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PENTICTON / STAFF

No athlete is a finished project, and no player is built in a day. At OHA, our coaches bring an unparalleled level of expertise to their coaching duties each day. Their tremendous experience as both players and coaches at the Major Junior, College, and Professional levels allows them to build the student athlete in an incremental manner, focusing on the small details that separate elite players from the rest – both on the ice, and off.

Each athlete brings a unique skillset to the rink, and our coaches work to develop that particular player within the team concept. OHA’s coaches also share an incredible passion not only for player development, but for personal development as well.

SCOTT MAY

GENERAL MANAGER

May was at the Delta Hockey Academy from 2013 to 2019 as the Director of Hockey Operations and previously the Director of Business Operations, as well as the Head Coach of their Female Prep team during the 2018-19 season and their Midget Prep team from 2013-2018. Prior to his time at Delta, May played eight seasons of professional hockey in the AHL, ECHL and Europe. He was selected in the seventh round, 222nd overall, by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the 2002 NHL Draft. The White Rock, B.C. product played four seasons of NCAA hockey at the Ohio State University, where he graduated with a degree in Business Operations Management.

HEATHER PERRIN

ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER

Perrin completed her Bachelor of Science majoring in Kinesiology at the University of Lethbridge and her Advanced Certificate of Athletic Therapy at Mount Royal College. After becoming a Certified Athletic Therapist, Perrin worked in a variety of sports including CIS Rugby, Junior and Provincial Lacrosse, Judo and Hockey. Perrin started working full time hockey in 2009 and has since been a team therapist in a number of leagues and programs including the JWHL, KIJHL, CSSHL, Team Alberta and Hockey Canada. Joining Hockey Canada in 2010, Perrin has worked at every level with the Canadian National Women’s Hockey Team, most recently serving as Team Therapist for the 2018 Olympic Team that won silver in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Perrin joined the Okanagan Hockey Academy in 2014 as the Manager of Athletic Therapy and Medical Services.

MIKE NEEDHAM

HEAD OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

Needham was the assistant coach of the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers from 2014-2018, as well as their skills coach since 2011. Needham played 225 games with the Blazers as a player from 1987 to 1990, before moving onto the professional ranks where he appeared in 100 games in the National Hockey League. Needham played 95 games with the Pittsburgh Penguins, which included capturing the 1992 Stanley Cup, before playing five games with the Dallas Stars.

DAVE ZARN

HEAD OF ATHLETIC THERAPY

Zarn worked previously with OHA from 2003 – 2006 as an athletic therapist before moving on to the Victoria Salmon Kings. Following his time in Victoria, Dave joined the Vancouver Canucks where he has spent the last 13 years of his career. Dave received his Bachelor of Science from the University of Manitoba before earning his certification in Athletic Therapy from the University of Winnipeg in 2001. Dave’s training and professional experience will be invaluable in keeping our student-athletes healthy and ready to compete during the season.

BRETT VESTBY

HEAD OF OPERATIONS & EVENTS

Brett has spent the last 10 years working in sports and recreation, including at BC Hockey as Manager of Leagues, assisting with the Male and Female U15, U16, and U18 programs, and with the 2019 World Junior Championships in Vancouver and Victoria. He grew up on Vancouver Island where he played minor and junior hockey while graduating Vancouver Island University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreation Management. Brett also previously coached at the AA and AAA levels both in BC and Saskatchewan.

PAUL BISNAUTH

HEAD OF STRENGTH & CONDITIONING

Paul Bisnauth graduated from Brock University with a BSc. in Kinesiology, and then earned a post-grad certificate from Niagara College in Exercise Science for Health and Performance. As a coach, Paul has had the opportunity to work with athletes and teams at the high school, collegiate, and professional levels. Paul’s goals are to assist student-athletes in their pursuit of excellence, to foster a positive training environment and to make a meaningful impact by providing tools that will last a lifetime.

ROBERT DIRK

HEAD COACH, U18 PREP

Dirk played nine seasons in the NHL with the Blues, Canucks, Blackhawks, Ducks and Canadiens. He played his junior hockey with the WHL’s Regina Pats and was the 53rd overall selection at the 1984 NHL Draft. Dirk is a former head coach at the ECHL, WCHL and UHL level, and also served as the head coach of Team Pacific at the 2010 World Under-17 Challenge.

CASSEA SCHOLS

HEAD COACH, FEMALE U18 PREP

Schols joined OHA after spending one season as an assistant coach at Grant McEwan University. Schols has served as an assistant coach for Team Alberta on three occasions, winning the gold medal in 2019 at the Canada Winter Games. She was the head coach of the Northern Alberta Xtreme Female U18 Prep team from 2016-2019.

