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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.

NATHAN HOLLINGER

HEAD OF ATHLETIC THERAPY

Nathan completed his Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology at the University of Regina, Advanced Certificate of Athletic Therapy at Mount Royal University, and Master of Rehabilitation Science at University of British Columbia. As both a Certified Athletic Therapist and Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Nathan has experience in the hockey world at all levels, ranging from Jr. A to the NHL, and has had the privilege of representing Hockey Canada on multiple occasions. Nathan previously worked at OHA in 2017, prior to joining the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL as their Head Athletic Therapist. More recently Nathan was with the Calgary Wranglers of the AHL as Assistant Athletic Therapist.

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

Robert Dirk played eleven seasons as a professional hockey player, including nine seasons in the NHL with the Blues, Canucks, Blackhawks, Ducks and Canadiens. Prior to his professional career, Dirk played his junior hockey with the WHL’s Regina Pats and won a Bronze Medal at the World U17 Challenge. In his draft year (1984), Robert was drafted 53rd overall at the 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. Dirk joined OHA in 2006.

staff-jesse-hammill

JESSE HAMMILL

HEAD COACH, FEMALE U18 PREP

Hammill’s passion for coaching ignited at 17, and since then, he has left an indelible mark on the sport. His coaching journey has taken him across various leagues, including the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and the English Premier Ice Hockey League. He has adeptly navigated every level of the game, from youth programs to university level.

Before his coaching career, Jesse spent 13 years as a player, honing his skills on the ice with notable European stops. His extensive playing experience has undoubtedly enriched his coaching approach, providing a deep understanding of the game from a player’s perspective.

In recent years, Jesse has dedicated his expertise to nurturing young talent. Notably, he served as the Owner/Operator of Elite Female Hockey Development, where he worked closely with U18 players, offering invaluable guidance, and facilitating college placements. His commitment to player development is further exemplified by his tenure as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Vancouver Island Seals in the BCEHL U18 Female AAA division.

MIKAELA REAY

HEAD COACH, U18 FEMALE PREP BLACK

Since joining OHA in 2022, Mikaela has proven to be an invaluable asset, showcasing her expertise and dedication to our program’s success.

Mikaela played four impactful years (2016-2020) at the University of Lethbridge where she earned her Bachelor of Health Science in Addictions Counselling degree. She is also a 3-time Academic all-Canadian. Her dedication to the sport and commitment to personal growth have been evident since her days competing in the CSSHL during her high school career. 

In her coaching journey, Mikaela has honed her skills by working as an Assistant Coach at the U13 & U15 levels, showcasing her leadership and mentorship abilities. Over the past year, Mikaela has also taken on the lead role with Okanagan Hockey’s Hockey Canada Skills Development program, working with athletes aged 10-12. Her contributions as an Apprentice Coach at the 2022 Alberta Challenge Cup further demonstrate her passion for developing young talent and fostering a winning team spirit. 

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.

DENNIS MCKINNON

HEAD COACH, U17 AAA

Dennis McKinnon coaching credits include roles as the Head Coach of both the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters and AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. McKinnon also spent time in the WHL as the Assistant Coach of the Tri-City Americans. 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. In addition to his coaching resume, McKinnon has been a scout in the WHL for over 25 years. McKinnon joined OHA in 2016.

CRAIG BEDARD

HEAD COACH, U15 PREP

Craig Bedard played his Jr hockey in the BCJHL and would go on to play at the NCAA level with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, where he was also Team Captain. After graduating with a Bachelor of Education Bedard would spend the next 14 years as a teacher, while at the same time building his coaching resume. During this time 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.

Bedard would continue to gain experience as a coach, first as an Assistant Coach with the BCHL Penticton Vees before making the jump to full time coaching as the Assistant Coach for the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. Bedard joined OHA in 2017 as a Head Coach and has spent time with our U18 Prep and U15 Prep teams. More recently, Bedard served as the Assistant Coach to Team BC at the 2023 U16 WHL Cup.

JEFF UREKAR

HEAD COACH, U15 AAA

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 was also on the bench as and Assistant Coach to Team BC at the 2021 U16 WHL Cup. Urekar joined OHA in 2021.

