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JPHL Academy Hockey is Coming to Cranbrook

The JPHL (Junior Prospects Hockey League) and the Cranbrook Bucks Hockey Club are excited to announce that a JPHL HUB is coming to Cranbrook. Beginning this September, the Cranbrook Bucks Hockey Club will operate a U18 team in the form of the Kootenay Hockey Academy.

“This is a big step forward in terms of local development and getting the Cranbrook Bucks more invested in our community. The Kootenay Hockey Academy can offer athletes a clear path to junior hockey right in our backyard.” Said Cranbrook Bucks Owner and President Nathan Lieuwen. “The JPHL has proven itself to be a well-operated league that offers a strong showcase schedule and exposure for players. With the many resources at our disposal, we can offer a very competitive program.”

“Celebrating the expansion of our league, we are thrilled to welcome the Kootenay Hockey Academy to the Junior Prospects Hockey League for the 2023/24 season.” Added JPHL Commissioner Richard Nault. “The addition of Kootenay Hockey Academy will bring a new level of talent and competition to our league from the Cranbrook area, and we are excited to see what they will bring to the ice. We look forward to working with the Kootenay Hockey Academy and their exceptional coaching staff to provide a platform for student-athletes to showcase their skills and continue their development path into junior hockey.”

Ryan Carlson Named U-18 Academy Head Coach

In a corresponding move, the Cranbrook Bucks have hired Ryan Carlson as the Head Coach of the Kootenay Hockey Academy. Carlson spent last season as an assistant coach of the Winnipeg Freeze of the MJHL and was also a lead instructor for Jets Hockey Development. The Hermantown, Minnesota native playing career includes time in the ECHL with Norfolk and Reading, USports at the Univ. of Manitoba, NCAA at Univ. of Wisconsin-Superior and Junior A Hockey in Steinbach, Manitoba.

“I am extremely excited about coaching at the Kootenay Hockey Academy in the JPHL.” Said, Ryan Carlson. “Starting this academy is only going to bring good things to the players and community of the Kootenay area.”

Any players interested in learning more about the program can reach out to 




What is the JPHL? The Junior Prospects Hockey League is an independent academy league with several age groups designed to be player focused and offer premier training and exposure.

Where do athletes go to school? Our education partner is Kootenay Christian Academy who offers our athletes academics in the mornings and on-ice and hockey training in the afternoon.

What is included? 4-5 practice sessions per week. Off-ice training 1-2 times per week. 32 games plus playoffs. All travel, travel meals and accommodation for players. Professional coaching including a full-time head coach, assistant coach(es), strength coach, skills coach, and goalie coach. Video sessions through Top Prospects Exchange. Equipment*.

What is the Schedule?  The JPHL plays a total 32 games plus playoffs against other JPHL teams through BC and Alberta.

What are the affiliate opportunities? The JPHL will be the only Canadian academy league able to affiliate its players within the BCHL.

What are the advancement opportunities? Many JPHL players will go on to play in the BCHL, WHL, and  CJHL.