The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) offers a unique hockey experience depending on things like playing experience, financial commitment, family time commitment, skill level, age and interest/goals.
We have a Learn To Skate & Beginning Hockey program for the true beginners (see bottom of page for information on getting started). Once those programs are completed and basic skating proficiency exists, your child's age typically determines "What's Next?"
6U & 8U Hockey
KOHA has a vibrant 6U & 8U program based on the birth year of your player. Since KOHA is a USA Hockey Model Association, we believe in developing players in age-appropriate ways, therefore, no 8U player may "play up" into 10U and no 12U player may "play up" into 14U (no exceptions). Our 6U & 8U programs focus on development and FUN! Smaller surfaces, smaller nets, and LOTS of activity during practices improves their skills better than anything. PRACTICE IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS! They're sweaty and smiling when they come off the ice and that means we all win! 6U plays cross-ice games
Once a player reaches 10U, there are essentially 3 different paths: Travel (A/AA), House B and House C.
Our Travel A/AA Teams wear the K-Wings logo
Our House B Teams wear the WMU Broncos logo
Our House C Teams wear sponsor jerseys/logos
Hockey at the 8U level has grown each year across the United States for the last five years primarily due to the efforts of amazing coaches and volunteers who create tremendous experiences for the kids by providing age-appropriate fun and skill development that keeps them coming back for more!
Learn To Skate starting at $100
Our Learn To Skaters typically have very little (if any) previous skating experience. Our program is committed to developing players in an age-appropriate way while focusing on safety and long-term athlete development.
Across all youth sports, increasing concussion awareness & prevention are key initiatives. KOHA coaches are required by law to obtain concussion training and return-to-play protocol. Other hockey-related injuries can include (but are not limited to) shoulder separation, knee ligament injuries, groin strains and high ankle sprains.
KOHA is committed to developing the athlete - not just the hockey player. We believe in encouraging kids to play other sports, and resist the urge to specialize too early. Our physical fitness partner, Athletic Mentors has a facility inside Wings West Ice Arena and offers programs throughout the year to help players work on strength and overall fitness levels.