KALAMAZOO, MI - The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) is pleased to announce that JD Kalleward has accepted the position as head coach of the 14U A (06) K-Wings for the 2019-20 season.
Kalleward brings decades of experience in the hockey community to our 06 KWings, and there has been arguably no one more entrenched in youth hockey in Kalamazoo over the last 40 years.
Kalleward holds a USA Hockey Level 5 Coaching Certification, and is a USAH Coaching Education Program Certified Instructor who has been coaching with KOHA in some capacity since 1978. He was a member of KOHA’s Board of Directors for over 16 years, and coached at Portage Northern HS for over 30 years (17 years as an assistant, 15 as head coach). With Kalleward at the helm, PNHS had 15 Hobey Baker HS Character Award recipients and 45 MHSAA Academic All-State individuals. He was behind the bench for 4 MHSAA Final Four appearance, 5 MHSAA Elite Eight appearances, 8 Regional Championships, 10 District titles, and 14 SWMHSHL League Championships.
JD has been instrumental in the growth of lacrosse in our community as well, and is currently the head coach of the PNHS Varsity Boys Lacrosse program.
Giving back to the community is not only a priority personally for JD, but it’s something he instills in every team he coaches. His service includes Boys & Girls Club, Pretty Lake Camp, Boy Scouts of America, Kalamazoo County Food Bank, March of Dimes, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and MRC Industries. “He’s not just a hockey coach, JD teaches his players what it means to be outstanding men, and leads by example,” said KOHA’s Hockey Director, Matt Kakabeeke. “I think our 06 players and families will quickly realize how fortunate they are to have JD on their bench,” Kakabeeke continued.
Kalleward takes over with the departure of Mark Ostrander who has led the 2006 K-Wings for the past four seasons. “I’ve known JD for years as our paths crossed many times while I was behind the bench at Portage Central High School and JD at the helm of Portage Northern. I have the utmost respect for the way he handles himself and his teams. He doesn’t just build hockey players, he teaches them how to be men. I have coached the 06 KWings for four years and am excited to see what JD can do with them - he is a perfect fit,” said Ostrander.
Kalleward acknowledges he has big shoes to fill, but is looking forward to the opportunity. “Mark has done a terrific job leading this group, and I am honored to continue to build upon that foundation. The hockey community is small, and I have heard the 06s are a good, hard-working, very focused group of players with an engaged and positive parent group. I look forward to helping impact their journey and continued development,” said Kalleward.
Joining JD’s staff will be Travis Tuma who coached the ‘04 Gold KWings during the 2018-19 season. “I am excited to work with JD again. I played HS hockey and lacrosse for JD at Portage Northern, and he gave me my start in coaching. He’s one of my mentors and it will be an honor to once again be on his staff. I hear it’s a great group and should be a fun year,” said Tuma.
Tryouts for 2019-20 A/AA KWings teams start May 20th; Registration will be open by April 5th at www.koha.com.