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REA introduces The Hockey Academy

Brad Berry and Erik Fabian both played Division I college hockey and moved on to professional careers. Both will now be trying to help area athletes do the same. Ralph Engelstad Arena introduced The Hockey Academy on Tuesday afternoon. It is a ye...

Brad Berry and Erik Fabian both played Division I college hockey and moved on to professional careers.

Both will now be trying to help area athletes do the same.

Ralph Engelstad Arena introduced The Hockey Academy on Tuesday afternoon. It is a year-round program that will focus on hockey-specific skill training both on and off the ice, as well as strength and conditioning.

NHL veteran Brad Berry, who also has served as an assistant coach at UND and for the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League, is the program's director. Berry was as a scout for the Vancouver Canucks last year.

Former Sioux forward Erik Fabian decided to retire from pro hockey after sustaining a knee injury this spring while playing in the East Coast Hockey League. He will be the assistant director.

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UND's athletic trainer, Mark Poolman, will head up the strength and conditioning portion.

The grand opening is expected in late July.

"We want to make average players good," Fabian said, "and good players great."

Addition to REA

One of the key components to the program will be a new Hockey Skills Center that Ralph Engelstad Arena will install next to the weight room in the basement. Among the features in the 2,500-square foot room will be a multi-tasking skating treadmill, synthetic ice for shooting and stick handling drills and a speed lane designed for explosive stride development.

Fabian said they are targeting players who have a strong desire for improvement regardless of age. There will be instruction available for mites through professional players and both boys and girls.

Costs vary depending on the program.

Berry said he hopes the program will help develop more Division I college players in the area and help keep prep players here. He expects to see athletes from area cities, such as Devils Lake, Grafton, Thief River Falls and Crookston, signing up. Entire teams also can sign up for events.

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"When you start getting better and a little older, more and more doors open for you all over the place," Berry said. "Hopefully, we can keep players here a little longer."

Area coaches of all levels were present at a luncheon Tuesday.

For more information, contact Berry at bradb@theralph.com or Fabian at erikf@theralph.com . The Web site, reahockeyacademy.com is still under construction.

"This is Brad's show," arena general manager Jody Hodgson said. "His fingerprints will be all over it."

Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to bschlossman@gfherald.com .

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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