Northern Educate: Opened in 2011, boasting intense hockey skill instruction and online academic learning for all youth ages at facilities in Vadnais Heights and Eden Prairie. Includes up to 480 hours of ice time for youth hockey players during the school year.
Achiever Academy: High school-based program begun in 2012 for boys’ hockey players and in 2013 for girls. Teams compete as independents in Class 1A under Minnesota State High School League rules. Achiever boys’ record is 14-7-2 this season. The girls’ team is 20-5-1.
Concerns raised: Some high school hockey observers question the validity of the online academic curriculum. Others cite fears of burnout for young athletes. The Minnesota State High School League is reviewing a challenge to the eligibility of two players on Achiever’s girls’ team.
New owners: Greg Gartner, a Stillwater-based business owner and youth hockey coach, and Tom Forsythe purchased Northern Educate and Achiever for an undisclosed amount in January, staving off what they said was “imminent closure” of the programs. They say they plan a renewed focus on academics.
David La Vaque