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For the past two decades, Lovell Hockey has grown into one of the largest amateur hockey programs in North America and developed hundreds of collegiate and professional hockey players.
Starting in September, Lovell Hockey will combine its skill development and player advancement success with academics, a nutrition program and a healthy student life through Lovell Academy, which is being constructed along with Lovell Arena on a 55-acre campus on the South Shore 20 miles south of Boston in Rockland, Mass.
Lovell Academy will educate boys and girls heading into eighth grade through their senior year.
Lauren Monahan, co-founder/owner, said Lovell Academy was created due to room in the market for this type of an academy.
“There are academies that exist, but we don’t feel like they are hitting every element that is essential for these kids to develop and become successful student-athletes,” Monahan said. “We feel that we can hit all these elements very well and do a best-of scenario. Lovell Hockey has excelled at player development for the past two decades, so now we are just layering in the other pieces for a complete solution.”
Kevin Poulin, director of Lovell Academy, said from the academic perspective, the Lovell team wants to give students a prep school-like experience. Unlike a normal school day where students attend school and focus on sports in the afternoon, Poulin said Lovell Academy will weave sports and academics into one solid day of work.
Skill development will be held in the morning, then players will apply what they have learned during their team practice in the afternoon.
“That is what is going to make us unique,” Poulin said. “Kids will have a skill part, a practice, and a strength and conditioning component every day of the week.”
Caitrin Lonergan, Lovell Academy girls director, said the academic piece separates Lovell from other hockey academies.
“I knew the hockey side of things was going to be great,” said Lonergan, who played at Boston College before transferring to Clarkson where she finished her career as the third-highest active point scorer in NCAA women’s hockey. “But when I heard about the academic model, I thought this is a place where a kid is going to get the full package, the academics, the development and a team that is going to compete nationally every single year.”
Lovell Academy is hiring its own faculty and developing its own curriculum based on the International Baccalaureate Program, which Monahan said ties together sports and academics well and provides a strong preparation for college. The academy will offer eight classrooms, a science lab/art room and two study centers.
All learning will be in-person, which Lonergan said is important, especially for adolescents.
“Your education in high school is what really drives your college education,” said Lonergan, who recently signed a professional contract to play for the Connecticut Whale in the Premier Hockey League.
Monahan said the 40,000-square-foot academy building offers sets of 11 double rooms for six teams who will live on campus. A chaperone suite on each of the six residential hallways will allow chaperones to monitor and ensure the health and well-being of each student.
For this fall, approximately 80 student-athletes will comprise four teams — U-15 and U-16 boys and U-14 and U-19 girls. The plan for the fall of 2023 is to shift to U-14, U-16 and U-19 girls teams, and U-14, U-15 and Prep boys teams for a total of 132 players.
Poulin said it was a strategic move to have four teams for this coming year, as it allows opportunities for players to continue to grow in the program.
Lonergan said it’s a great opportunity for female players.
“It’s huge,” she said. “There are so many kids interested that want to come here. The great part is there are going to be players from all over the country, like from Arizona, Michigan, California and Florida, so it’s not just your basic New England area players, but players who might not have a development model in the state they are living in.”
Co-founder/owner Tim Lovell said the recruits who are brought in are very determined and motivated to be college hockey players.
“Playing college hockey, especially at the Division 1 level, is not easy,” Lovell said. “Playing Division 2 or 3 hockey is becoming harder as well, so it’s a very competitive market. When we talk with families, the way we promote our program is we want to provide these kids the foundation to get recruited and the exposure to these schools in the Northeast. Does that mean every single kid that comes to Lovell Academy will play college hockey? Absolutely not. But we will do our best to teach them both academically and athletically to hopefully get to that level.”
Monahan said Thomas Boothby and Dan Boothby, co-owners and co-founders of Boothby Sports Performance, have aided with the academy’s off-ice training program. Dan Boothby is also Director of Sports Performance for Northeastern University and Thomas Boothby works with the Northeastern hockey program.
Room and board also includes three meals a day plus snacks that are specifically prepared based on the nutritional needs of the student-athletes.
The 117,000-square-foot Lovell Arena will offer three full NHL regulation ice surfaces with in-arena seating to accommodate 1,500 spectators.
The facility also will have locker rooms, including custom locker rooms for the academy teams, a goalie training area, a fitness and strength training center, physical therapy space, a pro shop, a 7,000 square-foot pub/restaurant, an arcade/lounge, four bowling lanes and two golf simulators.
“We want to create an environment that is going to embrace the student body, but also create a really tight-knit family network within Lovell Academy and Lovell Hockey,” Poulin said.
Lovell said all programming at Lovell Arena is for Lovell Hockey. Lovell Academy students will use the space during the day and weave it in with their class times. At the end of the day, Lovell programming will come in, primarily Boston Advantage, which is Lovell’s South Shore-based club, as well as adult leagues and learn-to-skate programs.
“It’s one huge family facility, which is really nice for us because then you have the kids starting out as Devos, the little guys, looking up to the Academy kids at the top,” Lovell said.
A few Lovell Academy roster spots are still available for this upcoming season. Interested recruits should fill out an inquiry form at the web page: lovellacademy.org/inquire/.
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