Hockey championship to come to West Michigan

Courtesy Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association

The Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) will host a hockey championship tournament.

The USA Hockey 14U Tier II National Championship Tournament will run from March 31 to April 4 at two locations: Wings Event Center, at 3600 Vanrick Drive, and Wings West Ice Arena, at 5076 Sports Drive in Kalamazoo.

“We are extremely honored to have been chosen to host a USA Hockey National Championship, especially with this being our first-ever bid for an event of this magnitude,” said Matt Kakabeeke, KOHA’s executive director. “It’s a fantastic way for our local players, all who primarily learned to skate, play and compete in KOHA, conclude their Tier II hockey journey with KOHA.”

There will be 44 teams bringing approximately 800 participants to compete for the national championship. The 14U AA K-Wings’ roster includes 18 players who are from Kalamazoo, Portage, Mattawan, Gull Lake, Vicksburg, Schoolcraft, Three Rivers and Lakeview school districts. Former Kalamazoo Wings player and coach Wade Dawson will lead the 14U AA K-Wings national team.

There will be a three-game round robin divisional from March 31 to April 2. The quarter and semifinals will be held on April 3. The following day, April 4, the championship game will be played at Wings West.

Wings Event Center and Wings West in the past have hosted numerous hockey tournaments.

“USA Hockey is excited to continue our partnership with KOHA,” said Bob Mancini, USA Hockey assistant executive director. “As one of USA Hockey’s Model Associations, KOHA has been committed to following the American Development Model of player development since 2013. I offer my congratulations to both KOHA and the local players who have earned the privilege of hosting the 2022 USA Hockey 14U Tier II National Championships. This tournament will showcase KOHA and the Kalamazoo community to players and parents from across the country.”

More information is here.

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