The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) is pleased to announce its travel coaching lineup for the 2021-22 season.
10U A (2012) - Rex Trott & Nick Kakabeeke
10U AA (2011) - Vic Zurek
12U A (2010) - Ryan Penny
12U AA (2009) - Jeff Timpe
14U A (2008) - Bill Marks
14U AA (2007) - Nick Bobo/Wade Dawson/Matt Kakabeeke
10U A (2012) K-WINGS
Rex Trott & Nick Kakabeeke
“This is such an important age group to find coaches that embrace our club’s development philosophy while also fostering a healthy and smooth transition from 8U to 10U, manage parent expectations, and provide a FUN environment for the kids,” said KOHA’s Hockey Director, Matt Kakabeeke. “Rex and Nick work well together and bring a tremendous amount of experience to the table. I believe they will provide an exceptional experience for our first year travel players,” Kakabeeke added.
10U AA (2011) K-WINGS
Zurek is a Level 4 Certified USA Hockey Coach, who led the 2011 K-Wings throughout the 20/21 season and has been on the bench of the 2008 K-Wings (back-to-back-to-back District Champions and 2021 MAHA State semi-finalists) as an assistant to Ryan Penny for the past four seasons. “I am a firm believer in KOHA’s development philosophy, I have seen the progression with my own kids and support the program 100%. I feel fortunate to have this opportunity and look forward to a great season," said Zurek.
12U A (2010) K-WINGS
Penny, who has successfully coached our 2008 K-Wings for the past four seasons, will be taking the helm of the 2010 K-Wings for the 2021-22 season. With the 08 K-Wings, Penny’s teams were some of the most successful in KOHA’s history - including three consecutive District Championships and the MAHA State semifinals in April 2021.
12U AA (2009) K-WINGS
Timpe returns to the helm of the 2009 K-Wings after another successful season in 2020-21. This group has flourished under Timpe’s direction finding success in league play and tournaments through individual skill development and a fantastic team culture. As back-to-back District champions, the 09s swept the pool play round at the MAHA State Tournament earning a spot in the semifinals. We are excited to see what the 2021-22 season has in store for this birth year!
14U A (2008) K-Wings
Bill, a KOHA and Portage Central HS alum, has been a coaching asset to KOHA for the past six seasons with his assistant coach, Garrett Hudson. The duo were behind the bench of the 08 Silver K-Wings in 2020-21 and are excited to continue working with this birth year. “It’s a fun age because you really get to see their personalities start to come through,” said Marks.
14U AA (2007) K-WINGS
Nick Bobo/Wade Dawson/Matt Kakabeeke
The 2007 K-Wings will be hosting the 2022 14U Tier II USA Hockey National Championship Tournament. Helping guide the team will be a coaching staff with tremendous experience. Matt Kakabeeke has been at the helm of the 07 K-Wings for the past five seasons, is KOHA’s current Hockey Director and will be taking over as Executive Director in August 2021. Leading this group of players into the National Tournament with Matt are two coaches committed to helping prepare them on and off the ice for this opportunity.
Wade Dawson played 135 games in the WHL (major juniors in western Canada), 470 professional games in the IHL (including Kalamazoo) and won the Turner Cup with the Flint Generals in 1984. Dawson also coached for the Kalamazoo Wings, and has helped on the ice over the years with KOHA’s Beginning Hockey and 8U programs as well as with the 07 K-Wings.
Nick Bobo, a former goaltender who grew up in the Kalamazoo area, began working with the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program back in 2010, and has coached at both the high school level and with players participating in select festivals representing Michigan. Nick brings a passion for coaching and player development.
We anticipate having second teams at the 2007, 2009 & 2010 birth years:
Carl Fried will be the head coach of the 2007 second team.
Matt Moorman will be the head coach of the 2009 second team.
We have a terrific lineup of coaches interested in the 2010 second team head coaching position, but their players are trying out for the top team at that birth year. As a result, the second team head coach will be announced after the top 2010 team’s roster is selected.
If the 2008 tryout registration numbers warrant a second team, we will have a second team at that birth year as well, but a few players have made AAA rosters (congratulations!) and the second team already had a small roster last season.
CHANGING FROM GOLD & SILVER:
While we have traditionally named our two travel teams within the same birth year “Gold” and “Silver” - we are making a change for the 2021-22 season (having our Bronco teams also using “Gold” has resulted in some confusion with respect to ice scheduling). Our travel teams will now use “Red” and “Blue” to differentiate between the two teams at the same birth year starting with the 2021-22 season.
Visit our tryouts page linked below. As always, if tryout registrations at a birth year warrant having two teams, that second team's coach and the roster will be posted after the 3-day tryout. There will not be an additional tryout night for second teams.