As head coach of the Edmonton Thunder Female Midget AAA team from 2012-2014, she guided the team to back-to-back Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League championships, as well as a silver medal at the 2014 Esso Cup and a bronze medal in 2013.

Prior to coaching, Schols was a standout defenceman in the NCAA with Mercyhurst University, where she posted 94 points (20-74-94) in 144 career games. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice, Concentration Juvenile Justice.

JESSIE LEUNG

HEAD COACH, U17 PREP

Leung spent several season in the BCHL – first as an Assistant Coach with the Trail Smoke Eaters and then with the Prince George Spring Kings as an Associate Coach. Prior to his time in the BCHL, Jessie spent 6 years with the Valley West Hawks in the U18 AAA League (Previously BCMML), first as an Associate Coach and then as a Head Coach. In 2016, he coached the Hawks to a league championship. Additionally, Leung has worked for the BC Hockey Program of Excellence as a both a Video Coach and Assistant Coach for the U16 program. As an Assistant Coach, he was part of the Silver Medal team in 2016 at the Western Canada Challenge Cup and in 2015 he served as the video coach for Team BC at the Canada Games.

TSUKASA ARINAMI

HEAD COACH, U17 FEMALE PREP

Born in Japan, Tsukasa has enjoyed playing youth and junior hockey in Canada and Finland. While playing junior hockey in Finland, Arinami enrolled in the top European Hockey Coaching Program at the Haaga Helia University of Applied Sciences located within the Finnish Olympic Training Centre (Vierumaki).

Upon graduating with Bachelors Degree in Sports Management and top European Hockey Qualification from Vierumaki in 2011, Arinami went on to coach from youth to top female and collegiate programs in Japan and throughout Asia. His additional career highlights include working with female Olympic players from multiple countries, being part of the staff member for the University Men’s Japanese National Team Program and other National projects. He continued his international experience as a coach at the IIHF Development camp in 2008. Arinami has also worked for 2017 NHL Hockey School China, where he travelled to different Chinese cities and ran skills camps as part of NHL’s plan to promote hockey in China. Tsukasa brings a wealth of international experience to OHA, and will also help open doors to recruiting opportunities in the Asian market.

DENNIS MCKINNON

HEAD COACH, U16 PREP

McKinnon is a former head coach of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters and AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. He has 20 years of experience with BC Hockey’s High Performance Program, including the position of head coach of both the Team BC U16 and U17 teams from 2001-2004.

CRAIG BEDARD

HEAD COACH, U15 PREP

A former student athlete and team captain at the NCAA level with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Bedard is a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders and BCHL’s Penticton Vees. He was the head coach of Team Pacific at the 2006 World Under-17 Challenge and the head coach of Team BC at the 2007 Canada Winter Games.

JEFF UREKAR

HEAD COACH, U15

Urekar is a former Head Scout and Assistant General Manager & Assistant Coach for the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL. Prior to his time with the Smoke Eaters, Jeff spent 5 years with the Vancouver North East Chiefs in the U18 AAA League (Previously BCMML), holding several roles including Head of Scouting, Associate Coach and Head Coach. Additionally, Urekar has worked for BC Hockey as a regional camp evaluator for their U15 & U16 programs. With the BC Hockey program, he has also served as Head Coach for both the 2017 U15 BC Cup and the 2018 U16 BC Cup teams. Jeff will be on the bench for the upcoming WHL Cup as an assistant coach for the 2021 Team BC U16 Team.

SHAWN DINEEN

ASSISTANT COACH/
PLAYER EVALUATION PROJECT MANAGER

Shawn Dineen joins OHA as Assistant Coach and Player Evaluation Project Manager. Dineen’s hockey career includes playing with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees before attending Denver University, and after graduation going on to play 8 years in the CHL, IHL and AHL.

After serving as Head Coach for the Merritt Centennials, Dineen moved onto pro scouting, responsible for evaluating free agency and trades as well as playoff pre scout. A proud moment in his career was being on staff with the Colorado Avalanche when they won the 1996 Stanley Cup Championship. Dineen has also scouted for the Vancouver Canucks, LA Kings and most recently, the Nashville Predators.

During his playing career, Dineen worked summers as an instructor with Okanagan Hockey Camps in Penticton, eventually becoming responsible for on ice content and staffing. He is excited to be back at Okanagan Hockey Academy working with the student athletes both on and off the ice.

