Dick Stack, founder of DICK'S Sporting Goods, believed that sports play a vital role in teaching our children fundamental values like a strong work ethic, teamwork and good sportsmanship. He also understood that supporting the organizations that make youth sports possible is the best way to promote those values. Today, that legacy continues.

KOHA's mission is to provide every boy and girl in southwest Michigan the opportunity to enjoy and excel at the game of hockey. With the support of corporate partners such as DICK'S Sporting Goods, our vision to become a regional hockey destination and a national leader for youth hockey truly is an attainable goal.

KOHA would like to thank DICK'S Sporting Goods (DSG) for its support as we kickoff the 2015/16 season. Aside from outfitting the KOHA Skills Team with new on and off-ice gear, DSG is a corporate sponsor for our brand new, kickoff Jamboree event for the 8U program!

DSG is also offering some great deals to KOHA members - simply click on the image above and show it to the cashier at checkout to take advantage of their convenient e-coupons.

Pictured L to R: David Killip, Travis Sabin, Chris Brassard, Brian Tulik, Matt Bland, Tom Askey
(Photo Credit: Casey Spring Photography)




One of the beloved traditions in hockey is the recognition that occurs within the locker room at the end of each game. Typically, a player who exemplifies a particular quality is given an award that is symbolic of that characteristic. For example, the Detroit Red Wings' player who 'digs in' in that game is awarded with a special shovel that the team created. That shovel is held by that player until the next game and then passed on to the next recipient. Some teams have very creative recognition such as a shovel, a hard hat or a special suit, and some simply use the game puck.

At KOHA, we have a fantastic team of paid staff members that manage most of the day-to-day operations; however, their work is complemented by many volunteers at every level. We wanted to create a simple and fun way to recognize those volunteers that go above and beyond in their role. Instead of a hard hat or game puck, we wanted to award something that was symbolic of the generous spirit that embodies the heart of a volunteer.

Introducing...the Pelican Award! For centuries, the pelican has served as a symbol of selfless generosity. In fact, Noble families frequently included the pelican in their family crests as an icon of devotion and generosity. This symbolism is rooted in the sacrificial care that pelican parents provide their young.

At each Board meeting, a volunteer will be recognized for above and beyond generosity of their time, talents or treasures. The volunteer will be selected by the previous month's recipient and will have the privilege of caring for the Pelican until the next Board meeting. We expect to get lots of pictures of the Pelican visiting the homes, workplaces and hockey destinations of the award recipient!

As a Board of Directors, we are grateful for each one of the many volunteers that give so generously of their time, talents and treasures. Your dedication and generosity is pivotal to making the youth hockey experience the best it can be for our kids - thank you!

Brian J. Bellware
KOHA Board President



With our third season as a USAH Model Association quickly approaching, KOHA is hosting the 2nd Annual “Coaches College Kickoff” on August 24th from 6-9pm at Wings West.

Our Program Director, Brian Tulik, along with our newly announced ADM Director, David Killip, as well as our Skills Team will be working alongside USA Hockey for an on- and off-ice intensive workshop. COACHES PLEASE BE PREPARED TO GO ON THE ICE!

"We had such tremendous turnout and feedback form the event last year, it was a no-brainer to hold another Coaches College to open the 2015/16 season," says Tulik. "We are fortunate to have access to the caliber of individuals coming on the ice with our coaches, and we are excited to once again take advantage of their vast knowledge base enabling us to develop players in our quest to become a regional hockey destination."    

USA Hockey’s Regional Manager of the ADM for Michigan, Bob Mancini, will be conducting the on and off-ice portions of the Coaches College Kickoff, “KOHA’s Coaches College is a great way to start off a new hockey season and USA Hockey is excited to be a part of the curriculum once again. Every year the USA Hockey Model Association Program continues to expand and improve with like-minded associations, like KOHA, who are committed to age appropriate training for all players. This year, with the adoption of USA Hockey’s American Development Model format by the United States Olympic Committee for all of our Olympic sports, KOHA proves once again that it is a leader in youth hockey programming across the state.
KOHA’s new ADM Director, David Killip, is also looking forward to getting the 2015/16 season started with the Coaches College Kickoff event, “I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with and learn from the USA Hockey guys, and begin to develop relationships with the KOHA coaches as we all work towards providing the best possible environment for player development.
Brian Tulik, David Killip & the KOHA Skills Team

