KOHA House B Broncos  2017 Evaluation Skates & Skills Skate Dates
We highly recommend that your player try to attend both evaluation skates in order to help us fairly evaluate him or her prior to the draft.
Wednesday, August 30th - First Evaluation Skates 
*10U B  5:30 to 6:30pm  Wings West - N Avenue off of 9th Street 
*12U B  6:45 to 7:45pm  Wings West - N Avenue off of 9th Street 
*14U B  8:00 to 9:00pm  Wings West - N Avenue off of 9th Street 
*Parent meetings for each age group at the beginning of each evaluation skate
Wednesday, September 6th - Second and Final Evaluation Skate 
10U B  5:30 to 6:30pm  Wings West - N Avenue off of 9th Street 
12U B  6:45 to 7:45pm  Wings West - N Avenue off of 9th Street 
14U B  8:00 to 9:00pm  Wings West - N Avenue off of 9th Street
Monday, September 11th – First skate with KOHA Skills Team & Off Ice Training with Athletic Mentors

On Ice                                      Off Ice Training
10U B  5:40 to 6:20pm                 6:30 to 7:10pm Wings West
 12U B  6:30 to 7:10pm                7:20 to 8:00pm Wings West
 14U B  8:10 to 8:50pm                9:10 to 9:50pm Wings West
*Coaches will be drafting the teams during the Skills Skates
Wednesday, September 13th  
Regular Season team practices begin




KALAMAZOO, MI – The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) is serious about player development, and, you need to look no further than the Skills Team being assembled heading into the 2017-18 season by Interim Hockey Director, Matt Kakabeeke. Joining an already impressive lineup, KOHA is excited to announce that current KWing, and Tampa Bay Lightning fourth round draft pick (’10), Jimmy Mullin will be part of the Skills Team.

“I love helping the younger kids develop. Growing up in the Cincinnati area, I would be helped by the Cincinnati Cyclones, and it meant a lot to me. I want to teach kids, help them get better, and have fun along the way,” said Mullin. “My favorite part of the summer is going back to Shattuck St. Mary’s - where I played high school hockey - and where I train and coach hockey camps; I love working with young players.”

Mullin spent three years at Miami (Ohio) University (’11-’14) playing in the CCHA and NCHC then transferred to Minnesota State for his final year of eligibility.  He joined the KWings in August 2016, but spent the 16-17 season sidelined with a knee injury.

Mullin began skating and playing hockey at a young age, but credits much of his success on the ice to playing multiple sports, “Baseball, basketball, hockey, tennis, lacrosse, soccer, and golf. I don’t believe in kids just playing one sport growing up.” When asked how important getting away from the rink is summers was, Mullin said, “It was very important to me. My escape was playing other sports and being outside. Being a multi-sport athlete has lifelong benefits: coordination, flexibility, endurance, teamwork, time management, etc.”

“We are so excited to have Jimmy joining our players and coaches on the ice this coming season. He brings youthful energy, excitement, skill and the ability to connect with both coaches and players in an impactful way on the ice,” said Kakabeeke.




KALAMAZOO, MI - The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) is once again holding its Annual Coaches College with USA Hockey on August 28th & 29th at Wings West Ice Arena. KOHA's Travel and House B coaches (head coaches and assistants) MUST attend one of the nights, and KOHA House C (including 6U/8U) coaches and helpers are highly encouraged to attend.

The agenda/content will be forthcoming, but will align with the 2017/18 initiatives including long term athlete development, skating, body contact/checking and goaltending which will give this year's Coaches College a fresh look with new content.



