Some private schools offer recreational sports (or “rec sports”), with intramural leagues for both boys and girls (including coed leagues). Some schools also offer more competitive sports programs, such as inter-school or varsity leagues. For instance, you can find schools which have leagues and programs in sports such as hockey, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, tennis, baseball, golf, football, and rugby.
If your child is an elite athlete, though, you may want to enrol him or her in a specialized sports school. These schools make one or more sports a major focus, combining this with a focus on core academics. Many of these schools offer intensive training, practice, and competitions (sometimes daily), which prepare your child to compete with the best of the best. They may even help pave the way for a professional sports career, in an elite league or organization such as the NHL (hockey), (W)NBA (basketball), NFL (football), MLS (soccer), (L)PGA (golf), or ATP (tennis).
Canada is known for having some of the best sports schools in the world. This includes excellent hockey, soccer, and basketball schools, many of which we list on OurKids.net.
Moreover, many of these schools (and some non-sports schools) offer special accomodations for elite athletes. For instance, they may offer flexible course schedules to accommodate training in or out of school. They may also offer small classrooms, special programs, academic counselling, and tutoring, to accommodate elite athletes. (To learn more about elite athletic programs and the accommodations they offer, browse our advanced search).
Many high-level, specialized sports programs in Canada are at the secondary level, in high school (or middle school). In addition to sports high schools, though, there are also sports elementary schools.
A private school with a sports program can be a great option for your child. It can be the perfect way for them to hone their skills, challenge themselves, and achieve their best. In fact, private school sports programs often rival those of public schools. Why? For starters, they tend to have dedicated coaches and high expectations. They also often have better practice facilities and equipment.
These schools aren’t just about sports, though. They offer the right balance of academics and athletics. As one all girls' high school basketball coach told us, “The way they treat each other in the hallways and the way they take on challenges are all related—whether it’s how to tackle a mathematical problem or how to deal with a zone press.”
Overall, sports schools have plenty of benefits.
Sports schools are very popular in Canada. The list of top high school athletes who chose private school is impressive. In hockey alone, many former and current NHLers chose a private high school with a hockey program. This list includes Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, Brad Richards, Brett Hull, Brian Leetch, Curtis Joseph, Jack Johnson, Jordan Eberle, and Sean Couturier (to name only a few). In fact, many of the greatest athletes in history got their start in a private secondary school. We offer a list of the top boarding schools' sports programs, as well as the best schools for hockey.
You might also consider sending your young, budding athlete to a boarding school with a sports program. This option offers your child a strong combination of athletics and academics. It will also allow him or her to mature in a unique environment. NHLer Zach Bogosian put it best when he said, “In boarding school, you’re on your own, but not really. It advances your maturity.” It’s a credit to boarding secondary schools that many of their graduates become leaders on and off the playing field.
Below, we list some of the best sports programs in Canada, including sports high schools (such as hockey high schools). Click on a school profile to learn more about its sports and academic programs.