MIKAELA REAY

ASSISTANT COACH

Mikaela played for 4 years (2016-2020) at the University of Lethbridge, earning her Bachelor of Health Science in Addictions Counselling degree. Previous to this, Reay competed in the CSSHL through her high school career. Reay’s coaching experience includes working as an Assistant Coach at the U13 & U15 levels as well as working as an Apprentice Coach at the 2022 Alberta Challenge Cup. Reay looks forward to utilizing her skills with all of the female student-athletes in our program.

ERIN MCLEAN

ASSISTANT COACH

McLean is a former professional athlete for Aisulu Almaty competing in the European Women’s Hockey League. With the team doubling as the Kazakhstan National Team, Erin gained additional international experience by competing in IIHF sanctioned events such as Worlds and the Olympic Qualifications. In 2018, McLean worked at Hockey Canada within their Women’s National Team Department organizing selection camps and working with Team Japan.

CONNOR MCLUCKIE

ASSISTANT COACH

Connor, a native of Cranbrook, BC played Jr hockey with the Fernie Ghostriders and the Golden Rockets. Since retiring as a player, McLuckie has been developing his coaching skills. His first experience with coaching was as an Assistant Coach with the local U18 team. From there, Connor would further develop his coaching skills as an On Ice Instructor for 6 summer camp seasons. McLuckie joined the East Kootenay U18 Avalanche Regional Zone Program in 2019, first as an Assistant Coach before moving to the Head Coach role in 2021. In addition to his work at the Zone level, Connor worked with the Sicamous Eagles in the KIJHL, helping them to recruit for the 2022-2023 season. Connor looks forward to building his coaching resume and working with the OHA student-athletes.

DUFFY BAKER

ASSISTANT COACH

Growing up in the small town of Parry Sound (home of Bobby Orr), hockey has been a part of Baker’s life right from day one. As a player, Baker played minor hockey in Ontario, advancing to the Midget level before leaving the game. Away from the rink, as the owner of two construction based companies, Duffy has developed skills key to any good coach – creating a great team environment, motivating and developing people to perform at their best and of course, excellent communication skills. During the 2017-2018 season, Baker was the Assistant Coach of the Penticton U18 team. Covid put a pause to coaching over the last few years, but Duffy is excited to get back behind the bench and give back to the community and be a part of the OHA family. Baker looks forward to sharing his work ethic with the student-athletes at OHA and to learning from the other OHA coaches.

TJ CAIG

ASSISTANT COACH

TJ began his hockey career right here in Penticton, playing Jr. A for 4 seasons with the Penticton Panthers of the BCHL. In the 2000-2001 season Caig was voted the BCHL (Interior) Most Valuable Player. Caig would follow his Jr career with a full scholarship to the University of Minnesota Duluth. After university, Caig enjoyed a 10 year professional career in Europe, playing in the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Scotland. During this time in Europe, TJ would win Dutch Beker Cup Championship with his team HYS The Hague. Caig would further win individual accolades, earning recognition for Most Points 3 different seasons. After his retirement, Caig returned to the game in 2018 – this time as a coach. Caig is excited to be joining the staff at OHA and looks forward to sharing his knowledge and experience with the student-athletes.

LUCAS GORE

HEAD GOALTENDING COACH

Lucas Gore has been training OHA goalies since 2020. In addition to his coaching duties at OHA, Lucas has also been the Goalie Coach for the Spokane Chiefs (WHL) since 2019. Gore is also part owner/partner of the goaltending company The Goalie Group and is responsible for the management of its Interior Division. Before joining the Spokane Gore spent time coaching with the Kamloops Blazers (WHL) and Prince George Spruce Kings (BCHL).

Prior to coaching Gore played one season with Vernon Vipers (BCHL) before playing three full seasons with Chilliwack Bruins (WHL). Lucas moved on to play four years at the University of Regina then finished his playing career with Stockton Thunder (ECHL). Gore is currently working to finish his MBA at TRU/NVIT through the Gaglardi School of Business.

PIERCE DIAMOND

GOALTENDING COACH

Pierce Diamond played 3 season of Jr. A hockey in the AJHL with the Whitecourt Wolverines and the Lloydminster Bobcats before finishing his Jr career with the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the BCHL. Diamond would then move on to play 3 season of Division 3 hockey in the NCAA, finishing his playing career with SUNY Canton University. Diamond’s transition to coaching happened naturally and started with assisting local teams during his Jr. career. Since retiring, Pierce has worked with ATC as a goalie coach and is currently a goalie coach for KMHA and WKMHA. Diamond is happy to join the OHA Goalie Coaching staff and helping to develop the next generation of elite goalies.

