Kaivo Hockey focuses on the fine details that breed dynamic players with elite skill sets. Explosive speed, deceptive stick handling and hockey IQ are all essential details that have become the fundamentals behind success in today’s world of hockey. With the game becoming faster each generation, the margin separating players is becoming finer. Kaivo Hockey provides a high intensity environment in which technicalities are tediously taught, while also encouraging mistakes because they are the roots to success. Proper practice accelerates improvement – at Kaivo Hockey we do not simply go through drills.

We teach skills not drills.


Colorado Avalanche

Alex Kerfoot

It’s a pleasure to work with Justin. I have learnt how passionate he is about coaching but I also learnt how intelligent he is. He has the ability to translate a comprehensive understanding of biomechanics into the sport of hockey in order to train efficient, applicable movements. As opposed to some coaches who I have worked with in the past, Justin has a purpose and a reason behind every movement he teaches. His innovative training philosophy is designed to mimic in-game scenarios, which means the skills you learn at Kaivo are directly transferrable to your on-ice performance. I am really looking forward to continue working with Justin because I think he can help take my game to the next level!

Vancouver Canucks

Adam Gaudette

I’ve had the opportunity to skate with Justin. I took away so much from the training. Justin teaches little things that you can adjust and change your game enormously. His philosophy on small, quick movements allow you to be more efficient and deceptive on defenders. I’m looking forward to continue working with Justin!

Winnipeg Jets

Nic Petan

Justin has helped open my eyes to the detailed part of my game throughout our training. Working on details from cut backs to puck protection to quicker puck handling and body fakes have been super effective for me to translate to in-game situations. I've been impressed at his overall view of the game and of how he studies the game. Justin has perfected his on-ice movements and is able to teach them with detail. I'm very excited to continue working with him!


Justin Rai is the founder of Kaivo Hockey. He grew up in the lower mainland playing for the North Shore Winter Club for the majority of his minor hockey. He began his junior hockey career playing Junior B for the Richmond Sockeyes. He played the next 3 seasons in Junior A for the Prince George Spruce Kings in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Through his playing career in the BCHL he earned a scholarship to an NCAA Division 1 Hockey East school, the University of Maine. The prestigious Maine hockey program consists of alumni such as Paul Kariya, Ben Hutton, Ben Bishop, Gustav Nyqvist, Devin Shore and Scott Darling. Justin also spent one year playing for the University of British Columbia’s hockey team in the CIS (now named USports). He suffered a neck injury in his last year in the BCHL which led him to be injured throughout his college career. The injury ultimately lead to the closure of one door but the opening of Kaivo Hockey.

Biomechanics of Skating

Explosive Skating

The biomechanics behind edge work and skating efficiency is often misunderstood, giving a misleading message to skaters. Kaivo Hockey detects deficiencies in edge placement after each stride or crossover, allowing the player to transition into another stride or perform a skill move with fluidity. Elite NHL players are able to explode into minimal gaps in the defence because they are in control of their movements at all times and do not need to waste time recovering from microscopic deficiencies. Kaivo Hockey shines light on the biomechanical movements of hockey which allow the player to become a more efficient and more explosive skater.

Deceptive Stick Handling

Puck placement

Elite stickhandler’s are able to operate their hands at high speeds while having the puck under full control – this is the concept that is widely understood. What these stickhandler’s also posses is the ability to portray the puck as though it is in a reachable position for the defender to commit to, before controlling it to another location. Puck placement is the key ingredient elite stickhandler’s use to have the defender at their mercy. They use strategic movements of the puck to move the defender to the area they want. This concept creates deception. Kaivo Hockey teaches these situations in a practice environment, giving skaters game-like situations in which they can proper practice their deception and puck placement. Quick, smooth puck placement movements are more beneficial than choppy stick handling.

Hockey IQ

How to use skills in a game

Some of the best players to ever play the game do not necessarily have the most elite overall skill set in terms of speed, shooting and stick handling. Hockey IQ is a general term used to describe these players greatness. For players growing and developing into their potential, understanding which skill to use in a specific game situation is essential to the success of the move. As players grow to play in Juniors and/or NCAA, the difference between players who earn space are the players who are deceptive stickhandler’s but also know which skill to use in what situation. Kaivo Hockey teaches technique but also expresses when the skill is most effective for the player to operate the movement without hesitation in a game situation. Hockey IQ is a misunderstood term, yet arguably the most important skill.


