Bridgedale Academy Blog

    Sunday, June 18, 2023

    Thank You Note from a Bridgedale Grad's Parents

    Note: Printed below is a note I received at our graduation ceremony from Samantha and Ryan Burns, parents of Aiden, who graduated from Bridgedale this past school year. Aiden will be attending Benet Academy in the fall. Their thoughtful, handwritten note is also pictured below. 

    Bridgedale Headmaster Mike McPartlin

    Dear Mike,

    Never in our wildest dreams could we have imagined our son would be attending school in an ice rink, and in the blink of an eye, our time is ending. Such an important decision for us. 

    These past four years have been a blessing. What you and your staff have provided Aiden will never be forgotten. 

    Starting a boy, quickly growing into a young man, Aiden has proved time and again that this decision was one of the best yet. 

    Although life at Bridgedale is vastly different than other schools, it works well for those willing to embrace it. 

    It provided education, athletic training, adversity, leadership, opportunity and guidance necessary to help him grow.

    He is a better friend, teammate, student and person because of each person encountered here.

    Thank you for giving us this opportunity to join this family, to share our son, our family life, our struggle as we navigated the last four years. 

    We are forever grateful for our Bridgedale family!

    Our best,

    Ryan and Sam




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    Sunday, June 18, 2023

    A Personal Email from a Bridgedale Dad


    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.

    First 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.

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    Saturday, May 13, 2023

    Bridgedale Grad Jake Delaney Commits to Miami (OH)

    On a Hockey Scholarship

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    We are proud to congratulate Bridgedale Academy grad Jake Delaney for his recent commitment to attend and play his NCAA D1 college hockey at Miami of Ohio

    The Redhawks compete in the super-competitive National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) alongside perennial powerhouse programs like Denver, North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth.

    Jake a 6’1” 205 lb left-shooting defenseman, is a resident of Glen Ellyn, IL. He and his twin brother Nick (who has had his own hockey success recently) attended Bridgedale for four (4) years. 

    Jake spent most of last season with the Chicago Fury U18s before being called up to the Janesville (WI) Jets of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) where he joined fellow Bridgedale grad defensemen Gunnar Williams and Tyler Pfister. 

    Jake made an immediate impact at Janesville, impressing the coaches to such a degree that they tendered him for the 2023-24 season. In addition, he was drafted by the Tri-City Storm in this year’s USHL Phase II draft. 

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    Monday, May 8, 2023

    Bridgedale Grad Anton Sorensen Commits to Adrian College

    Will join D3 National Runner-Up in the Fall

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy


    We are proud to congratulate Bridgedale Academy grad Anton Sorensen for his recent commitment to attend and play his NCAA D3 college hockey at Adrian College

    Adrian is a powerhouse program, having won the NCAA national championship last season and finishing as runner-up this season to Bridgedale grad Tanner Hartman and his Hobart College Statesmen teammates.

    Anton, a right-shooting forward, is a resident of Wheaton, IL. His dad Anders, a former Bridgedale on-ice instructor, is now in his second year as Head Coach of the Rockford Ice Hogs, the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks. 

    Anton, in his second season as a member of the Ottawa Jr. Senators of the Central Canada Hockey League junior league (CCHL), attended Bridgedale for two years while competing for the Chicago Mission.

    Anton and his Jr. Senators teammates just hoisted the Bogart Cup for winning the CCHL playoffs and they will now compete in the prestigious Centennial Cup playoffs for Canada's National Junior A Championship. 

    Their first Centennial Cup game will be this Friday, May 12, 2023 against the champion of the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League.

    Anton has had a very productive year for the Jr. Senators this season, notching 54 points (18G 36A) in 53 games, good for 15th place in league scoring.

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    Sunday, April 2, 2023

    Bridgedale Grad Spencer Stastney makes NHL Debut

    Solid Performance helps Predators win 6-1 over the Blues

    Bridgedale grad Spencer Stastney made his NHL debut last night as his Nashville Predators won 6-1 over the St. Louis Blues. Spencer, a left-shooting defenseman, played more than 13 minutes in the game, ending up with an even plus/minus to go along with his 3 shots on goal and 1 blocked shot.

    After two years with USA Hockey's NTDP, Spencer starred for four seasons at Notre Dame. He signed with Nashville in 2022 after his senior season at ND and until last night had spent this entire season with the Milwaukee Admirals, Nashville's AHL affiliate.

