The Okanagan Hockey Group would like to congratulate OHA Edmonton assistant coach Eric Thurston on accepting the head coach and general manager positions with the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.
“OHA Edmonton would like to wish Eric Thurston all the very best with his opportunity with the Drayton Valley Thunder,” said OHA Edmonton general manager Randall Weber. “We were very fortunate to have had Eric join our coaching staff this past season and he will be sorely missed. Eric carried out his role as Academy assistant coach and educational consultant with a remarkable attitude and positive energy.
“Our student athletes were very fortunate to have access to his experience, support and knowledge of the game on a daily basis. We are very happy for Eric and his family as he takes on this new challenge.”
Thurston, 54, spent the 2017-18 season as an assistant coach with the OHA Edmonton Midget Prep team, helping them to a 19-12-5 record during the Canadian Sport School Hockey League regular season.
“My time spent this season with OHA Edmonton has been nothing short of fantastic,” said Thurston. “The opportunity to work with three great head coaches and 60 wonderful kids has made this year one of the best years I’ve ever had in hockey. Going to Royal Glenora Club and going on the ice with three different teams and learning from three great coaches has really helped me grow as a coach. I know I will miss the very competitive games in the CSSHL.
“The chance to be a coach and general manager with the Drayton Valley Thunder was just a great opportunity that I’m so thankful to have.”
Thurston has an extensive coaching background that saw him on the University of Alberta coaching staff from 1995-2011, serving as head coach from 2005-2012. As head coach, he won two U Sports National Championships (2006, 2008), was the recipient of the 2009 Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as U Sports Coach of the Year and won the Canada West Coach of the Year award in 2006 and 2009.
The Okanagan Hockey Group would like to thank Eric for his contributions to the development of our student athletes this past season and wish him all the best in his new role with the Drayton Valley Thunder.
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.