Bridgedale Academy Blog

    Friday, March 27, 2020

    We Believe in Our Son Gunnar

    Bridgedale has been a huge positive for him

    By: Tracy Williams, Bridgedale Mom


    Gunnar skipped 5th grade and entered 6th at Bridgedale.

    When we were first considering Bridgedale for our son Gunnar, we were a bit hesitant. We were excited about the hockey training, and at the time Gunnar played for the Mission. So it made sense to go to Seven Bridges every day for school and have all of his hockey practices in the same building.

    But we were concerned about the academics. Gunnar has a late birthday and Bridgedale did not have a 5th grade class at the time. And that meant that Gunnar had to skip 5th and go directly into Bridgedale's 6th grade.

    Gunnar excelled academically.

    We thought he would be behind or struggle, but with the help of the teachers and staff, including the after-school study hall, Gunnar didn't miss a beat. Mrs. Di Pauli in particular was so wonderful for Gunnar and had such a huge impact on him. And so he ended up doing extremely well in all of his classes. Bridgedale guided him to the level that he needed to be academically.  

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    Tuesday, March 17, 2020

    Why Checking Skills are so Valuable in Hockey

    One of the Keys to Moving Up the Hockey Pyramid

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy

    A number of years ago I attended a spring AAA Minor Bantam game featuring many excellent players. 

    It was, I knew, one of the very first “checking-allowed” games for both teams. 

    As a longtime AAA bantam coach, I was expecting to see players who were more than anxious to “hit” - but without a clue about how to properly “check.”

    But instead I was very pleasantly surprised.

    Because this game featured two teams with very good checking skills.

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    Monday, February 10, 2020

    We Believe in Our Son Finn

    Bridgedale has been a huge positive for him

    By: Jamie Brennan, Bridgedale Dad


    Finn was in a poor learning environment.

    Last year, my wife and I realized that the learning environment at our son Finn's school was less than ideal. He was getting by as a 6th grader, but nothing we or the school tried was helping him to excel. 

    We prayed 7th grade would be better but once the new school year started, we knew it would be the same as before ... or worse. 

    Finn was not thriving and we knew he could do better. 

    It was agonizing for us. We knew we had to do something.

    We already knew about Bridgedale.

    Being a hockey family, we'd heard about Bridgedale Academy and so we arranged for Finn to do a shadow day there. 

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    Friday, February 7, 2020

    An orange is not an apple

    What does this have to do with young athletes?

    By: Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy


    "An orange is not an apple."

    Hmm. Seems pretty obvious.

    After all, an orange is an orange, and an apple is an apple.

    So “what does this have to do with the development of young student-athletes?” you might ask.

    It turns out plenty.

    Plenty, that is, when the student-athlete keeps trying to convince himself that some things are other than what they actually are.

    A thing is what it is.

    One of the most common challenges I deal with as Headmaster at Bridgedale Academy, is getting young student-athletes to deal head-on with the realities they face each day.

    The capacity for youngsters to evade and contrive, and at times even to deceive themselves, never ceases to amaze me.

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    Friday, January 31, 2020

    We Believe in Our Son Anthony

    Bridgedale has made a huge difference

    By: Ryan Ostrowski, Bridgedale Dad


    Anthony needed a change.

    It was early 2016 and we weren't happy with our son Anthony's school. Something was missing and, like for a lot of boys, Anthony just wasn't thriving like we knew he could. 

    He was really passionate about hockey, and so he was very excited when we told him we were going to Bridgedale Academy's Open House.  

    It was all so positive. We were able to talk to a number of Bridgedale student-alumni parents. We were very impressed by what they said about Bridgedale's classical academic curriculum.

    And of course we loved that Anthony would be able to improve his hockey skills by being on the ice every day.  

    We knew this would be a good investment after he shadowed at Bridgedale and loved it.

    He started Bridgedale in the third trimester of fifth grade and by the following fall we saw significant progress in him both wanting to push himself at school and to challenge himself on the ice to become a stronger and more skilled player.

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    Monday, August 26, 2019

    Top 7 Reasons for a School for Athletes like Bridgedale

    Developing the Entire Student-Athlete

    By Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy


    Enhance your son's athletic and academic performance


    How valuable is a school for athletes that understands and deals straight up with the fact that boys need physical activity, on a daily basis, and that getting that physical activity improves their academics?

    What if that same school offers its student-athletes a classical education?

    What if that school actually encourages the boys to be competitive? Won't that yield benefits that go above and beyond just sports and academics?

    Boys learn better, boys excel, in such an environment. And the benefits can last a lifetime.

    So let’s get to it. What follows are my 7 top reasons for boys to attend a school for athletes like Bridgedale Academy.

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    Wednesday, March 13, 2019

    Spring Hockey and Beyond

    Getting to the Next Level

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy


    How can a player get to the next level?

    Every year thousands of youth hockey players try out for their next season’s teams. Virtually all are trying to “get to the next level.” In Illinois the next level might be AAA, or it might be their club’s Central States or Gold level teams. In some cases it might simply be making that first travel team.

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    Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    The 7 Keys of a True Hockey Mindset

    How can a youth hockey player "guarantee" his own success?

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy


    What kind of mindset does a player need to realize his full potential?

    The burden of doing what is necessary to an athlete's development falls squarely on the shoulders of the individual athlete.

    Parents indeed do play a crucial role when the athlete is younger. But ultimately it is up to the athlete to do what he must to turn his potential into reality.

    To do this the athlete must develop a certain mindset.

    It is a mindset that will allow the player to do those 7 key things that "must" be done, i.e. for the player to eventually realize his full potential.

    And ultimately, this mindset is dependent on what I'll call a "crucial understanding."

    First I'll address the 7 "keys" ... and then the crucial understanding. 

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    Wednesday, November 14, 2018

    Why Goalies are a Special Breed

    Toughest Position in Team Sports

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy


    Nothing compares physically, mentally and emotionally

    I've never been a goalie.

    In fact, I don't think I've ever even put on the pads.

    Nonetheless, I believe that hockey goalie is the toughest position in all of team sports. So here's my very unscientific analysis of why it's so hard to be a goalie.

    Value to the team is only a part of it

    I've coached hockey for many years and understand the value that an elite goaltender brings to a team.

    Put simply: You can't win a championship without a championship-caliber goaltender.

    Read Insights & Fundamentals for Goalies Sept 2018 Edition

    But other sports have positions that will have a similar value to a team. No team wins in football without an exceptional quarterback. Championship baseball teams need world-class pitching.

    So it has to be more than just that.

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    Wednesday, August 29, 2018

    Get 37 Weeks of Hockey Camp

    Every Year Parents Scramble to get their sons in Hockey Camps

    by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy


    Isn't there a better way?

    Every summer, hundreds of hockey camps are operating all over North America. And no matter what skills your hockey-playing child needs to work on, there are camps out there for you.

    There are camps for speed, camps for stick handling, camps for shooting, camps for checking, camps for “power” skating, camps for defensemen, etc. 

    Most of these camps are week-long camps, and with each camp comes the promise of positive results.

    So my question is: If positive results can come from attending a 1-week hockey camp, what kind of results could you expect from 37 weeks of hockey camp?


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