    (Scroll down to see 2020 video of Spencer talking about his time at Bridgedale.)

    Spencer received some very high praise from Predators Head Coach John Hynes (comments about Spencer's play begin at 4:26 of the post-game presser).

    "I thought Spencer was really good," said Coach Hynes. "I was really impressed with him tonight. I thought his skating was at an NHL level." He also praised Spencer's "puck poise (and) his ability to move the puck up the ice," adding that he "defended well" and "didn't miss a beat."

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    Sunday, April 2, 2023

    Bridgedale Grad Jacob Pivonka makes Professional Debut

    Wears #37 in Bridgeport Islanders' 5-2 win over Providence

    Bridgedale grad Jacob Pivonka made his professional hockey debut last night with the Bridgeport Islanders in the American Hockey League (AHL), a 5-2 win over the Providence Bruins.

    Jacob is a left-shooting forward who recently wrapped up a strong graduate season for the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

    Prior to joining the Mavericks, Jacob was a key player for four years at the University of Notre Dame, serving as team captain as a senior during the 2021-22 season. He had played two seasons for USA Hockey's National Team Development Program (NTDP) before joining Notre Dame.

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    Wednesday, March 29, 2023

    Tanner Hartman - National Champion!

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    Now 3 Years in a Row: Bridgedale Grad National Champ!


    Bridgedale grad Tanner Hartman and his Hobart Statesmen teammates beat defending champion Adrian College last Sunday to win the NCAA Division 3 National Championship.

    This makes it three years in a row that a Bridgedale grad has hoisted an NCAA Hockey Championship trophy.

    Last year Denver University teammates Sean Behrens and Jack Devine won the Division 1 Championship.

    The prior year, Bridgedale grad Josh Lopina won the D1 Championship  with UMass.

    Hobart's National Championship, its first ever, caps off a tremendous season in which they also won the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) title, only the second time they'd accomplished that feat.

    Tanner had an exceptional season for the Statesmen, playing a regular shift at forward, finishing 6th on the team in scoring (7G and 12A - 19 Pts), and making the NEHC All-Rookie team.

    During the season, when we noted the impact he was having at Hobart, we didn't mention how well he was doing academically. But that too is impressive. "I'm so proud of the fine young man he's become," says Tanner's dad Craig. "He's carrying a 4.15 GPA and made the Dean's List."

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    Friday, March 17, 2023

    Bridgedale Showcase a Huge Success

    Student-athletes did themselves proud

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    On the evening of Thursday, March 9th, Bridgedale Academy hosted its inaugural Bridgedale Showcase. The brainchild of the Bridgedale Parents Association, this event featured:

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    Tuesday, January 31, 2023

    Bridgedale Grad Nathan Santos Named All-State

    Huge Part of his Team's Success

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    Bridgedale Academy grad Nathan Santos was recently honored as an AHAI high school hockey All-State selection. The Neuqua Valley standout senior defenseman was earlier selected as an Illinois West All-Conference All-Star as well.

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    Thursday, December 15, 2022

    Bridgedale Grad Tanner Hartman Making an Impact at Hobart

    Mental Toughness and Determination

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    Bridgedale Academy grad Tanner Hartman is making an impact as a freshman on the Hobart Statesmen Men's Hockey Team at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York.

    The Statesmen have been ranked #1 in the USCHO D3 hockey poll, a position they've held for 5 consecutive weeks. Their 11-0-0 record reflects their lofty status and Tanner is presently 4th in scoring on the team.

    Tanner attended Bridgedale from 6th through 8th grades and for the last two years has competed for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs of the National Collegiate Development Conference of the US Premier Hockey League, where he earned Player of the Game honors in the league's All-Star Game. Prior to juniors he competed for the Chicago Fury, where he was an alternate captain on their U18 team.

    A native of Chicago, IL, and younger brother of Minnesota Wild forward Ryan Hartman, Tanner's three years at Bridgedale proved to be something of a turning point for him, this according to his mom Kim Hartman.

    "Tanner's time at Bridgedale was super valuable for him," says Kim. "He blossomed in many ways, not only athletically and academically of course, but also as a young man. Bridgedale allowed him to grow and mature at his own pace. He learned to take responsibility for himself, and he got tougher. And that made him so much more confident. It changed his life."

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