A Personal Email from a Bridgedale Dad

    Posted on Sunday, June 18, 2023 at 12:50 PM

    Posted by Mike McPartlin on Jun 18, 2023 12:50:55 PM


    Bridgedale dad Bill Vander Velde wrote about his sons' year at Bridgedale

    Note: Printed below is an unsolicited email I received from Bill Vander Velde, dad of Jake and Josh, Bridgedale 8th and 6th graders respectively during the 2022-23 school year. I've received Bill's permission to print his personal email in its entirety. It's a long note but I hope you'll take the time to read it.

    Bridgedale Headmaster Mike McPartlin


    Good morning Mike,

    Colette and I wanted to drop you an email regarding Bridgedale and Jake and Josh. We have been thinking about this quite a bit. We really don’t even know where to begin. Words cannot even begin to express what you and Bridgedale have done for both of our boys. Thinking back to the gracious offer you gave us last fall and where this ended up at graduation last week. It literally brings tears to our eyes on so many levels for so many different reasons.

    Bridgedale dad Bill Vander VeldeFirst of all, we could never have imagined our boys attending Bridgedale. Second, your offer came at a time when financially things were really tough, as our business was still reeling from the COVID shutdowns. Third, the impact that Bridgedale has had on Jake and Josh is immeasurable from now and in the years to come. This impact, seriously, cannot even be measured yet because it’s still in its infancy! We are referring to not just Hockey skills, but, academics, responsibility, character and personal development. These boys KNEW that they mattered to Bridgedale staff and this inspired them to be better and strive to meet the expectations set for them.

    To say we are overwhelmed at what has happened to the boys in such a short period of time is understatement. Please indulge me as we list some of the positive attributes that have developed in just 7 months:

    1. Increased self confidence as individuals.Both are making decisions quicker and more freely for themselves.

    2. Character development on and off the ice. Both have strengthened their mental strength to make right decisions in adverse situations and not succumb to peer pressure.

    3. Personal responsibility has increased. They are quicker to be aware of what is going on around them and be part of a solution and not being a problem.

    4. Increased academically. They both care about their grades and monitor their progress and strived to be their best.

    5. Their hockey skills….this can’t even quantified. The growth disparity from when both started to now is immeasurable. It’s mind blowing.  Being at Bridgedale has opened many doors for both boys for hockey. Josh has moved up to what I believe as one of the top 2011 goalies in the country. These aren’t actually my words but from coaches. Jacob, what can we say, wow, he is showing some serious skills and looks to be carving out his own path to playing exceptional hockey.

    6. Their personal responsibility growth, for their own actions, as a classmate, teammate, student and as an individual has been outstanding.

    Both boys love Bridgedale. They never complained about getting up at 5:30 am to go to school. Never complained about school. Rather just the opposite. We are still in shock over it all.

    The life skills, academics and hockey skills learned are going to positively impact both boys future. Not only in the coming months but into adulthood. It’s still unbelievable in such a short time.

    As far as our gratitude goes, how can you even begin to quantify it. Speechlessness. How can one ever repay something you can’t even quantify? To say we are shockingly grateful is a massive understatement. Keep in mind, we had 4 children attend a private school prior to Bridgedale and I can’t say this about those two private schools. We can only say, we will do whatever we can to help support Bridgedale in the future.

    We intend to send Josh to Bridgedale this fall. Jacob to Benet. Lord willing, it looks like business will turn around here shortly to enable us to make it all happen.

    We are so grateful to God and His grace, you and Bridgedale for these past 7 months. We literally pray for continued blessing on your work there and its continued success.

    Bridgedale parents Bill and Colette Vander VeldeForever grateful,

    Bill and Colette Vander Velde


    (In their non-hockey parent lives, Bill and Colette Vander Velde are principals in the fashion house Vander Velde Mode Collectief.)



    Attention 4th Graders

    Bridgedale Academy is accepting a limited number of 4th graders for the 2023-24 school year, on a case-by-case basis. Please call me at 708-712-5079 to inquire. 

    Mike McPartlin, Headmaster

    Bridgedale Academy School for Athletes


    Bridgedale students LOVE going to school,

    and so they THRIVE in it.

    They LOVE coming to school every day.

    And as a result, they are thriving.

    They engage academically ...

    ... and so they come to love learning.

    They also love that they get to work on the sport they have such passion for, while also training to become better athletes, all as part of their school day.

    They train athletically ...

    ... and so they more fully develop their skills.

    They LOVE getting so much better ... so much sooner.

    They are physically fit and mentally alert ... they are thriving.



    Schedule a Bridgedale Shadow Day


    “Every shot you don't take won't go in.”

    Wayne Gretzky


    Talk to Headmaster


    Schedule a visit to Bridgedale Academy 



    Bridgedale is now enrolling students for the 2023-24 School Year. 

    Bridgedale Academy is an all-boys school for athletes, a prep school for serious youth hockey players. We offer the 4th through 8th grades. In addition to our winning combination of sports and academics, we focus on leadership training. We use a classical academic curriculum and our graduates go on to attend some of the most prestigious high schools in the midwest, including Lake Forest Academy, Culver Military Academy, Shattuck St. Mary’s, Northwood School, Benet Academy, Fenwick Prep, Loyola Academy, St. Ignatius Prep, Marmion Academy, St. Viator, Latin School and Providence Catholic. We pride ourselves on being the top youth hockey prep school in the nation. Our grads go on to top colleges and universities, including Notre Dame, Harvard, Denver, Ohio State, Bentley, Western Michigan, Miami (OH), Boston College, Tufts, Nebraska (Omaha), Hobart, Adrian, MSOE and more.  More than thirty (30) of our graduates have already received their NCAA Division 1 college hockey commitments. Seven (7) of our grads have gone on to compete for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP). A number of our grads have been NHL-drafted (one made his NHL debut this past season). Our grads play at all levels of college hockey and many are now playing junior hockey in the USHL, the NAHL and the OHL.
    « Previous Post Bridgedale Grad Jake Delaney Commits to Miami (OH) Next Post » Thank You Note from a Bridgedale Grad's Parents