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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.
Alex Hufford - a senior goalie for the Portage Central Hockey team - played his youth hockey with KOHA, and has been a student coach with our program for the past three seasons (his younger brother still plays with KOHA). A week ago, Hufford and his friend Max Newsome, began a 1000 mile bike riding journey, spanning two weeks, throughout the state to raise money to build a fresh water well in Cambodia. The plan is to touch 4 of the 5 Great Lakes in an effort to raise $6,000 for the well which is being built by the organization Activewater.
"We want to raise awareness about the shortage of clean water. It's easy to take our water for granted in Michigan because we are blessed with an abundance of it," said Hufford. "That isn't true everywhere. In many places, people walk miles just to get to clean, drinkable water. That is why we have decided to raise $6,000 for a well to be constructed in a village in Cambodia."
Their team, ‘4 Great Lakes, One Great Cause,’ is gaining notoriety on social media and their web page. You can follow their adventure and even donate by clicking the links below:
Alex’s donation page:
The trip site - https://give.lifewater.org/
The best daily source of information is their Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/
As of Monday, August 10, 2015, the team had raised $3647 of their $6000 goal.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jeff Mitchell, President / Tom Berry, Director of Hockey
West Michigan Elite Hockey Club
(248) 719-1117 (269) 207-2544
WEST MICHIGAN ELITE HOCKEY CLUB AND MEIJER, INC. ENTER SPONSORSHIP AGREEMENTGRAND RAPIDS, MI, May 21, 2015 – The West Michigan Elite Hockey Club is excited to announce our partnership with Meijer, Inc. Beginning with the 2015-16 hockey season, the WMEHC teams will skate as Meijer AAA Hockey in their first fall hockey season as a new organization.
“We are pleased to have Meijer, a local family-owned company, be a part of our inaugural season of Tier I hockey in West Michigan,” said Jeff Mitchell President of the WMEHC… “To have the support of one of the most prominent businesses in our state, we have even more confidence in our new hockey club as we progress towards our inaugural season.”
“We are excited to represent the Meijer name and their values in the community we jointly serve. Our Meijer AAA Hockey boys teams will have Squirts (10 year olds) through Midget (18 year olds) and will be adding Girls AAA in the 2016-17 season” said Tom Berry Director of Hockey.
The West Michigan Elite Hockey Club was approved by the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association to compete as one of eight Tier I hockey associations in the state beginning in the 2015-16 fall hockey season.
The generous support and partnership from Meijer will allow the new WMEHC program to support both their own players and the hockey community as a whole by offering opportunities for players to experience the game at the highest youth level.
West Michigan Elite Hockey Cub is a non-profit, 501(c)(3), youth hockey club specializing in Tier I youth hockey with 11 hockey member associations across West and Mid-Michigan; GBCHA (Greater Battle Creek Ice Hockey Association), GRAHA (Grand Rapids Amateur Hockey Association), Grand Rapids Blades Hockey Association, Grand Valley Amateur Hockey Association, Hockey Association of West Kent, JAHA (Jackson Amateur Hockey Association) Kentwood Hockey Association, KOHA (Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association), Lansing Hockey Club, Muskegon Chiefs Amateur Hockey Association, Rockford Hockey Association
After six years of service on the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association’s Board of Directors, including two years as Vice President and almost two years serving as President, Rob Atkins has stepped down from KOHA’s Board of Directors. Resigning as President, Atkins cited his new role as Principle Partner at Kingscott Associates as the main reason he feels he was unable to devote as much time as needed at the helm of KOHA’s Board of Directors. Current Board VP, Brian Bellware, has been named as interim President.
Bellware has been involved with the program as a coach for travel and house teams for the past 15 years, as a member of the KOHA Board of Directors for three years, and is currently the Head Coach of the Portage Central High School hockey team.
“I’m confident that my departure will not cause any bumps in the road for KOHA. We have a strong Board of Directors and a great staff,” said Atkins.
“As a board and staff, we are truly thankful for Rob’s commitment to KOHA and the leadership he has given to our association while serving on KOHA’s Board of Directors. We wish him well and appreciate all he has done for our program,” said Bellware.
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