Sports

OHS scores business sense for company growth

Okanagan Hockey School Limited has scored a chance for business growth.

OHSL announced on Jan. 10 that Southern Interior Innovation Fund has put an investment into the Penticton-based hockey school.

OHSL president Andy Oakes said that with SIIF adding George Melville and Dave Willis will add to the business sense of the company.

“The two gentleman they have put on our board George Melville and Dave Willis, they are going to contribute to improving the business structure,” said Oakes, adding this will help the OHSL find a balance with hockey and business expertise. “Ensuring the sustainability of our program. Assist with growth.”

“The Okanagan Hockey School is an iconic brand in the Southern Interior of B.C. and throughout the hockey world,” said John Drope, co-fund manager of SIIF. “We look forward to helping OHSL grow and build on its brand and reputation that it has established over nearly 50 years of business.”

“This transaction assists OHSL in the opportunity to continue to grow its $13.5 million yearly economic impact into the Southern Okanagan region,” said Oakes.

“The investment by SIIF will provide the necessary capital that OHSL requires to finance its future expansion plan,” said J.P. Kaumeyer, chairman of OHSL. “We are delighted that they have chosen to back management’s vision for the business going forward.”

Another change in partnership with the OHS involves the departure of Alan Kerr. Oakes said Kerr, who coached the Penticton Lakers for one season, joined the OHS approximately seven years ago with the intent to impact business growth and the academy.

“He had a real passion for the academy and wanted to drive growth there and he did that,” said Oakes. “Alan also made it very clear from day one that he wanted to be in the academy with James and Nicholas, his two boys and when they were finished he was probably going to be looking to pursue other opportunities. Nicholas graduated from us last year.”

Oakes also said that there will be a team from Asia participating in their Pacific Summer Showcase. The team will be made up of players from Hong Kong and China. The showcase will consist of five one-week tournaments in July and August 2011 with teams consisting of elite players who are serious about reaching higher levels.

Barry Smith, a former assistant coach with the Vancouver Canucks and coached the Kamloops Blazers, will manage the showcase. The three coaches working with the teams will be former NHLers Geoff Sanderson, Murray Craven and Penticton’s Shawn Dineen, who is a scout with the Nashville Predators. The OHS is also working on how many players are coming from Asia to attend the hockey school.

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