JUNE 21, 28 & JULY 5, 12, 19, 26 - @ LAWSON ICE ARENA

5:30-5:50PM VIDEO
6:00-7:00PM ON-ICE

7:00-8:00PM ON-ICE
8:10-8:30PM VIDEO

6 hours of On-Ice Specialized Goaltender Training from Tom and his staff that includes:
Edgework and Skating
Save Technique and Positioning
Angles and Net Awareness
Puckhandling Skills
Break-Away Training
Post-Save Tracking
Rebound Control
Lateral Movement
Fighting Through Screens


Top end and up-to-date goaltending training from former NHL goaltender and current Division 1 College Assistant Coach, Tom Askey.

In addition to the ice sessions, there will be a video session each day that will be in line with and support the work that will be done on ice. Video will be a combination of practice and game footage of higher level goalies. We will also show some clips of the participants that will be taken during the 3 weeks of sessions. At the end of the three weeks, each camper will also be given an evaluation of some of his or her strengths and weaknesses with feedback on the areas that need to be improved upon.

Early bird price $395 if registered by JUNE 5; $450 after

om brings a wealth of hockey knowledge and experience to KOHA. In 2008, the Buffalo, NY native retired from a professional playing career that lasted 12 seasons. Since 2000, he has made Kalamazoo his home and has been working closely with the hockey community in various capacities.
Since 2009, He has been the Organizational Goalie Coach for KOHA. Tom has also helped run successful development camps year round and has worked closely with several teams in the area at every level of hockey from the learn to skate through professional hockey. Askey also specializes in private goalie training sessions for all ages and skill levels.
In addition to his duties with KOHA, Askey is a Volunteer Assistant Coach with the Western Michigan University Hockey team. He has worked with the goaltenders of the program since Head Coach Andy Murray took over in 2011. Bronco net-minders have been an integral part of the team's success throughout his tenure and has seen many highlights, including an CCHA Playoff Championship in 2012 and the team's birth into the NCAA National Tournament that same year. 
An 8th round Draft selection of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 1993, Tom played four seasons in the Central College Hockey Association as a member of The Ohio State Buckeyes. While at OSU, Tom had the experience of working under the tutelage of a former NHL goaltender, Bill McKenzie. As a senior, Askey enjoyed his most successful season and was named to the All-CCHA Second Team and was an All-American nominee.
After his time in Columbus, Askey signed his first professional contract with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.
While with the Ducks organization, Tom had the privilege of working with one the hockey world’s most successful goaltending consultants, Francois Allaire. Under Allaire’s guidance, Askey would realize his dream of playing in the NHL as he spent time with the Ducks in 1998 and again during the Playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings in 1999. Askey would go on to spend a total of four seasons with season in the ducks system having stints with affiliates in Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston and Kansas City.
In 2000, Tom had the opportunity to sign with the NHL team he grew up watching, the Buffalo Sabres. He spent five years exclusively with their American League affiliate in Rochester, NY. During that time, Tom would once again have the privilege of working alongside a premier goaltending guru, Jim Corsi. In addition to his playing duties, Tom took the coveted role of being a mentor to many of the Sabres’ prospects playing for the Americans. Among those was current NHL star net-minder Ryan Miller whom Tom worked with for three seasons.
Tom spent the latter part of his career playing in Europe with stops in the Finland, Switzerland, Italy, and the United Kingdom. During the 2006-2007 season, Tom stayed states-side and played for the Kalamazoo Wings.
Upon his retirement in 2008, Tom returned to his alma mater and spent the 2008-2009 season finishing his degree at The Ohio State University. While in Columbus, Tom acted as a goaltending consultant for a Buckeye hockey program that reached the NCAA National Tournament.



