National Hockey Institute A New Option for College-Bound Post-Grad Female Player

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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There is a new unique option for the College Bound post-graduate female hockey player looking to transition to an NCAA roster and further develop their on-ice game play & individual skillset, as well as staying academically engaged off the ice.

The National Hockey Institute, based in Waterville Valley, NH will feature an independent, post-graduate women’s hockey team beginning with the 2023-2024 season. NHI is the brainchild of Mykul Haun, who will be the head coach and director of the program.

Haun, currently the head coach of the U20 USPHL Premier New Hampshire Monarchs Junior hockey team, has an extensive background in women’s hockey, including a stint as head coach for the Plymouth State Women’s team from 2016-2020.

The National Hockey Institute will call Waterville Valley, NH its home base

“I have an extensive background working in female hockey, including top level prep school, NCAA Division 1 & 3, National Team athletes, PWHL, PHF, as well as top European professional female athletes,” Haun said. “I have seen a major shift in the development of women’s hockey. There have been so many new collegiate teams starting up; along with an extra year granted to student-athletes because of covid, it has created a logjam of players on NCAA rosters.”

The team will call the Waterville Valley Ice Arena home. It will be a fully independent team,
looking to play between 45-55 games against NCAA DIII teams, US and Canadian academies, and strong U19 US programs and Canadian U22 programs. The team also looks to play in several showcases throughout the season.

Plans call for a seven-month comprehensive program from September-March, focused not only on hockey and skill development, but also on strength and conditioning, nutrition and academics.

NHI will feature a one-of-a-kind hockey development model where players benefit greatly from the state-of-the-art training facilities and vast hockey resources that will be made available. Nestled in the ski resort town of Waterville Valley, the location will provide an all-in-one campus setting where everything is within walking distance of their living residence and has the feel of an Olympic Village. This environment will allow the players to train, develop and focus without any outside distractions.

NHI has secured a partnership with Southern New Hampshire University to provide the educational component to their student-athletes.

“We feel that it is very important for our student-athletes to pursue and exceed expectations both on and off the ice,” Haun explained. “Through our partnership with SNHU, we have been able to drastically reduce the cost for SNHU college courses for our incoming student athletes. Southern New Hampshire’s undergraduate terms consist of eight-week terms throughout the year which aligns seamlessly with our program timeline. We love the idea of our student-athletes being able to utilize our partnership with SNHU to obtain fully transferable credits to assist their post-secondary pursuits.”

On a typical weekday, student/athletes will have on-ice development and individual skills, then a full team practice. After lunch, there will be strength and conditioning training at the nearby White Mountain Athletic Club. Later in the afternoon, players will have team and individual video analysis and some down time.

NHI players will train daily at the Waterville Valley Ice Arena

After dinner, each player will have a required monitored study hall session for at least a minimum of two days a week.

According to Haun, player housing will be provided through the Snowy Owl Inn in Waterville Valley, with both double and triple occupancy options to be made available, depending on athlete/family preference. NHI is not making it mandatory for the student athlete to stay in the provided housing option, if they opt to provide their own housing. Billeting with host families could also be another potential option as well.

“Being part of the National Hockey Institute has many benefits for our student athletes, including advanced hockey development, a diverse and unique competition schedule, as well as our in-depth top-flight off-ice strength and conditioning development,” Haun said. “We feel the most important tangible however is our approach and preparation for our athletes. Our staff will be attentive and diligent, and are educated in player advancement. We pride ourselves on not just creating NCAA exposure opportunities for our players, but truly understanding our players academic and athletic profile, which allows us to match them up with the appropriate college or university.”

To learn more about the National Hockey Institute, visit

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