WHITBY, Ont. -- The Okanagan Hockey Group (OHG) is pleased to announce that Mike Duco has been named the inaugural head coach of the Okanagan Hockey Ontario U18 AAA team.
Duco, 30, joins Okanagan Hockey Ontario from the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) where he spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach and will remain with the organization in a player development position. 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.
“We are excited to have Mike as the inaugural head coach at Okanagan Hockey Ontario,” said Andy Oakes, president of OHG. “In just a short span, he has experience coaching at the professional and major junior levels as well as numerous years working in skill development, on top of his nearly 10-year professional playing career.”
Prior to joining the Petes, Duco was the director of hockey operations and head coach of the East Coast Hockey League’s (ECHL) Elmira Jackals.
“I am very excited to join Okanagan Hockey Ontario as the first head coach of the hockey program,” said Duco. “It will be a pleasure to work with Andy Oakes, Dixon Ward, and the rest of the Okanagan Hockey family during the upcoming season. I will do everything in my power to ensure these student-athletes become elite hockey players and more importantly well-rounded individuals. I would like to thank Andy and the Okanagan Hockey Group for giving me this opportunity.”
The Toronto, Ont. product enjoyed an extensive nine-year professional playing career that saw him play 18 games in the National Hockey League (NHL) with the Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks, 267 games in the American Hockey League (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.
Okanagan Hockey Ontario will be hosting an Open House on April 17 at the Abilities Centre in Whitby. The Open House is free and open to the public and provides the community an opportunity to learn more about the Academy for Student Athlete Development Program, Hockey Canada Skills Academy and the Okanagan Hockey Ontario U18 AAA team. Please RSVP by clicking here.
The Okanagan Hockey Ontario U18 AAA Evaluation Camp will be held May 11-13 at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby. To register, or for more information, visit okanaganhockeyontario.com.
ABOUT OKANAGAN HOCKEY ONTARIO
Okanagan Hockey Ontario was launched in March 2018 and will be operating an academy based in Whitby, Ontario in 2018-2019. Whitby’s Henry Street High School, a member of the Durham District School Board, will host the academic program for the academy, while practices and games will take place at the Town of Whitby’s Iroquois Park Sports Centre. Student-athletes will participate in the Academy for Student-Athlete Development (ASAD) program, run out of the Abilities Centre, which focuses on academic and athletic support, ensuring they are equipped with the resources they need to excel in both sport and the classroom. The strength and conditioning component of the program will be executed in partnership with Elite Training Systems.
ABOUT OKANAGAN HOCKEY GROUP
The Okanagan Hockey Group was founded in 1963 in Penticton, B.C., Canada. Since its establishment, Okanagan Hockey Group has become an icon in the hockey camp industry and has grown to be the longest operating hockey camp in the world. In 2002, Okanagan Hockey Academy was established as the first hockey specific sport school recognized by BC Hockey and Hockey Canada. The success of the academy is evident in the long list of players who have moved on to play at the WHL, Junior A, University and International levels. With our staff having a vast amount of knowledge, experience and an incredible network, our athletes have the inside track to move on to the next level.
OHA helped shape the person I am today in an abundance of ways. The training regime and on-ice practice went a long way in helping me achieve my set goals in hockey, while making the jump to the next level attainable. Ultimately, it was the lessons I learned off the ice that have shaped me the most. From learning to balance school with hockey, to building character and unity with my team. All in all, OHA was the best decision to not only further my hockey career, but also to further myself as a person."