PENTICTON, B.C. – Okanagan Hockey Group Vice-President Dixon Ward today announced the head coaches for all six male Okanagan Hockey Academy teams for the 2017-18 season.
“We are very excited about our coaching lineup this season,” said Ward. “We have a tremendous amount of internal experience with very good people at every level.”
Midget Prep Red: Robert Dirk
Dirk has been the head coach of OHA Midget Prep Red since 2014, accumulating a combined record of 65-22-7 in CSSHL regular season action. He previously was the head coach of the OHA Midget Varsity Red team, where he won the 2014 CSSHL Championship.
The Regina, Sask. product played over 400 games in the NHL with St. Louis, Vancouver, Chicago, Anaheim and Montreal. Dirk is a former professional head coach in the ECHL, WCHL and UHL, and was also the head coach of Team Pacific at the 2011 World Under-17 Challenge.
Midget Prep White: Craig Bedard
Bedard had been the head coach of the OHA Elite 15s team since 2013. A former student athlete at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, Bedard spent five seasons as an assistant coach in the WHL and is also a former assistant coach with the BCHL’s Penticton Vees.
The Cranbrook, B.C. product was the head coach of Team Pacific at the 2006 World Under-17 Challenge, and was also the head coach of Team BC at the 2007 Canada Winter Games.
Midget Varsity: Mack O’Rourke
O’Rourke was previously the head coach of the OHA Midget Varsity team during the 2012-13 season and an assistant coach with the OHA Bantam Prep team in 2011-12.
The Kelowna, B.C. product was named head coach of the Okanagan Rockets in 2013, where he guided the team to a BCMML and Pacific Regional Championship, as well as a bronze medal at the Telus Cup during the 2013-14 season.
Elite 15s: Kip Noble
Noble was previously the head coach of the OHA Bantam Prep team during the 2014-15 and 2016-17 seasons, winning a CSSHL Championship in 2015.
The Dawson Creek, B.C. product is a former student athlete at Michigan Tech, where he was named to the NCAA Second All-American Team in 1990. He went on to play 11 seasons professionally in Europe, before a successful senior hockey career, which saw him capture the 2006 and 2013 Allan Cup.
Bantam Prep: Mike Egener
Egener was previously the head coach of the OHA Midget Varsity team during the 2016-17 season, after joining OHA from the Mount Royal University Men’s Hockey team, where he was an assistant coach in 2015-16.
Prior to coaching, Egener enjoyed an 11-year professional playing career in the AHL, ECHL and Europe. He was drafted in the second round by the Tampa Bay Lightning at the 2003 NHL Draft after a 246-game career with the Calgary Hitmen. A three-time Humanitarian Award and two-time Scholastic Player of the Year winner with the Hitmen, Egener obtained a Master’s of Science, Sports Management, from Coventry University.
Bantam Varsity: Dennis McKinnon
McKinnon returns as the head coach of the OHA Bantam Varsity team after guiding them to a 13-10-2 record during the 2016-17 CSSHL season, his first with OHA.
McKinnon has over 20 years of coaching experience, including head coaching roles with the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters and the AJHL’s Sherwood Park Crusaders. McKinnon has also spent time in the WHL as an associate coach with the Tri-City Americans. He was the BC Hockey High Performance Coordinator from 2009-10 and was the head coach of the Male U16 and U17 teams from 2001-2004.
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.