RECORD BREAKING CHECK PRESENTED: Youth Hockey Fights for Kids with Autism

KOHA along with the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) partnered with the Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research (GLC) to host the 5th Annual Youth Hockey Fights for Kids with Autism event on January 28, 2017. A record $11,306.74 was raised to benefit children served at GLC. Event sponsors included DTE Energy, Consumers Energy, Wings West, KOHA, SWMHSHL, Kingscott, Miller Johnson and The Kalleward Group.

“We are happy to announce that this year’s event resulted in essential funds raised, and we are deeply grateful for our generous community partners who provided support to help individuals and families affected by autism,” said Residential Opportunities, Inc. Director of Development and Public Relations, Dana DeLuca.

Event partners and sponsor representatives presented the check on Monday, April 10, 2017.

Pictured from left: Scott Schrum, ROI Chief Executive Officer, Greg Moore, Consumers Energy Community Affairs Manager, Se. Margaret O’Brien, Brian Bellware, KOHA Board President, Frank Noonan, SWMHSHL Commissioner and President, GLC Outpatient Services Director and Stephanie Dukesherer, KOHA Director of Marketing and Communications.


On Saturday, March 11, 2017, our Lady K-Wings will play a game against Kensington Valley to help honor one of their former players, Maddie Doty.

maddie_dotyMaddie passed away unexpectedly in her sleep in May 2016. She played for KV, and, is the niece of our KOHA Skills Team Coach, Matt Bland.

Sunday’s game will be the first “Maddie Memorial Game” and our Lady KWings are honored to have been asked to participate. image1(2).PNG

G.O.A.L. (Get Out And Learn)

The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association is running a program designed to introduce kids to our great game!

This program is designed for FIRST TIME HOCKEY PLAYERS (at least 5 years old); it’s not intended for those having previously completed an Intro to Play or Beginning Hockey structured program, or those currently playing hockey. 

If you participated in a Try Hockey For Free or a Learn To Skate program you are WELCOME TO REGISTER!

  • March 13, 20 & 27 from 5:30-6:20pm
  • $25
  • Wings West (5076 Sports Drive, Kalamazoo)


Register today!!

Skates and equipment provided if needed. A properly fitted hockey helmet with cage is required (but not provided).


Visit to register!


Equipment and skates available (first-come, first-served).

REGISTER TODAY and bring a helmet (well-fitting bike helmets are fine), warm clothing and a smile!

Intended for participants not currently enrolled in a hockey or Learn to Play program. Learn To Skate participants looking to try hockey for the first time are welcome and encouraged to register and join the fun!


We are going to try our hand at a blog! Our goal: to tell KOHA’s story through the people in our association as well as our hockey community. 

This past weekend, KOHA along with the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) hosted our 5th Annual “Youth Hockey Fights for Kids with Autism” and raised over $10,500 for the Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research (a program of ROI, Inc.) located in Portage, MI.

As successful as the event was once again thanks to our sponsors and our hockey family, we stumbled on a pretty awesome story (and an even more amazing set of goalie pads!).

As the event day was winding down, we noticed these up in the lobby at Wings West:

We decided to share the picture on our Facebook page with the hopes of letting their owner know how very cool (and timely) we thought they were!


The owner saw them and commented to thank us for sharing. His name is Shane and we asked him for their story. Here is what he sent via Facebook messenger:

Story behind the pads: About a year or so ago we got confirmation that my boy, our only child, is autistic. While we had a hard time with it at first he is still my little buddy. I play net a lot at Lawson, Wings West, in port Huron for the Prowlers, Grand Rapids for theLakers, down in Tennessee, and have been to a few camps for the Walleye in Toledo, so I figured traveling so much to play would be a perfect platform to help raise some awareness for autism. I take every opportunity I can to talk about the pads and explain to everyone how it is not a disability, merely a special ability that not everyone has. The goal is to help everyone understand, not just for my son, but all the families and people affected by autism. I got with the pro rep at Brian’s custom goalie and worked out a design on photoshop. We talked about wanting every piece of gear different to represent how everybody with autism is completely different, nobody the same. 10 weeks later the pads were done and I have just started wearing them. I have gotten a lot of compliments and quite a few opportunities to spread the word. Also quite a few messages on social media through Instagram and my YouTube channel expressing gratitude for making the set. I always let them know the pleasure is mine and it’s an honor to support the cause.”

Shane also shared more (TOTALLY AWESOME) pictures:

THANK YOU, Shane, for sharing both your story and your love for your “Little Buddy.”