CAM BARKER

ASSISTANT COACH/
SKILLS COACH

Cam Barker played in the WHL for the Medicine Hat Tigers from 2002 to 2006, where he was a 2-time WHL All-star and won the 2004 Memorial Cup. Barker won 2 gold medals in the World Junior Championships in 2004 & 2005. In 2004 Barker was drafted 3rd overall by the Chicago Blackhawks, leading to a successful NHL career encompassing 310 games. Barker’s coaching career starting with the Penticton Vees. As an Assistant Coach, the team would secure consecutive Fred Page Cup Championships in 2022 and 2023. Barker has also served as an Assistant Coach for the 2023 BC Canada Winter Games Men’s Team.

CÉLINE FRAPPIER

ASSISTANT COACH

Céline Frappier boasts a distinguished hockey career, highlighted by NCAA Division 1 play at Mercyhurst University and roles with Team Canada’s U18 and
U Sports FISU teams.

Academically, she holds a Master of Social Work specializing in Health & Mental Health, a Master of Education in Student Development and Student Services, and a Bachelor of Social Work.

Recently, Céline transitioned into coaching as Assistant Coach for the University of Windsor Women’s Program, leveraging her athletic experience to develop young players. Her extensive background in elite competition, positions her as a valuable asset to any team seeking leadership, expertise, and an understanding of athlete development.

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.

Dampy Brar

ASSISTANT COACH

Born and raised in Sparwood, BC, Brar played Junior Hockey with the Elk Valley Raiders and the Fernie Ghostriders. His dedication and skill paved the way for a successful career spanning 7 years of Pro Hockey across the ECHL, CHL, WCHL, and IHL. Dampy transitioned seamlessly into coaching, spending five years with the AMP Academy in Calgary. His commitment to fostering diversity and inclusivity in hockey led him to co-found the ground-breaking APNA Hockey Program which serves as a sports network that uplifts and supports diverse communities in their hockey journey, from grassroots to elite levels. Brar was honored with the NHL’s Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award in 2020.

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.

JESSIE PLEWIS

GOALTENDING COACH

The 2023-2024 season marks Jesse’s 10th season as Goalie Coach with the Okanagan Hockey Academy. In addition to working with the OHA student-athletes, Plewis is also the Goalie Coach for the Penticton Vees (BCHL) and the Spokane Chiefs (WHL). His previous WHL experience includes a year as an Assistant Goaltending Coach/Consultant with the Portland Winterhawks. During the off season, Jesse is a Goalie Coach with Okanagan Hockey Camps.

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.

SHELBY BUSS

ATHLETIC THERAPIST

Shelby has a bachelor’s degree in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia-Okanagan. Shelby went on to complete a BSc in Kinesiology (Athletic Therapy) from the University of Winnipeg
in 2022.

While in Winnipeg, Buss’s practicum placements included working with the University of Winnipeg’s Women’s Basketball team, contributing to their achievement of placing second at the USport Nationals. She also completed a practicum at OHA Penticton. Her practical involvement has
allowed her to hone her skills and contribute to the well-being and performance of young athletes pursuing their dreams.

BRYCE TWIBLE

SPORT SCIENCE LEAD

Twible completed his Bachelor of Human Kinetics (BHK, 2020), and Master of Health and Exercise Science (MSc, 2023) at UBC – Okanagan. During this time, his academic focus involved exercise physiology, biomechanics, and neuromuscular fatigue.

Twible has worked with athletes in the NHL, CHL, NCAA, and Canadian Alpine Ski Team. With a research focus, Twible integrates sport technology and objective data to improve sport performance, monitor training, and optimize youth athlete development. Twible is currently enrolled in the doctorate program at UBC – Okanagan, where his research will lead to a PhD in Health and Exercise Science. Twible joined OHA in September 2020.

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
Dr. Nolan Rau

Nolan Rau

TEAM PHYSICIAN

Dr. Rau has his Canadian Academy of Sports and Exercise Medicine (CASEM) Diploma in Sports and Exercise, in addition to his MD credentials. Since earning his CASEM, Dr. Rau has been providing care for teams at the WHL, BCHL, and KIJHL levels, including the WHL Kelowna Rockets and the BCHL Penticton Vees. A Penticton native, Dr. Rau played his minor hockey years within the Penticton Minor Hockey Association system and, between 2018 and 2020, volunteered his time with the PMHA as a Volunteer Coach with the U15 age group. He has completed several hockey coaching certification courses. Dr. Rau is very excited to join the OHA team and to have the opportunity to work with high-performance student-athletes, as well as the outstanding OHA medical team.