Bob Mancini – USA Hockey Regional Manager for the American Development Model in Michigan, Illinois and Missouri; Mancini has extensive coaching experience in the collegiate, professional and international ranks. Mancini joined USA Hockey having spent two seasons (2007-09) as a development coach for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, he helped found USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, and served as the head coach for both Michigan Tech and Ferris State.
Scott Paluch – USA Hockey Regional Manager since 2009. The Bowling Green graduate spent seven seasons as a head coach for his alma mater, and prior to his time at Bowling Green, Paluch served as an assistant coach at Boston College. During his time there, the Eagles made four consecutive NCAA Men’s Frozen Four appearances, and captured the NCAA Division I National Championship in 2001. Aside from his collegiate experience, Paluch also boasts a long history with USA Hockey as both a coach and a player. 
Matt Kakabeeke - USA Hockey Associate Coach-in-Chief for Michigan, ADM Affiliate Coordinator for Michigan. Matt has over twenty years of experience coaching hockey at all levels in Kalamazoo - from the learn-to-skate program to travel hockey for KOHA, as well as head coaching stops with the Kalamazoo United High School team and the Western Michigan University Stallions.  He possesses a Level 5 (Masters) Coaching Certification and has attended the Master Symposium in Grand Rapids, Michigan, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Washington D.C.



KOHA is pleased to announce its new ADM Director & Skills Team lineup for 2015/16

Joining the KOHA Skills Team taking over the reigns as the ADM Skills Director, is Western Michigan University alum and Kelowna, British Columbia native, David Killip. Killip played three seasons for the Bronco Hockey program, and was named Student-Assistant Coach his senior year after being sidelined due to injuries sustained during his junior season. “We are excited to have someone with David’s passion and knowledge of the game on the ice with our coaches and young players. David will help us continue to focus on player development and will be a terrific asset to our association,” said Brian Tulik, KOHA’s Program Director.
“Having my playing career end so suddenly was definitely disappointing, but I am so thankful to Coach (Andy) Murray and the administration for giving me the opportunity to stay involved for my senior season by naming me Student-Assistant Coach. I have always had a passion for coaching, and I am really looking forward to working with the youth in Kalamazoo to help develop their game and be the best they can be,” said Killip. “The focus on player development, and coaching the right things, in the right way, at the optimal time for each player, is exciting. I am really looking forward to the season with KOHA.”

Another “rookie” to the KOHA Skills Team this season, is KOHA coaching veteran, Matt Bland, a Level 4 USA Certified coach. Bland has been a coach in our K-Wings travel program for several years, and is making the switch to our Skills Team for this season. “Matt has done a terrific job as a coach in our program, and we are excited to be able to utilize his strengths to help all of our players develop,” said Tulik. Bland played Jr B hockey with the Motor City Chiefs in the late 90s, and has been a player favorite during his coaching tenure with KOHA.

Returning Skills Team coaches for the 2015/16 season include:
Chris Brassard played professionally across the US and in Germany. While having worked as a hockey skills director/instructor for many years, Chris most recently has been involved in Graeme Townshends' National Hockey Development school delivering programs designed by NHL skating and skills coaches. Aside from working with KOHA as our Skating Skills Director for the past two seasons, Chris is also entering his third season with the WMU Stallions (Club) as their head coach.
Travis Sabin is a Level 4 USA Hockey certified coach who coached for several years in KOHA's Travel program, as well as behind on the bench for the Kalamazoo Blades Varsity high school hockey team. Travis has been actively involved with KOHA's development programs for the last several years, including our 8U program, various camps and our Pre-Travel Tryout clinics. We are excited about having Travis back for a third season as a member of our Skills Team.
Tom Askey has been involved in KOHA, as our travel teams' goalie coach, for the last several years. Tom played four seasons with The Ohio State University, and several years of professional hockey (NHL, AHL, IHL & in Europe) after being drafted by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. Tom is the goalie coach for the WMU Bronco Hockey team, and we are excited to have him as KOHA’s goalie coach for our entire program.

A huge thank you to KOHA's departing ADM Director, Eric Babcock who helped our program successfully navigate the on-ice implementation of the ADM, and was an instrumental part in our successes - on and off the ice - as a USA Hockey Model Association. Babcock will once again be co-coaching the '05s (Squirt AA K-Wings), and will help on-ice with skills nights and other clinics periodically throughout the season as needed.

(photo on home page by GS Photo, courtesy of



KOHA would like to welcome Lynda Colvin to the KOHA staff. Lynda has accepted the part-time position of KOHA Bookkeeper and will work closely with the KOHA Board Treasurer as well as the Operations Director to maintain the records of financial transactions for all KOHA programs.

Lynda currently has two boys playing for KOHA, and comes to us with an impressive employment history, most recently having spent nearly 10 years with Denso Manufacturing as a General Accounting Section Leader.

“We were fortunate to have had several highly qualified and motivated individuals apply and interview for this position,” said Brian Tulik, KOHA’s Program Director, “We are very excited to have Lynda on board and look forward to a successful season.”


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