Player Development


The Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club takes great pride in its educational philosophy. The organization firmly believes that with effort and dedication its players can combine a successful academic and hockey career. Our players have a unique opportunity; they can hone their hockey skills in the premier development league to the NHL while obtaining an equally valuable education at some of the finest educational institutions in Canada.

In both hockey and education the Kitchener Rangers senior management leads by example having combined their hockey skills with a dedicated focus on education.

Joe Birch, our Chief Operating Officer and Governor, is a Rangers alumnus and a graduate of Western University in London. Brad Sparkes, our Director of Marketing and Sales, also played for the Rangers before graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University. He subsequently graduated from Ohio University with his Masters Degree.

The Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club is proud of the working relationship they have established with three of the finest post secondary educational institutions in Canada. Within 15 minutes of the arena, players can attend classes at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, the University of Waterloo, or Wilfrid Laurier University.

Communication between the Rangers and the schools is maintained through each school’s registrar’s office and their athletics department, in particular, their Head Hockey Coach’s office. Assistance with registration, course selection, tours and anything else the players may need is quickly addressed. This on-going support and cooperation will ensure that the Rangers will be able to continue to graduate players to the ranks of these fine post secondary institutions.

University of Waterloo
Wilfrid Laurier University

Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

High School:
Grand River Collegiate Institute

Daily monitoring of academic performance and attendance through electronic communication with the schools helps to maintain the players’ focus. Regular performance reports (including notebook checks), tutor availability, and a dedicated computer lab for school work make for a positive and supportive academic environment. As well, academic success is regularly celebrated through not only league awards but also monthly Rangers “Academic Player of the Month” awards presented at home games.

Our players also have access to our Educational Consultant, Dave Tennant. Dave currently teaches high school and provides continual assistance to our players in designing programs best suited to their educational needs, registration, long term planning, regular reporting to our players’ families and any other educational requirements they may have.

Academic excellence and athletic excellence go hand in hand. The Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club is proud to offer and deliver on its promise to provide young hockey players the opportunity to pursue both.



The Alumni Mentorship Program is one of the many tremendous team and league-wide resources available to Rangers players. What makes this program unique is that it connects the current players with team alumni who have been in their shoes.

Former Rangers captain Ben Fanelli (2009-10, 11-14) and goaltender Jordan DeKort (2013-14) are the program’s inaugural alumni mentors for the next two seasons. They will regularly be accessible to players on an informal basis, either one-on-one or as a group, and will speak to all players as a team at least three times a season.

Since overcoming a severe brain injury and graduating from the Ontario Hockey League, Fanelli has found success as a motivational speaker and host of the Heroic Minds podcast while pursuing a master’s degree in Psychology.

DeKort, who was Fanelli’s former teammate, has also worked to become a leader in social and cultural change within hockey.

After a four-year OHL career, which included 34 games with the Rangers, he created and facilitated a program called Gamechangers. His interactive workshops focus on empowering young athletes with transferable leadership and communication skills for both sport and everyday life.

The aim is to grow the program to five alumni participating in two-year spans.

Learn more about how the Alumni Mentorship Program will benefit the current generation of Rangers players.


Learn more about our organization, our history, and our community in our prospective players video. If you have any questions or require any additional information, you can contact us at (519) 576-3700 or





Rangers Head Coach and General Manager, Mike McKenzie, guides a tour of the team’s facilities behind the scenes at the Auditorium.






The Kitchener Rangers Host Family Program plays a major role in our team’s success both on and off the ice. It takes special people to open their homes and hearts to our players and we take the utmost care to ensure our players are placed in environments that are conducive to care, understanding and safety.

We ask that our players be treated like any other member of your family. It is important that he respects the rules of his host family and the host family respects the rules of the hockey club. The values and principles for success that are essential to become a member of the Kitchener Rangers will be demanded at the rink, in the home, in the community and in school.

Accommodation Requirements:

-Single or double bed per player (player may share a room with another player – but not with host family members)
-Dresser and closet space
-Towels and shower supplies are responsibility of host family
-Laundry and mending are usually done by host family
-Dry cleaning is player’s responsibility
-Long distance phone calls are player’s responsibility
-Parking space required for player’s car
-A desk or table with adequate lighting for school work
-A computer with internet access

The Kitchener Rangers currently provide the following benefits to our host families:

-Room and board ($100.00 per week)
-Two season tickets for regular season and playoff games
-Lounge on concourse level for pre-game and between periods
-Invitation to complimentary private events

Are you and your family interested in hosting a Rangers player and would like to arrange to meet one of our team personnel? Please complete the form below.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.