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.

dixon-ward-2018.jpgDixon Ward
Vice President

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.

robert-dirk-crop.gifRobert Dirk
Manager of Hockey Operations
Head Coach, Midget Prep Red 

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.

rob-mclaughlin-crop.gifRob McLaughlin
Associate Director of Hockey Operations
Head Skating Instructor

McLaughlin has spent over 20 years in BC Hockey High Performance program and has been involved with Okanagan Hockey for over 30 years. McLaughlin is a Certified Power Skating instructor that has a client list that includes Duncan Keith of Chicago Blackhawks.

blake-wesley-crop.gifBlake Wesley
Manager of Hockey Operations, Camps/Combines
Assistant Coach

Wesley spent seven seasons playing in the NHL with the Flyers, Whalers, Nordiques and Maple Leafs. He was the 22nd overall selection at the 1979 NHL Draft after three seasons with the WHL's Portland Winterhawks. Wesley is a former assistant coach with the Winterhawks and Tri-City Americans.

Mike_Needham_1415.jpgMike Needham
Skills and Development Coordinator

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.

craig-bedard-crop.gifCraig Bedard
Head Coach, Midget Prep White

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. 

matt-hughes-sqaure.jpgMatt Hughes 
Head Coach, Female Prep

Hughes was the Head Coach and General Manager of the BCHL's Alberni Valley Bulldogs from 2017 to 2019. Prior to his time with the Bulldogs, the Fort St. John, B.C. product spent eight seasons in Junior A hockey as a Head Coach, Associate Coach, and General Manager in the BCHL, AJHL and NAHL. He also was part of the Team Canada U17 coaching staff on two occasions.

mike-egener-crop.gifMike Egener 
Head Coach, Bantam Prep

Egener is a former assistant coach with the Mount Royal University Men's Hockey team. Prior to coaching, he enjoyed an 11-year professional hockey career in the AHL, ECHL and Europe. Egener was drafted 34th overall by the Lightning at the 2003 NHL Draft after a 246-game career with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen.

kip-noble-crop.gifKip Noble 
Head Coach, Elite 15

A longtime Okanagan Hockey Camps instructor, Noble is a former student athlete at Michigan Tech where he posted 123 points in 156 career NCAA games as a defenceman. After a 10-year professional playing career in Europe, Noble went on to win a pair of Allan Cup championships. 

mack-orourke-head-shot-2018.jpgMack O'Rourke 
Academy Operations Coordinator
Assistant Coach

O'Rourke has an extensive background coaching in the Okanagan area. After two seasons with the Okanagan Hockey Academy from 2011-2013, O'Rourke went on to coach the Okanagan Rockets to a BC Championship and bronze medal at the 2014 Telus Cup. He also won the 2010 BC Midget AAA Provincial Championship as head coach with Kelowna Minor Hockey.

dennis-mckinnon-crop.gifDennis McKinnon
Head Coach, Bantam Varsity

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.

jared-wynia-head-shot-2018.jpgJared Wynia
Head Coach, Midget Varsity

Wynia is a former student athlete at SUNY-Fredonia, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree. Wynia was named to the SUNYAC All-Academic team each season spent in NCAA III, as well as the recipient of the 2012 SUNYAC Rookie of the Year award. Prior to college, he played four seasons in the AJHL with the Eagles, Kodiaks and Canucks. Wynia was the assistant coach for the AJHL's Calgary Mustangs during the 2016-17 season.

pacina-cwhl-square.pngTomas Pacina
Head Coach, Female Varsity

Pacina has been the Skills Coach for the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Portland Winterhawks since 2009 and was a Skills Coach at the NHL level since 2001, working with the New York Rangers, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins. During the 2017-18 season, Pacina was named the CWHL Coach of the Year after leading the Calgary Inferno to a 17-7-4 record. He also spent seven seasons with the Calgary Oval X-Treme, leading them to a pair of NWHL championships and three WWHL championships.

Love_cropped.jpgTyler Love
Goaltending Coach

Love is currently the Director of Goaltending, Scouting and Development with the WHL's Portland Winterhawks. He is a former goaltending consultant with the NHL's St. Louis Blues and is a partner in World Pro Goaltending. Love played four seasons in the WHL with the Warriors, Cougars and Blades. 

blaine-harrison-crop.gifBlaine Harrison
Strength & Conditioning Coach

Harrison is a three-time BC Power Lifting champion and a certified Can-Fit personal trainer and a Twist Conditioning certified trainer.

heather-2019.jpgHeather Perrin
Manager of Athletic Therapy & Medical Services

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.

Dr_Connolly_Crop.jpgTrevor 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.

tara-ashwell-2018-head-shot.jpgTara Ashwell
Athletic Therapist

Ashwell graduated from Camosun College with a Bachelors Degree of Athletic and Exercise Therapy in 2015. While completing her studies she worked two seasons as a Student Athletic Therapist with the Saanich Braves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. After graduating she spent two seasons in the AJHL with the Olds Grizzlies as their Athletic Therapist and Equipment Manager. Ashwell has also served as an Athletic Therapist at events such as the BC Hockey U15 and U16 Male High Performance Program, the BC Hockey U18 Female High Performance Invitational Camp, 2016 Alberta Cup, and the 2017 Hockey Alberta Peewee Prospects Camp. Ashwell joined OHA in August 2017.

bob-pond-headshot.jpgBob Pond
Athletic Therapist

Pond is a former student-athlete at Minot State University where he played hockey and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training. Pond was an Academic All-American and 2013 ACHA Div. 1 National Champion. Pond is a Certified Athletic Trainer in the United States, Certified Athletic Therapist in Canada, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and is also certified in Selective Functional Movement Assessment.

lem-lau.jpgLem Lau
Athletic Therapist

Lau obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Kinetics at the University of British Columbia Okanagan and continued his studies at Camosun College where he received a Degree in Athletic and Exercise Therapy. While completing his degrees, Lau worked USports Basketball for UBCO and UVIC, as well as PACWest Volleyball for Camosun College. Lau completed his Certification as an Athletic Therapist in 2018 and joined OHA in October of 2018. 

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We have over 50 years of experience.

I can confidently say the Okanagan Hockey Academy had an impact on me as a hockey player but more importantly as a person. OHA taught me to bring my best self in all aspects of life including as a student, player and community member. I learned many life skills during my time at OHA that I will take with me much longer than my playing career and that is the greatest gift the staff, coaches, billets and community gave to me. I strongly believe I am a more well-rounded individual because of my time at OHA. I hope any young hockey player with drive, determination and a passion to become a better player and person is able to have the chance to attend somewhere so amazing. For me OHA gave me the best balance of academics, athletics, family and social life. I am extremely grateful for my time at Okanagan Hockey Academy.