TPH Merges its U.S. and Canada Entities into One Organization
As the old saying goes, “We’re getting the band back together.”
Twenty-one years ago, Dwayne Blais and Nathan Bowen started a two-week summer hockey camp in Huntsville, Alabama, with their UAH Chargers teammate Ryan McCormack and local friend and coach Steve Miller. That hockey camp – attended by Huntsville native and current Washington Capitals forward Nic Dowd – was the beginning of Total Package Hockey (TPH). TPH grew under both Bowen and Blais, although as two different companies: a TPH in the U.S. under the direction of Bowen, and then a TPH in London, Ontario – starting with the purchase of the University of Western Ontario Hockey School – under the direction of Blais.
Now, the college teammates are reuniting, as TPH merges its U.S. and Canada entities into one organization to best serve North America’s minor hockey and youth sports communities.
Blais, a native of Sudbury who currently serves as a player development consultant for the Detroit Red Wings, will remain in an ownership and leadership role along with TPH-London’s Director Kevin Galerno.
“This is a partnership that will benefit everyone involved, but most importantly, our student-athletes,” said Blais, who has also worked as a skills coach for the Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitals, Hershey Bears, and London Knights. “Nathan Bowen, Alan Keeso, and the TPH leadership team, who are trusted friends, have built a proven academy model, and we are excited to be able to share everything TPH has to offer with the players in London and across Ontario. We can increase the number of student-athletes we help on a daily basis by working together, and this will provide tremendous opportunities for our players who will be exposed to a network of teams and coaches across North America. Our team here in London will also have opportunities to work with, learn from, and advance within Team TPH.”
TPH has been an influential hockey development group in London and the surrounding area since 2004. The organization further established itself as the region’s leader in 2007, launching the OHA High-Performance Program in Ontario in partnership with the Ontario Hockey Association to help create opportunities for junior players. In more recent years, the company has offered a variety of opportunities to local student-athletes to study, train, and play to newfound levels of potential, including through the Academy for Student-Athletes Development (ASAD) program and private education partners.
Along the way, Blais and his team have played a substantial role in the personal and athletic development of the local National Hockey League players, including three NHL captains; Montreal’s Nick Suzuki, Vancouver’s Bo Horvat, and Columbus’ Boone Jenner. The team in London has also helped countless professional, university, college, junior, and minor hockey players over the past 18 years, spanning from the AHL, CIS, NCAA, CHL, USHL, NAHL, BCHL, AJHL, CCHL, OJHL, GOJHL and more.
“Dwayne Blais is one of the top 10 professional player development coaches in the world, but his impact extends far beyond what he teaches technically,” said Bowen, co-founder of TPH. “His genuine care for players as people first and his ability to connect with them while being a positive role model and mentor is what sets him apart from the rest. You won’t see him all over websites and social media, but ask any players or parents who have worked with him over the past 20 years and you will get the same answer about Dwayne – he is genuine, he will hold you accountable and he has a passion for helping people grow. We will now get the direct benefit of his impact throughout all of TPH with our team members, which in turn will directly impact our student-athletes.”
Furthering the UAH hockey connection is the fact that Bowen facilitated TPH-London director Kevin Galerno’s campus recruiting visit. In over 12 years with TPH, Galerno – recognized as one of the few Certified Hockey Canada Skills Coaches in southwestern Ontario – has supported NHL players and prospects, as well as those at the NCAA and junior hockey ranks in the off-season. In-season, he works directly with several different minor hockey associations and serves as the skill development coach for the London Knights (OHL) and the University of Western Mustangs Men’s Hockey Team. Most recently, Galerno attended and assisted with the Detroit Red Wings 2022 Development Camp.
“Kevin Galerno brings the same core values as Dwayne,” said Bowen. “He’s an incredible coach and mentor to young hockey players, and his growth mindset ensures that what TPH brings to the table in London is world-class.”
In the U.S., TPH has become the industry leader in hockey development and youth sports academies. In the 2022 NHL Draft alone, three TPH Academy alumni – Cutter Gauthier, Rutger McGroarty, and Lane Hutson – were selected in the top two rounds. With its various platforms, including association management, elite prospects programs, tournaments and showcases, camps and clinics, and its hallmark TPH Academy with 15 campuses across the country, TPH works with more than 10,000 student-athletes every year. Many of those student-athletes advance to various levels in hockey, and now across a growing number of sports, including baseball, soccer, figure skating, and more. But most importantly, these student-athletes are advancing as individuals in the many arenas of life.
Alan Keeso, hailing from Listowel, Ontario, became TPH’s CEO this past January. He first met Blais at – you guessed it – UAH, via a hockey school he attended with Bowen during his high school years. Keeso and Blais reconnected in recent years as Blais invited Keeso to be interviewed for his Behind the Gear podcast.
“Alan’s had a unique and exciting journey, and so much of that has sprung from the habits he built through his time in the game of hockey,” said Blais. “The fact he’s taken those lessons and habits to his years helping small businesses to grow, his service in Canada’s armed forces, his academic pursuits with two Master’s degrees from the University of Oxford, and now leading a company of more than 150 team members at TPH, is a testament to what TPH is all about: advancing the next generation of impact players, in and beyond the game”
Keeso immediately got to work at the turn of the year to bring the two TPH organizations together.
“I’ve heard from family friends in Ontario over the years, and especially in recent months, about the incredible experience their kids have had working with Dwayne, Kevin, and the team in London,” said Keeso. “I can speak for all of TPH in saying that we are so thrilled to now call them our teammates. This merger makes everyone in the organization instantly better to the benefit of families with young aspiring student-athletes. It’s not often you get an opportunity like this, and we’re all excited to continue to strive to lead the world in the holistic development of student-athletes.”
Having just released its first annual TPH Academy Impact Report, TPH looks forward to introducing more locations in Ontario in the upcoming academic year. For now, however, the TPH band being back together is a special moment for the organization, the youth sports community, and for student-athletes taking the stage with TPH via the gym, classroom, ice, and on a growing number of playing surfaces.
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