Greenleaf Hospitality Group recently announced its partnership with Athletic Mentors for new training facility at Wings West

KALAMAZOO,MI - The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a five-year partnership agreement with Athletic Mentors, the area's premier athletic training organization for ice sports.

Beginning in September, KOHA's athletes will be able to "get the edge" with world-class off-ice training programs, and thanks to a new partnership between Wings West of Greenleaf Hospitality Group (GHG) and Athletic Mentors, they'll be training in a state-of-the-art facility.
"We are elated to be able to provide our young athletes the type of quality off-ice training - in a first-class space - that is necessary to meet our goal of being a regional destination for hockey players," said KOHA's Interim Executive Director, Frank Noonan. He goes on to say, "We are so thankful to GHG, and Bill Johnston specifically, for recognizing the need for such a space - and making the investment - to effectively train our athletes and provide the best possible environment for player development."
Athletic Mentors will be working with the coaches to identify the overall goals of the teams and then design programs based on strengths and weaknesses.
"Every athlete is unique and requires a customized strength training and skill development program that helps them achieve peak performance both individually and within the team dynamic," said Mark Olson, head coach and co-founder of Athletic Mentors (AM).
The AM Hockey Coaches are no strangers to training on-ice athletes. They work with the Kalamazoo Wings in-season to stay game-ready, and Head Coach, Nick Bootland, attributes his players' consistency and overall conditioning level to Olson and his staff's "ability to innovate and stay ahead of the game with NHL-quality hockey-specific training gives our team an advantage over the competition through the grueling stretch of an ECHL season."
KOHA's Interim Hockey Director, Matt Kakabeeke, believes AM will give KOHA members a competitive edge this season and beyond.
"To see the new space coming together is exciting. From a player development standpoint, KOHA's Travel & House B players and coaches will have access to some truly elite training - on and off the ice this season. Each year we evaluate areas on which we can improve for our members, and I think entering the 17/18 season, we have hit it out of the park," adds Kakabeeke.
Two of KOHA's newest Skills Team members (who both happen to be current Kalamazoo Wings) - Justin Taylor and Kyle Bushee - speak highly of Athletic Mentors:
"Mark came to us full time last season and his presence was noticed right from his opening address to our team. From first years to veterans, players were able to learn and improve on specific aspects of their game. Mark's workouts have helped aid me to be a more consistent player throughout the season," says Taylor.
Bushee, a Kalamazoo-area native and KOHA alum, adds, "Mark and his team at Athletic Mentors have been so beneficial to me the past two summers. I've gotten leaner, stronger and faster. I am excited for the opportunity Mark and his team will provide to KOHA's young athletes. They will see immediate benefits on the ice, attributed to the work they'll be putting in off the ice."
The new training facility is set to open in September for the youth user groups at Wings West. Plans to expand programming to the community are currently slated for after the first of the year 2018.
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