group from time to time for grades 9 & 10. Grade 9s will still skate at 1 pm on Tuesdays. 

18-45 Practice Player of the Week

Jr. Varsity – Spencer Walker Sr. Varsity – Nick Messina

Prep Hockey Update: The U18s had a tough matchup against a solid St. Andrew’s College team in Aurora last weekend. Although the results were not favourable for The Hill Academy, losing 4-1 and 4-1, there were a lot of learning and teaching points from the weekend.    

 1.    Players, teams, and coaches have to be able to adjust their game accordingly against different opponents. With better teams comes less time and space and pucks need to move faster and be protected in order to limit turnovers. Chipping the puck and retrieving it doesn’t make the ‘Top 10 Plays’ but it is more effective than toe dragging in the neutral zone, turning the puck over, getting scored on, and watching the other team celebrate and do the fly by.     

2.    Specifically for defensemen, your main objective is to move the puck to the forwards to limit being hemmed in the defensive zone. I recently talked to the assistant coach of the University of a Maine and he had a great example of Zdeno Chara. He has played over 1500 games in the NHL and this can be attributed to his decisions with the puck. He isn’t the fastest skater and he doesn’t try to stickhandle out of the zone or make fancy plays, but keeps things simple and gets the job done. 

Zdeno Chara- Elite Prospects     

3.    Making it to the next level is a process. This sounds cliché and it is, but it is the truth as well. During the St. Andrew’s games, Colgate University was in attendance. Before our second matchup, I was able to speak with their assistant coach regarding a former Hill student athlete, Arnaud Vachon, who is a freshman there right now. Their coach talked about him jumping right in and playing a regular shift, power play and penalty kill. Arnaud didn’t formally commit to Colgate until after he left The Hill because he simply ‘wasn’t ready’ but the ground work was set during exposure tournaments in the US with our ECEL and showcase play. Arnaud’s work ethic is unmatched and a major reason for his development.  

Arnaud Vachon- Elite Prospects 

The moral of the story is: what are YOU doing to get better? Are you getting on the ice early and working on your deficiencies? Are you working on your strengths to become elite in that area? Are you using your lunch time to get quicker in the weight room or fuelling your body appropriately? Or are you listening to all the noise and wasting valuable time wondering what everyone else is doing or where they are going? The choice is yours, choose wisely.

Hill Performance Training.

Our athletes are into their second week of phase two quality strength and we are beginning to see some noticeable improvements and changes in athlete strength as well as technique. Isometric holds are a good opportunity for athletes to build good body awareness and recalibrate in regards to their technique, spending longer times in loaded positions to make necessary adjustments in their breathing & patterning.

In the coming weeks, each group will get their first de-load week. As practice and playing volume increase it is important we give our athletes time to recover. This does not mean our athletes will be off completely or be doing meaningless work. We will use this week to assess, test exercises, and check-in with our athletes to ensure expectations are in line moving forward.

This week for the journal activity, both Coach Noble and Coach Brodie addressed the group speaking on team culture and being a good teammate; reminding athletes about having a team first mentality and trying to elevate others around you. Below is the quote of the week:

“Wake up every single day, and do everything you can to be the best you possibly can be. Don’t let the music die.”

Finally, all marks have been submitted to Power Teacher for upcoming midterm reports. Midterm marks consist of overall participation, wellness reporting & compliance, as well as our two assignments completed during this term. Reports should be distributed early next week.