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.
Jonathan Philley is the Head of Strength/Conditioning and a Head On Ice Skills Coach for Kaivo Hockey. He began his junior hockey career playing Junior B for the Mission City Outlaws and eventually the Aldergrove Kodiaks (PJHL). Following Junior B, Jonathan travelled east to play Junior A hockey for the Dryden Ice Dogs where he would finish his junior career. Through his time in Dryden he earned a scholarship to play at the college level in St. Louis, Missouri (NCAA) where he received awards in both academics and athletics while pursuing his degree in Biomedical Physiology and Health Science. Jonathan is currently an ACE certified Health Coach and Personal Trainer, providing high-performance development programs for his clients both on the ice and off the ice.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.