Okanagan Hockey Group was founded by Larry Lund in 1963 in Penticton, BC Canada. Over the years, Okanagan Hockey Group became an icon in the hockey camp industry and has grown today to be the longest operating hockey camp in the world. Over the 50 plus years, Okanagan Hockey Group has operated camps in Canada, United States, Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, England, Scotland and Denmark. In this time period, the camp in Penticton has hosted players from over 30 different countries. The camp has had hundreds of former and existing NHL players attend over the years as players or as on ice instructors.
In 2002, Okanagan Hockey Academy was established as the first hockey specific sport school recognized by BC Hockey and Hockey Canada. OHA has been built on experience, knowledge, and passion for our game. OHA in Penticton started with one team and has now expanded to eight teams.
In 2008, OHG expanded its operations to St Polten, Austria and then in 2012 to Swindon, England in the UK. OHA’s success can be seen in the long list of players who have moved on to play at the WHL, Junior A, University and International levels. With the vast amount of knowledge and incredible network throughout our staff, our athletes have the inside track to move on to the next level.
In 2014 OHG and the WHL partnered to establish the WHL Combines. WHL Combines is a specially designed on and off ice testing system, that allows athletes to establish baseline results and then continue testing against the baseline. Players as well as parents have found the combines to be extremely helpful to the athlete, as results can then be used to make adjustments to one’s own training and development, as well as be compared to other athletes within the database.
In 2015, OHG added its fourth Hockey Academy to the family by launching OHA Edmonton. Through a partnership with Royal Glenora Club, OHA Edmonton gives Albertan students the opportunity to train within their home province and continue to participate in a familiar education system. Athletes attend Vimy Ridge Academy, the educational home of OHA Edmonton, while they play, practice and train at the Royal Glenora Club— a state-of-the-art fitness facility that has been serving Edmontonians since 1961.
President and Director
Andy Oakes has been actively involved in the development of hockey players since he began his career with Okanagan Hockey Group (OHG) in 1997. He has held several positions within the organization starting as an Instructor, was a co-founder and Coordinator of the International Development Tournament, moving to Vice President and is currently President of OHG since 2007. In his 20 years with OHG, Andy has helped grow the camp operations in Canada, Austria and in the United Kingdom. In 2002 Andy founded Okanagan Hockey Academy Penticton, which was established as the first hockey specific sport school recognized by BC Hockey and Hockey Canada. As the need increased for education based hockey, Andy founded and expanded the Academy operations to Okanagan Hockey Academy Europe in 2008, Okanagan Hockey Academy United Kingdom in 2012 and Okanagan Hockey Academy Edmonton in 2015.
Always wanting to be a leader in the industry, Andy established a partnership with the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Prospect Combines which are designed to assist high level minor hockey players with their skill development and ability assessment by participating in comprehensive on and office ice testing.
As an advocate of education based hockey, Andy has been involved with Hockey Canada’s Sport School Committee since 2007, which at that time helped established Sport Schools in Canada within the Hockey Canada System. Andy is a founding member and Chairman of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL), as well as the Chair of the British Columbia Hockey Schools Committee, since 2014.
Amongst Andy’s achievements, he has been awarded the BC Hockey League Executive of the year in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 as well has being awarded the Business Leader of the Year for 2010 in his home community.
Vice President and Director
Dixon joined Okanagan Hockey Group after a distinguished hockey career. As an amateur, he played four seasons of college hockey at the University of North Dakota where he was the only player in the school’s history to score 100 goals and 100 assists. Dixon finished his collegiate career as the fourth all-time leading scorer at UND. After graduation in 1992, Dixon played 12 years of professional hockey, including 599 NHL games. He was an integral player on the 1999 Stanley Cup finalist Buffalo Sabres team.
In the AHL, Dixon led the Rochester Americans to the 1996 Calder Cup Championship and was awarded the Jack Butterfield Trophy as playoff MVP. Dixon completed his pro career by playing two seasons in Switzerland’s Elite League. During this time, he captained Team Canada to the 2003 Spengler Cup Championship in Davos.
Vice President, Okanagan Hockey Camps
Marketing and Branding
Blair joined Okanagan Hockey Group in 2008 after a 25 year career in Management in the forest industry. Prior to coming to OHG, Blair was Involved with Junior Hockey in the KIJHL for seven years in a volunteer capacity, as he took on the role of President/GM of the expansion team, the Princeton Posse in 2001. In 2008 OHG owned the BCHL's Alberni Valley Bulldogs and required a Business Manager to which Blair accepted the role for a one-year term. In 2009, Blair and his wife Marilyn relocated to Penticton where he currently oversees the Okanagan Hockey Camps division and is in charge of Marketing and Branding for the company. The move to the Okanagan has allowed the five-time Ironman Triathlon finisher to renew his passion for training and endurance racing.
