Following a highly successful introduction last season to a new skill development program offered within the Thunderbirds for our members exclusively, we are excited to head into 2019/20 with Derek Popke continuing to lead the program. In addition, we are continuing our partnership with Pro Formance Goalie School to conduct a goalie development program that will include team visits along with advanced opportunities to develop.

Skills with Vancouver Hockey School's Derek Popke

During the 2018-19 season, Derek Popke will be leading skills sessions for all of our Thunderbirds rep teams. Together with the teams' coaches, Derek will lead 7 scheduled sessions with each team in atom and peewee while the Bantam and Midget teams will receive a total of 12 skill sessions with Derek or another Vancouver Hockey School instructor. Your coaches will provide the dates of these sessions as part of the team's calendar.

In addition to these sessions, Derek will also be leading additional weekly sessions as part of a High Performance Program for Atom and Peewee players.


High Performance Program click here for more information

The High Performance (HP) Program is an in-season skills program designed for dedicated T-Birds Novice players who want to train, work hard, and take their game to the next level.

The sessions are instructed by Derek Popke. As a skating consultant, Derek has worked on-ice with the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs, ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings, MML Vancouver Canadians, and numerous minor hockey teams. His current list of NHL clients include Jason Garrison (Las Vegas Knights), Kevin Bieksa (Anahiem Ducks), Ben Chairot (Winnipeg Jets), Troy Stecher (Vancouver Canucks), and Erik Gudbranson (Vancouver Canucks) to name a few. You can read Derek's full bio at www.vancouverhockeyschool.com.

Players are placed in appropriate skill groups in order to maximize the teaching efficiency and learning experience of each individual player. Sessions do not conflict with T-Birds practice or game slots.

Goaltender Development with Pro Formance Goalie School

Pro Formance is one of the leading goalie development programs in BC and has been training goalies in the Vancouver area for the past twenty years. Led by their Chief Instructor, Rob Fuchs, along with other instructors, PFGS will join our Thunderbird rep players during team practices over the season to work closely with each netminder. In addition to the team visits over the season, all atom to midget goalies who want to take their skills to the next level will be able to join Pro Formance instructors in our Thunderbirds Goalie School.

Thunderbird Goalie School

The Thunderbird Goalie School is an in-house initiative for the association that provides the opportunity for additional instruction for goalies at all age levels from U11 to U18 in three groups.

U11: Wednesdays from 7:00 - 7:45 pm at Kerrisdale Arena   

U13: Wednesdays from 8:00 - 8:45 pm at Kerrisdale Arena

Elite group (U13/U15/U18): Wednesdays from 9:00 - 9:45 pm at Kerrisdale Arena

Note: Goalie to Instructor ratio is a maximum of 4 to 1.

Sessions will commence October 7 and will run through to January (a total of 12 sessions). Please note that there will be no session on November 11. Sessions also will not run over Christmas break. 

Pre-registered applications have now been invited to join. Open spots will be made available on a first come first served basis as of October 5.