The logo for the Saints Academy hockey program, which will start play in the 2022-2023 season.

Twin City Thunder co-owner Cam Robichaud is bringing Tier I U15 and U16 youth hockey to Auburn, along with a partnership with St. Dominic Academy starting next season.

This past Saturday, Robichaud announced the formation of Saints Academy, which will have full-season U15 and U16 teams that will draw players from all over the country.

Robichaud, who will remain a co-owner of the Thunder with Dan Hodge, is the program’s director and Hodge will be a senior advisor of the Saints Academy.

Robichaud said there’s a silent investor in the Saints Academy ownership group.

“You look at the hockey landscape, and academy (programs) are on the rise for talented players at the U14, U15, U16 and U18 levels,” Robichaud said. “A lot of junior (hockey) programs are pulling from the academy teams. We want to develop players for our (Thunder) junior program and have our own academy in-house.”

The Twin City Thunder have two junior teams under the United States Premier Hockey League umbrella — one in the Tier II National Collegiate Development Conference and one in the Tier III Premier League.


Robichaud will no longer be an assistant coach of the Thunder’s NCDC team and will coach one of the two Saints Academy teams.

St. Dom’s Athletic Director JP Yorkey said the partnership came together when Robichaud spoke to St. Dom’s Director of Enrollment Dawn Theriault during this past hockey season.

“(Dawn) is very in-touch in the hockey community; her daughter (Emma) was a top player for us on some of those state title teams, and Cam has some St. Dom’s connections,” Yorkey said. “He went here as a freshman, and there are alums involved.”

Cam Robichaud shares a laugh with players in 2021 during a PucDevelopment training session at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Robichaud played for the St. Dom’s varsity team in 2003-04, before playing for the Portland Junior Pirates and Edward Little High School.

All players of Saints Academy will enroll at St. Dominic Academy.

“We had the opportunity, being so close to St. Dom’s, to form a partnership with them to offer a brick-and-mortar education,” Robichaud said. “The academy is a brick-and-mortar education; the academy is a school team. You have to go to St. Dominic Academy to be a part of our academy, you have to live in the dorm. It’s a huge part of our culture of having players under the same roof, going to the same institution to be educated.”


Robichaud said the players will live in a 15,000-square-foot building that has been converted into a dormitory in Auburn, with 11,000 square feet of living space and a 4,000-square-foot gym. Robichaud didn’t disclose the location of the building, but did say it’s a seven-minute drive from the arena and school.

Robichaud owns a separate hockey-specific training facility called PucDevelopment in Lewiston.

Saints Academy follows the model of other Tier I programs in New England, like the Rhode Island Saints M’s and the Boston Hockey Academy, which partner with a local school for the players’ education.

Rhode Island Saints M’s partnered with Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. The Boston Hockey Academy partnered with the Matignon School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Both programs have U14, U15, U16 and U18 teams.

These hockey academies have grown over the years in New England. In 2011, Selects Hockey created a partnership with the South Kent School in Kent, Connecticut, to form the Selects Hockey Academy at South Kent. Brian Boucher, the former NHL goalie and Mount Saint Charles graduate, helped the school form its academy teams, which began play in 2019. Boston Hockey Academy began in 2020.

Yorkey said St. Dom’s did its due diligence.


“We looked at many different school and athletic scenarios across New England and the Midwest on what different schools are doing for to provided to kids,” Yorkey said. “The last couple of years, we had another hockey group that was looking to enroll kids here. We did a fair amount of research going into that, and we traveled around New England a little bit and visited different schools; we talked to folks. We definitely knew more going into this partnership than we did with our last group that was sending kids here.”

The Maine Nordiques Academy has had players enrolled at St. Dom’s for the past two years.

“We have students enrolled in our school that participate in many different clubs and many different sports, including some students who play for the Nordiques who are enrolled at St. Dom’s,” Yorkey said.

Robichaud was the Nordiques’ 16U team coach to start the 2020-21 season, but was fired in October 2021 and quickly joined the Thunder as an assistant coach of the NCDC team. Last spring, Robichaud became a co-owner of the Thunder when St. Dom’s grad Ben Gray sold his stake in the team.

Saints Academy teams will play 50-60 games a season.

“Everybody wants more training, wants more games, wants more visibility to colleges,” Robichaud said. “The academy model allows to take the rich history, tradition and academics of a strong school and add the extra hockey component of more games. We are talking about 50-60 games. You are talking about daily practices as well as daily skill sessions and training. It’s a longer season than the high school (season).”


Saints Academy hasn’t joined a league yet, but has spoken to the Beast Series and the North East Scholastic Hockey League. Whichever league Saints Academy joins, Robichaud says the program is looking to play as many top programs in the Northeast as it can.

Tier I youth hockey grew in Maine when the Maine Nordiques Academy 16U and 18U teams and the Maine Moose 18U team applied for Tier I status in spring of 2020 with USA Hockey and the Maine Amateur Hockey Association.

Robichaud said an 18U team will most likely be added in a few years but wanted to start a foundation with the U15 and U16 teams first.


The announcement of the U15 and U16 teams has no bearing on the St. Dom’s varsity boys hockey team that plays in the Maine Principals’ Association.

The Saints went 1-18 this season and only had 18 players on the roster.


The Saints had six games decided by one goal. The only win came against Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle, 3-2, Feb. 13.

Still, Yorkey said the future looks bright.

“Our numbers are good; we only had one senior (Colin Casserly) and everybody (else) is back,” Yorkey said. “We have a good core of eighth-graders that are coming in as freshmen. We will have more next year than this. We will be an experienced bunch.

“We are really glad to be able to provide a top-quality experience for our local kids. We definitely took our lumps this year in terms of wins and losses, but we were a very young team — but highly competitive. Us, EL and Lewiston, we all play the toughest hockey schedule there is.”

The varsity team will be for the students that live in Maine and not the students coming in for the Academy teams.

Schools in New England have kept varsity teams in addition to the academy teams.


“Some of the hockey academies to compare us to, Mount Saint Charles — it’s similar — they have the hockey academy but still have their interscholastic team (that plays in the Rhode Island Interscholastic League) for the local kids,” Yorkey said.

Mount Saint Charles has 32 state championships at the high school level, the most in the nation. St. Dom’s has 27, which is third.

Robichaud said the academy coaching staff is willing to help the varsity team in any way they can.

“There have been some light conversations about (working with the varsity team),” Robichaud said. “We would be more than willing as a staff to work some ways with the (varsity team). We aren’t looking to step on anybody’s toes.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.