Okanagan Hockey Colorado (OHC) announces 2022-2023 U14 coaching staff.

Mar 28, 2022

DENVER, COLORADO (March 28, 2022) – Okanagan Hockey Colorado (OHC) is excited to announce its 2022-2023 U14 coaching staff. This impressive group brings an unparalleled level of expertise and experience to OHC, as well as intimate knowledge of the Colorado hockey landscape.

Head Coach - David Clarkson:

14U Head Coach David Clarkson was born and raised in Toronto and spent 12 years in the NHL, playing 570 games, before making the transition into coaching. Clarkson started his coaching career in Ohio in 2017, as coach for the Upper Arlington High School. Upon moving to Denver in 2019, Clarkson joined the Colorado Thunderbirds and took the position as Assistant Director and Head Coach for the 16U team, successfully supporting the team into a National Championship playoff. Clarkson will be the Head Coach for the inaugural 14U team of Okanagan Hockey Colorado, and is dedicated to providing student athletes with a development model that will benefit from his passion for both hockey and his dedication to providing student athletes with opportunities beyond the ice. 

Assistant Coach - John Mitchell: 

14U Assistant Coach John Mitchell was born and raised in Ontario. Mitchell played professional hockey for 18 years, including 9 years and 548 games played in the NHL. Assistant Coach Mitchell has spent the past two years coaching with the Colorado Thunderbirds organization as an Assistant Coach at the 16U and 13U level. Coach Mitchell is joining the Okanagan Hockey Colorado organization in a leadership role, providing student athletes with development through his knowledge of the game, passion for coaching and commitment to cultivating a healthy culture. 

Goalie Development Coach - Peter Budaj: 

Goalie Development Coach, Peter Budaj, was born and raised in Slovakia and played 368 games in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche, Montreal Canadians, LA Kings, and Tampa Bay Lightning. Budaj has recently made a transition back to Colorado as Goalie Development Coach for the Colorado Avalanche. In addition to his playing career and coaching role in the NHL, Budaj has been dedicated to coaching youth athletes through his youth development program, Budaj Blockers. Coach Budaj brings an incredible amount of knowledge and expertise to the Okanagan Hockey Colorado. 

Matt Zaba and Mountain High Hockey

Goalie coach Matt Zaba grew up in Yorkton, Saskatchewan and was selected in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. Zaba played for the New York Rangers in the National Hockey League, debuting  in the 2009-2010 season. Zaba finished his playing career in Europe and retired in 2015, transitioning into coaching youth athletes. Matt Zaba is the owner and founder of Mountain High Hockey, the premier goalie development program in Colorado. Mountain High Hockey works with multiple organizations throughout the state to provide high level goalie training. We are excited to have Matt Zaba and MHH as a part of our goalie development team. 

For more information on OHG and the Okanagan Hockey Colorado, please contact Jennifer Barnes at JenniferBarnes@okanaganhockey.com.      

Follow OHG on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for updates.      


About Okanagan Hockey Colorado:

Okanagan Hockey Colorado is the fifth academy for the Okanagan Hockey Group and the first US-based hockey academy, providing both world-class training and education to student-athletes. The program is sanctioned by USA Hockey and, for the first year, will be exclusively for 14U boys born in 2008. Athletes will train on the ice up to 5 days a week, and off the ice up to 4 days a week. The schedule will follow the very successful OHG model, with a focused daily schedule that emphasises integrated athletic and academic development. Professional coaches and strength and conditioning staff will guide student-athletes on and off the ice, while a dedicated academic counsellor will ensure that student-athletes thrive equally in the classroom as they do at the rink.  

About Okanagan Hockey Group:

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 NHL, pro, 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.

About Aces Hockey Academy:

In 2018, Aces Hockey Academy was founded with the goal of partnering with local middle and high schools to provide youth hockey athletes, of all skill levels, with access to skill development without having to sacrifice a traditional academic experience. In 2020, founder Brooke Wilfley, with the support of local families and coaches, founded Aces Sports Academy, a full day, and traditional, private hockey school. Aces Sports Academy currently caters to student-athletes grades 4 through 8, providing instruction from certified teachers.

For information and interview inquiries please contact:

Alexandra Yallouz, Manager, Digital Media and Communications
Okanagan Hockey Group
P: 250-809-5631
E: alexandrayallouz@okanaganhockey.com


POSTED IN: Academy

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Josh Mahura

At the end of grade nine, my parents and I decided it would be beneficial for both my hockey and scholastic development to attend OHA the next year. We toured other hockey academies, but ultimately felt OHA was the best fit for me. The coach’s and trainer’s expertise allowed me to learn more about the game, further develop my skills, strength and stamina and readied me to enter the WHL as a competent and confident 16 year old. With the support of great teachers and tutors my grades improved and I made friends that will last a lifetime. I highly recommend OHA for the player who is looking to take their game, grades and life skills to the next level."