``I have coached Justin since he was around 9 years old and enjoyed every year. Justin was always one of the most skilled and well prepared players that I have coached. What set Justin apart was that he always wanted to learn and he would practice it. I remember telling Justin something and the next practice he would be the first player on the ice trying to perfect a move or a shot.This along with his skill is what set Justin apart from most players.”

Tony Tanti

  • 13 NHL Seasons
  • Vancouver Canuck Alumni
  • BC Hockey Hall of Fame
  • OHL Rookie Goal record (81)
  • Vancouver Canucks Hat-Trick Record (10)

``Justin is always the last player on the ice putting the extra time and effort into the small details of the game. Stickhandling, passing, shooting - Justin approaches the finer points of hockey with meticulous attention to detail. While he's naturally talented, it's his determined approach to the skill aspect of the game that makes him such an effective teacher. Justin knows the value of hard work more than anything, and it shows in his dedication to coaching and working with the future stars of our game.``

Sven Butenschon

  • University of British Columbia Head Coach
  • 9 year NHL career- including Vancouver Canucks
  • 2010 Vancouver Olympic- Team Germany
  • 17 year professional career

``Justin Rai was a key piece of our team for three seasons. His skill set, ability to think the game at an elite level, hard work and determination were what allowed him to excel on our team and in the British Columbia Hockey League. His commitment to getting better everyday is what set him apart and allowed him to become one of the most dynamic players in our league. Justin's off season commitment was also extraordinary as he always returned bigger, stronger and faster after each off season.”

Mike Hawes

  • General Manager of the Prince George Spruce Kings- Junior A BCHL

“As a player, Justin had an elite skill set and was always looking for ways to improve. His love of the game and thirst for finding new ways to get better, made him the talent that he was.”

Ben Guite

  • NCAA DIVISION 1 Hockey East – University of Maine Assistant Coach—Head Scout
  • 5 year NHL career- 13 professional seasons

“I had the pleasure of playing with Justin for a year. First off, he is an unbelievable person. Justin has one of the best skills sets I have been able to see firsthand in my career. During our season together I watched him do certain things with the puck and deceive players constantly. Justin would always work on his skill after practice with all kinds of drills that would set him apart from everyone else. He was an awesome guy to play with and learn from.”

Cam Brown

  • NCAA University of Maine Captain
  • Professional hockey player in the Calgary Flames System

“Justin is by far the most talented player I have ever played with. He has a tremendous skill set that allows him to dominate with the puck. If he can’t beat you with his hands or his feet, he’ll beat you with his mind. His ability to process the game at high speed is extraordinary.

Some would say Justin is a natural talent, but I know first hand how hard he has worked to hone his craft. Hours and hours spent training to take his game to the next level. Beyond that, Justin is a terrific human and a pleasure to work with.”

Mike Ball

  • Richmond Sockeyes Assistant Coach- Junior B
  • Simon Fraser University Hockey Program Alumni

“Along with being an unreal guy off the ice, Justin's passion and love for the game are a few things that jump out as you start getting to know him. Playing with him for one year he was well liked and respected by guys on the team right from the start. Between his great skating ability, his puck handling ability and hockey IQ, he was able to not only impress his teammates but teach them things along the way throughout the season. Personally I learned a lot from him on and off the ice.”

Nolan Vesey

  • Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick
  • NCAA Division 1 Hockey East- University of Maine

``After my first time being on the ice with J.Rai before the start of my freshman year at the University of Maine, I knew Justin was a very gifted and crafty hockey player. Watching some of the moves he would do with the puck was fun to watch and exciting to see first hand. He would always be the first guy I would go to to ask for drills to work on my hands or ask him to stay around after practice to teach me some of his moves. I think everyone should get the opportunity to work with Justin and watch their game grow exponentially.”

Daniel Perez

  • NCAA Division 1 Player


Contact us for development sessions and private training.

“Throughout my hockey career I was fortunate enough to work with many knowledgeable and passionate coaches. Growing up playing minor hockey for Tony Tanti (Vancouver Canucks alumni) at North Shore Winter Club, I was able to understand the intensity required to progress but also the importance of enjoying the game. Enjoying the game and the process of development ignites the fire behind tedious hours of proper practice, leading to players reaching their full potential. Personally, I attained an obsession for the game at a young age. “I had many supporters in my career, so giving back to the game has always been important to me. Kaivo Hockey provides a platform to pass on knowledge to the next generation which can help them achieve their full potential.”

Justin Rai


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