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Sawyer Baliff Memorial Scholarship

To be eligible for the Sawyer Baliff Memorial Scholarship, a child must be a KOHA member and needs to be nominated by the player’s current year KOHA coach (or an assistant coach), KOHA skills coach, KOHA Board member or KOHA staff member. 

The Sawyer Baliff Memorial Scholarship will provide merit based scholarship(s) that the honoree can apply to their KOHA fees the following season.  These funds are non-transferrable and have no cash value.

The recipient of Sawyer’s scholarship will be the type of child that represents the type of player, teammate and person Sawyer was and how he is remembered.  

Eligible recipients will have demonstrated a strong work ethic, a positive attitude and leadership on the ice and in the locker room. He or she will have exhibited sportsmanship throughout the season, strength for teammates when needed, good character, and a smile.

There are many different scholarships out there for children who are naturally gifted - whether it is in sports or academics. The intent of this scholarship is to recognize those kids who have shown that they have the HEART to work, and compassion for those around them, just like Sawyer!

In addition to having the above, the potential honoree must meet the following criteria:  

  • Be a current KOHA member

  • Love of the game

  • Exhibit leadership skills

  • Supportive as a teammate

  • Be a GOOD person who treats others with respect and empathy.

Nominations can be submitted for any player(s) on your team that you feel exemplify the character traits that meet or exceed the criteria above, and include any other information you feel would be pertinent in the scholarship committee’s determination process.


KOHA understands that hockey can sometimes be more of a financial commitment than some families can afford. Each year, our Sportship Committee accepts applications from those families interested in seeking financial assistance with their child's (typically, although not necessarily limited to, House C) hockey season. Simply submitting a Sportship application does NOT guarantee it will be granted - only that the application may be considered.

Please note that applications will be denied that do not have the proper documentation submitted with application by the deadline.


Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association

The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA), established in 1965, is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to provide every boy and girl in southwest Michigan the opportunity to enjoy at excel at the game of hockey.

KOHA's vision is to be a regional destination and national leader for youth hockey. From Learn To Skate through high school-aged players, KOHA has programs for everyone! KOHA is proud to be one of USA Hockey's original Model Associations, and continues to forge new partnerships to provide our players with the best development opportunities.

The KOHA Office is located at Wings West Ice Arena

5076 Sports Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009