    Level 4 - September 15 & 16
    Level 1, 2 & 3 - September 16

      Presenters will include college, professional and international coaches




      KALAMAZOO, MI - The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) has made another exciting addition to its Skills Team for the 2017/18 season by tapping K-Wings veteran center, Justin Taylor.
      Taylor was a sixth-round draft pick by the Washington Capitals in the 2007 draft, and has played primarily in Kalamazoo since the 2010 season amassing an impressive offensive career that has landed him at the top of the team's scoring list as the K-Wings All-time ECHL points and goal leader.
      "I am excited to work with KOHA's players this coming season; I look forward to a new challenge. I have experienced a lot in my hockey career, learning lessons from playing at the highest levels in hockey, that I think have value for the next generation of players," said Taylor. "I was never the best player, but I was always the hardest working. My message for the young player: every decision you make gets you closer or further away from your dream. Every step includes a ton of smaller battles to overcome and bumps along the road; the key is to continue to work hard, invest in yourself and MAKE your dream come true."
      KOHA's Interim Hockey Director, Matt Kakabeeke, has been busy making additions to KOHA's Skills Team for the 2017/18 season, "Skill development will continue to be our focus, and Justin brings some terrific experience that will benefit our players' growth and coaches effectiveness on the ice. It's a win-win for us for sure because Justin is not only a great player, but his passion for the game is infectious."
      Taylor - a new dad - agrees that it's important to get some time away from the rink, even at his level. The down time allows for new hobbies (his current favorite summer activity is Petosky stone hunting on Lake Michigan) and a chance to reignite the passion for the game. Taylor credits his wife, Kelsey, for her continued support and keeping him level-headed thus far in his career "never getting too high or too low. It's important to have a strong support cast around you."
      Taylor, his wife, their son and two dogs currently reside in Kalamazoo, which Taylor finds "neat, because I was born on Manitoulin Island, in Canada. It's a fun fact the kids can look up since it's not far from Michigan (only a lake divides us!)."
      When asked what he'd be doing if he wasn't playing hockey, Taylor said, "I am asked that often, and I think I change my answer every time. I swear I'm a little kid when it comes to what I want to be when I grow up. I've always done things with my hands, I'd love to pick up a trade. Although, I am enjoying being a dad, so maybe stay-at-home dad will be just fine and I can 'Tim the Tool Man' my house and make it a home. This - of course - pending my wife's approval to let me use power tools unsupervised!"

      Previous Skills Team updates:
      ECHL Defenseman Added to 17/18 Skills Team
      WMU Hockey Alum to Join 17/18 Skills Team



      Greetings KOHA families and friends!

      Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Hockey Director Certification Program at the North American Rink Conference & Expo (NARCE) in Columbus, Ohio.  The Hockey Director Certification Program is offered by USA Hockey and is instructed by ADM Regional Managers and other USA Hockey staff over 3 ½ days involving classroom, off-ice and on-ice training and education.  

      The Certification Program had over 70 hockey directors or administrators from across the USA and included international participants from several European countries.  In 2016, the United States had 309,748 youth players, second in the world behind Canada (455,000).  For perspective, the 70 plus participants impacted approximately 30,000 youth players in the USA, with KOHA representing about 700 of those players.  With that said, our class would impact m
      ore youth hockey players than the coaches of the Czech Republic (26,551) and slightly less than the coaches in Finland (36,607).  

      As you can understand, the significance of the course offers a direct correlation to growing the game, developing players, helping youngsters become leaders
      – even Olympians, and connecting the game at every level while promoting a lifelong love of the sport.

      I have attended countless hockey and coaching education clinics, seminars, symposiums, and summits.  The Hockey Director Certification Program ranks as one of my all-time favorites!

      I would like to share a few of the takeaways and how that will drive what our association will focus on this upcoming season:

      • KOHA will continue be a development partner with USA Hockey for the American Development Model.
        • Prioritizing Long term Athletic Development Principles and Age Appropriate Activities.
      • KOHA will focus on player and coaching development ensuring an athlete centered approach.
      • KOHA will concentrate on creating a great club culture.
        • The KOHA skills instructors will be at the heart of this idea.
      As the KOHA Hockey Director my initiatives for the 2017/18 season will be:
      • Skill Development!  Skill Development!  Skill Development!
      • Developing hockey sense utilizing Small Area Games.
      • Introducing/educating players and coaches on body contact/checking.
      • Goaltending recruitment, development and training.
      • Off-ice training in conjunction with Athletic Mentors.
      I am excited about the prospects of the 2017/18 season and have been energized by my experience.  I have included a few hand-outs from last week for both parents and coaches.  

      Finally, I trust you have been excited about the evolution of the KOHA skills instructor team.  The addition of Ben and Kyle will bring a new dynamic to our focus on player and coach development.  Continue to monitor you email inbox for more exciting announcements!

      See you around the rink!

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