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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KALAMAZOO, MI: The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) has added Kyle Bushee of the Kalamazoo Wings (ECHL) to the new Skills Team lineup. For Bushee, an Otsego native, this is a true homecoming - he began his hockey career with KOHA's Learn To Play program and progressed to travel (he played for the KOHA Stars which is now the K-Wings) before moving on to play AAA hockey.
Bushee - in the ECHL's Top 30 for all-time games played - signed on with the Kalamazoo Wings in August 2016, and spent the 16-17 ECHL season playing in front of his hometown fans for the first time since the 2004 and 2005 seasons as a member of the Western Michigan University Bronco Hockey team.
Having helped at KOHA's recent travel team tryouts as an evaluator from the stands (injury prevented him from going on the ice), Bushee was asked about differences now versus his KOHA days, "I honestly don't remember my own tryouts, but I LOVE the emphasis put on small area competitions. Seeing who can make plays in tight areas gets increasingly important as the players get bigger, stronger and faster." When asked what he's most looking forward to on the ice with KOHA for the 17/18 season, "I am so excited to be working the kids and seeing them improve. I have been fortunate to play for a lot of good coaches and hopefully, I can pass some of what I learned on to these kids," said Bushee.
"To have a hometown guy and former KOHA youth hockey player on the ice with our kids will be terrific. Kyle is living the dream that so many of these young players have, and the example he sets on and off the ice is a welcomed addition to our team," said KOHA's Interim Hockey Director, Matt Kakabeeke.
Bushee grew up playing baseball, soccer, cross-country and track and didn't specialize in hockey until he was fourteen years old. Summers were filled with "riding my bike, playing with my buddies and just being a kid. It's tremendously important to put the gear away, play other sports and have fun outside. Kids can find ways to improve hockey skills without going to the rink."
When asked if he had any advice for young players in today's game, Bushee said, "just enjoy it and don't get caught up in the things that don't matter because it all goes by really quick."


 FERSCHWEILER HOCKEY SCHOOL - Pat Ferschweiler (Assistant Coach of The Detroit Red Wings) is bringing his camp back to Kalamazoo for only one week this summer! The Complete Camp - is virtually two camps in one - each morning session will focus exclusively on power skating, with each afternoon focusing on individual skills.

Any technical flaw in a skater's stride acts as a limiting factor in how good that skater can become. Each camper will have his/her forward and backward stride assessed to both highlight the positive, and determine the underdeveloped parts of the camper's stride. Along with individual puck skills, each day at least one new hockey concept or team skill will be taught. Features specialized goalie instruction, PLUS there is a goalie discount!


WMU BRONCO HOCKEY CAMPS ARE BACK for Summer 2017! You can check out their camp offerings on their website by clicking here!

(week-long camps PLUS the Elite Camp!)


Make sure you check out the ice schedule (on the Wings Event Center website) for weekday Sticks & Pucks opportunities at Wings West!



KALAMAZOO, MI - The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) has been busy this offseason, and newly named Interim Hockey Director, Matt Kakabeeke, has wasted no time in working on ways to improve the association for the 2017/18 season.
"I grew up playing in KOHA, and coached my first KOHA team twenty-five years ago. I am passionate about moving this program forward on and off the ice, and am committed to providing the best landscape for player development in our region," said Kakabeeke.
Since becoming a USA Hockey Model Association (2013/14 season), KOHA has committed to putting a talented Skills Team on the ice with its players. KOHA is excited to announce its first addition to the 17/18 Skills staff - former Bronco Hockey player, Ben Miller ('13).
Miller has been on the ice helping with travel tryouts this spring and is impressed with what he is seeing. "Being able to see the different age groups, and the progression of improvement through the birth years is proof that this model works. We did not have a model like the ADM; we had dads who sometimes didn't know much about hockey development. I like that coaches are trained in a different way now, and I think the players benefit greatly down the road," said Miller.
"Ben brings hockey knowledge and youthful energy to the ice that will benefit our players and coaches. He knows what it takes to play at a high level, and appreciates the changing landscape in player development. We are excited to have him joining us this season," said Kakabeeke.
The Rochester Hills, MI native who grew up playing baseball and lacrosse too, loves that KOHA emphasizes the importance of kids playing multiple sports and getting away from the rink during the offseason. "Whether I was playing baseball, lacrosse or golf, getting away from the rink was important. It got me excited for the next season. I still worked on skills - like shooting and stick handling in my driveway - but in an unstructured environment," he said.
Miller and his wife, Brittney (WMU Women's Soccer), decided to stay in Kalamazoo after graduation "because of the great people and the way of life" on this side of the state; also, said Miller, "less traffic!"


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