Vice President, Finance
Prior to moving to the Okanagan in 2007, Kim enjoyed a successful 18-year career with TELUS which included various management roles within the finance division. During this time, she obtained her CMA designation in 2003. Originally hired at OHG in 2012 after four-years as Controller for a local construction company, Kim moved into the Vice President role in September of 2016. Patrick Hennessy (Controller) and Anissa Mah (Accounting Generalist) round out the Finance team for OHG.
In addition to being an active member of local school PAC executives for the past seven years, Kim (an avid runner), her husband Dean (a local Carpenter) and their two boys enjoy the beautiful surroundings of Naramata where they live and manage a small vineyard.
Chairman of the Board
J.P. has recently relocated to the Okanagan after a 29 year career in Private Equity/Corporate Finance. After graduating from the University of Western Ontario, he started his career in the Corporate Finance division of Dominion Securities, a national brokerage firm. He then went on to hold variety senior financial roles in major companies in both Canada and Australia.
In 1996 J.P. moved to the private equity industry and was responsible for establishing and developing private equity businesses in Australia and New Zealand for two global financial institutions: ABN AMRO Bank NV and GE Capital.
J.P. had responsibility for managing a team of investment professionals making equity investments in multiple sectors including: tourism, retail, logistics, transport, healthcare, technology, electronics, business services and waste. He was also responsible for raising a leveraged buyout fund including institutional funding alongside ABN AMRO Bank NV.
George Melville, C.A., earned a chartered accountant degree in 1968 and worked for the accounting firm Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. in Penticton BC. The notion of surrounding yourself with great individuals and building a strong and diverse team is fundamental to George, who became involved with Boston Pizza International Inc. in 1973 when he partnered with Jim Treliving. Today, the two close friends share responsibility as co-owners and co-chairmen of Canada’s No. 1 casual dining chain.
In addition to Boston Pizza, George is involved in a number of other business interests that include real estate development, sports entertainment and automotive maintenance industries, with his most recent venture being Mr. Lube, Canada’s best known quick oil-change chain. George is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of British Columbia, and an active member of the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association and the Vancouver Board of Trade. He sits on the Board of Governors for Kwantlen University College and is a director of Global Entertainment Corporation, which trade on the American Stock Exchange under GEC. He is also a director of the Boston Pizza Foundation and Director of the Private Equity Fund, the Southern Interior Innovation Fund (SIIF).
David P. Willis, C.A., CIRP, is a well-known Chartered Accountant in Vernon and a Director of Okanagan Innovation Fund. Dave grew up in Calgary and attended UBC, completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1965. He articled with Clarkson Gordon (now Ernst & Young) and earned a chartered accountant designation in 1968. Thereafter, Dave spent three years overseas, working as a chartered accountant in Australia, Djakarta and Singapore, and travelling extensively.
Returning to Canada in 1972, Dave worked briefly in Vancouver before moving to Vernon to join Collins Barrow C.A.’s. He worked as a partner in that practice until 1990. He then joined another practitioner for a 10-year stint, before opening his own practice which is now operated under the name Willis Associates. The practice consists of 10 people, and includes a large component of insolvency work, as Dave is a bankruptcy trustee as well as a practicing chartered accountant. Senior staff includes one other trustee and two chartered accountants.
Dave has been an active community supporter including serving as Chairman of the BC CA convention in 1984 in Vernon and Chairman of the local bid committee for the Canada summer Games. He has several recreational and other interests including particularly golf, curling, photography and music and has competed successfully at provincial levels in amateur golf. Dave is also a Director of the Private Equity Fund, the Southern Interior Innovation Fund (SIIF).
Al Coates is a former General Manager of the Calgary Flames, a post held form November 1995 until the end of the 1999-2000 season. He later served as interim General Manager of the Ducks in 2004-2005 before becoming the Senior Advisor to the General Manger. He won the Stanley Cup in 1989 with Calgary as an Assistant to the President and in 2007 with Anaheim as Senior Advisor to the General Manager. Al was the Executive Director of the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship tournament held in Calgary and Edmonton and is currently an advisor with Hockey Canada.
The staff at OHA pushed me to new heights and it’s something that I try to do each and everyday.