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By KOHA Staff, 03/29/19, 5:00PM EDT


KALAMAZOO, MI - The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) is pleased to announce the hiring of former Minnesota North Stars second round draft pick (#33 overall), Dean Kolstad, to take the reigns of our National-bound 2005 14U AA Kwings team for the 2019-20 season.

Kolstad spent 10 years playing professional hockey, including time with the North Stars and the San Jose Sharks before becoming a PGA golf professional. He is the Director of Golf for the Gull Lake View Golf Resort and has made Kalamazoo home for 30 years. Kolstad has been involved in coaching hockey, both professionally and at the youth level, as well as years of giving golf lessons, teaching at clinics and holding seminars. He works in both capacities - hockey and golf - for Athletic Mentors and brings not only a wealth of knowledge but a passion for teaching - on and off the ice.

“I look forward to giving back to the KOHA program this coming season. It will be a challenge for both the coaching staff and players, with a National Tournament bid on the line, to represent the program not only on the ice, but off as well,” said Kolstad.

Back in December, USA Hockey announced that KOHA was awarded the 2020 14U Tier II National Championship, landing an automatic bid into the tournament (as the host association) for our 2005 KWings team.

“Our club culture is rooted in assessing how we can continually evolve and improve at every level. We ask a lot of our players and families, but it must start with our coaches, myself included,” said KOHA’s Hockey Director, Matt Kakabeeke. "While we have some very good, young coaches that are getting better each year, we really thought this was a pivotal season and required someone at the helm with high-level experience to really give our younger guys the kind of coaching mentoring that will make our club better long-term, and to set our 2005 team up for the greatest success in their march to the National Championship Tournament," said Kakabeeke. "Garrett Hudson and Bill Marks did a terrific job with our 05s during the 18/19 season. Having Dean on board as a coach and mentor, with assistance from Garrett and Bill who understand our development philosophy, is going to set these players up to make tremendous strides in their journey to the National Championship," Kakabeeke continued.

Kolstad went on to say, “Garrett and Bill are good, young coaches committed to KOHA and the players. I am looking forward to working with them to continue to build upon the foundation they have helped create. KOHA recognizes the importance of investing in and mentoring quality individuals like Garrett and Bill that can continue to move the program forward.”

Tryouts for the 2019-20 A/AA KWings teams will begin May 20th, registration will open by April 5th at