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.


mike-needham-2019.pngMike 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.


robert-dirk-2019.pngRobert 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.gifCassea 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.


Untitled_design_12.gifJessie 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. 


Untitled_design_7.gifTsukasa Arinami
Assistant Coach

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-2019.pngDennis 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.gifCraig 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. 


Untitled_design_15.gifJeff 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. 


Untitled_design_7.gifTsukasa Arinami
Assistant Coach

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. 


Untitled_design_9.gifShawn 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.


Staff – Mikaela Reay.gifMIKAELA 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.


 Staff_-_Erin_McLean.gifErin 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.


Lucas-use-this-one.gifLucas Gore
Goaltending Coach

Gore is currently a goalie coach for the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL. Before that Gore spent time coaching with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers and BCHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings. Prior to coaching Gore played one season with BCHL’s Vernon Vipers before playing three full seasons with WHL’s Chilliwack Bruins. He moved on to play four years at the university of Regina then finished his playing career with ECHL’s Stockton Thunder.


mike-duco-2019-headshot.jpgMike 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.


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We have over 50 years of experience.

My time at OHA provided me an opportunity to grow as a person and athlete. Without OHA I would not have had the opportunity to play post secondary hockey. The life skills I learned at OHA are skills that I will have with me forever.