MIKE DUCO

OKANAGAN HOCKEY GROUP SKILLS DEVELOPMENT COACH

Duco is also the Skill Development Coach for the Pickering Panthers Jr. A team. Previously, Duco was an assistant coach for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL during the 2017-18 season after serving as a head coach with the ECHL’s Elmira Jackals the previous season. On top of his duties with the Petes, he also was involved with the Peterborough Minor Hockey Association as a skills development coach and player evaluator.

The Toronto, Ont. product enjoyed an extensive nine-year professional playing career that saw him play 18 games in the NHL with the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks, 267 games in the AHL, as well as time spent in the ECHL and Europe. Duco played parts of five seasons in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers, where he was part of the 2008 J. Ross Robertson Cup-winning team as OHL champions.

DESIREE KOGGEL

ATHLETIC THERAPIST

Desiree Koggel graduated with a High Honours Bachelor of Applied Health Sciences in Athletic Therapy from Sheridan College in 2018. Since graduating she has worked in a variety of sports including provincial and semi-professional football, AAA and Jr. A hockey, major series and provincial lacrosse, club and collegiate rugby, field hockey and soccer as well as professional curling. Most recently, Koggel has spent her time in multidisciplinary clinics while working with AAA GTHL and Jr. A hockey teams. In 2019 Koggel was a part of the medical staff for the GTHL Blue, who won the OHL Gold Cup. Koggel is a Certified Athletic Therapist (Canada), Certified Athletic Trainer (U.S.), and a Level 1 Barefoot Training Specialist.

LARISSA GEMER

ATHLETIC THERAPIST

Larissa graduated from the University of British Columbia, School of Kinesiology before moving to Ontario to complete an Honours Bachelors of Applied Heath Sciences in Athletic Therapy from Sheridan College. Gemer began interning with high school hockey and football programs in in Wisconsin in 2008 and has continued working with various sports such as hockey, field hockey, soccer, volleyball, and basketball at levels ranging from youth to university since moving to Canada. She has worked multiple seasons with both UBC’s and Toronto Metropolitan University’s Varsity Hockey teams. Larissa is a Certified Athletic Therapist in Canada and Certified Athletic Trainer in the USA.

BRYCE TWIBLE

SPORT SCIENCE LEAD

Twible graduated from the Human Kinetics program at UBC – Okanagan. During his time at UBC, he spent a year as the Assistant Athletic Therapist of the Kelowna Rockets. After graduation, Twible worked in the field of Sport Science performing force and bio-mechanical analysis. He has experience working with a range of athletes in the NHL, CHL and on the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. He is currently working towards completing his Master’s Degree in Sport Science. Twible joined OHA in September 2020.

COLE SARAFINCHAN

STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACH

Cole Sarafinchan is a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s Human Kinetics program, where he specialized in Clinical Exercise Physiology and Psychology. Cole also enjoyed a long and successful minor hockey career, and looks forward to sharing his extensive knowledge of weight training with the student-athletes at Okanagan Hockey Penticton.

MARK FITZGERALD

HUMAN PERFORMANCE CONSULTANT

Mark Fitzgerald has spent the last 15 years working with athletes from a variety of sports at every level. He began his career with the Toronto Maple Leafs organization and also became the Head of Performance and Nutrition for the Canadian Hockey League. Most recently, Fitzgerald was the Head of Performance for the Anaheim Ducks. Fitzgerald is the founder of Elite Training Systems in Ontario, which has grown to four locations servicing athletes from all major and minor sports. Fitzgerald also serves as a consultant for a number of health and performance organizations including Under Armour, CHL, Ontario Tech University, and Toronto Aeros Rugby.

GARTH ASTLES

RESIDENTIAL LIFE COORDINATOR

Astles brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in working with youth and their families, through his work as a social worker with the BC Ministry of Children and Families. In addition, he has a unique understanding of the billet life – both as a host family through his childhood and as a billeted player during his time with the Seattle Breakers in the WHL. Garth feels this position has brought him full circle, back to the game he is most passionate about.

DAVE NACKONEY

ACADEMIC ADVISOR

David Nackoney has been part of the Okanagan Hockey Academy since 2003. He has a Bachelor of Education degree and a Masters in Counselling from the University of Brandon Manitoba. Nackoney played university basketball and won two Canadian Championships and was named All Canadian.

Dave’s role includes, but is not limited to:

  • Course Programming
  • Ensure course work is up to date and done to the best of ability
  • Personal Counselling
  • Keeping students on track with NCAA requirements
  • Working with Post-Secondary Schools

TREVOR CONNOLLY

TEAM PHYSICIAN

Connolly is an emergency physician at Penticton Regional Hospital. He was the recipient of the Resident Research Award in 2003 and the Alice Grant Memorial Award in Family Medicine in June 2002. Connolly obtained his Doctor of Medicine with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan.