Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA) Penticton General Manager Scott May announced today that Venla Hovi has been named the Head Coach of the OHA Female U17 Prep team.
“We are very excited to add Venla to our coaching staff,” said May. “She brings a wealth of experience at the highest levels of women’s hockey and is someone that brings the characteristics and ideas around culture that are in line with the vision of Okanagan Hockey.”
Hovi will join OHA after spending this past season as an assistant coach with the University of Manitoba Women’s Hockey team, as well as an on-ice instructor with Jets Hockey Development.
“It’s a true pleasure and honour to join Okanagan Hockey,” said Hovi. “I am looking forward to meeting all the staff and students and I am determined to create a culture that provides every student athlete an opportunity to develop in a fun and challenging environment.”
Prior to coaching, Hovi enjoyed an illustrious playing career that saw her play at the international, professional and collegiate levels.
She represented Finland at the 2010, 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics, winning the bronze medal in 2010 and 2018. She played in eight World Championships, winning silver in 2019 and bronze in 2008, 2009 and 2017.
The Tampere, Finland product spent one season in the NCAA with Niagara University prior to playing seven years professionally in Finland and Denmark. She returned to the collegiate ranks in 2015, attending and playing for the University of Manitoba, where she won a national championship in 2018, before spending one season with the Calgary Inferno, where she helped her team win the Canadian Women’s Hockey League championship.
Hovi graduated with a B.A., Journalism from Voionmaa College in 2012, a B.A., Communications from University of Vaasa in 2017 and a Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Post-Graduate Degree from the University of Manitoba in 2018.
She was inducted in the University of Manitoba’s Hockey Hall of Fame this past January.
The OHA Female U17 Prep team will compete in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s Female U18 Prep Division.
In 2010 I was fortunate enough to play at the Okanagan Hockey Academy on the Midget Prep team. With coaches like Robert Dirk and Greg Holst it was an unbelievable year. I have to this day still never been on such a close-knit team. It was my first year of midget hockey and that meant a lot more travel. Playing in the CSSHL I got the opportunity to play in some pretty awesome spots. The league helped me learn to stay on top of school, which has helped me not only in college but also in junior. I was able to make an easy jump to junior and college academically with the help of Dave Nackoney, a guidance counselor at Penticton Secondary School who works with all the student athletes. To this day if I need anything he is always more than willing to help. It is the great staff that left such an impression on me, and made it possible for me to be where I am today.