As Director of Hockey Operations, Elias oversees the daily operations of Okanagan Hockey School and the Okanagan Hockey Academy Europe. Elias learned to play hockey while growing up in Toronto, Canada where he rose through the minor hockey ranks before receiving a Hockey Scholarship to Michigan Technological University. After finishing second in the 1974 NCAA championships Elias went on to enjoy a successful 15 year European professional career including winning the German Division 1 championship with Mannheim ERC. Elias started coaching as a collegian and has helped numerous young players develop their hockey skills before, during and after his professional career. With more than 30 years of coaching experience at all levels, Elias has helped players of all ages to achieve their goals. Elias has been associated with Okanagan Hockey School for more than 11 years.
Raised in British Columbia, Canada, Hicks has been coaching in Europe for over 11 years and currently resides in Austria. From 2001 to 2008 Hicks served as coach and assistant athletic director at Manhattanville College (NCAA Division 3). An Italian/Canadian, he has spent time coaching in Austria, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. While coaching with the Vipiteno Broncos, he helped lead the club to two Italian Serie A2 Championships and a Coppa di Lega. Hicks has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, and a Master of Arts degree.
Gary is the Academy’s Head-Coach. He grew up and played his minor hockey in Montreal, Quebec, before attending the University of Vermont where he is a member of the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Upon graduation, he headed first for Germany and then on to Finland to play professionally. He ‘retired’ early in order to seize an opportunity to start his coaching career in Finland’s second highest league. Since then, his travels have taken him and his family to seven different countries in Europe, reaching the highest levels in Finland, Germany and Italy. Along the way, he also managed to pick up the German and Finnish languages.
While Gary teaches mainly the North American style of hockey, he appreciates the different styles played in all the top hockey-playing countries and seeks to blend the best aspects of each into his coaching. In his 25 years of experience, he counts the development of young players as one of his most rewarding accomplishments with many of them going on to successful careers both in professional hockey as well as outside the game.
John Miner is the speciality coach for the academy’s defensemen as well as a team coach in the academy. John was born in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan, Canada. He played junior hockey with the Regina Pats of the WHL. In his last year of Junior he was a member of Canada’s World Junior National Hockey Team, winning Gold in Finland. John was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers. He played three years of pro with Edmonton and their American League affiliate, the Nova Scotia Oilers. He was with Edmonton when they won the 1988 Stanley Cup. John was traded to the Los Angeles Kings as part of the deal with Wayne Gretzky. John began his European hockey career with IWW-WEV. He played 20 years of professional hockey in Europe. He has played in the Austrian, Swiss, German, French and Danish Elite Leagues. John has won both Swiss and German championships with cologne and Zug respectively. During this time, he played in several International tournaments with Team Canada. John has been named to several All-Star teams while playing in Switzerland and Germany, as well as representing Canada in the Spengler Cup and Globen Tournament. John has completed Levels 1 & 2 to obtain his Canadian National Hockey Certification. John spent two seasons as assistant coach with Sierre of the NLB in Switzerland.
Jan, a native of Zvolen, Slovakia, has been developing youth hockey players in Europe since 2008. Played professional hockey in Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, United Kingdom, and United States for 12 seasons before becoming a coach. He has his B Coaching License from Slovakian Ice Hockey Federation. Vrtik also coaches with the Vienna Tigers youth hockey club and is an instructor at the Okanagan Spring/Summer Camps.
Julian is from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He graduated from Concordia University in Montreal in 2012 with a Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science with a Specialization in Athletic Therapy. He has been a Certified Athletic Therapist since 2012 and and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach since 2013. He previously worked at Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, British Columbia, Canada for 3 years before transferring to St. Pölten.
Christoph is an Athletic Trainer and Physio-Therapist for the Academy. His experience as a high level professional soccer player and his interest in the functioning of the human body lead him to study physiotherapy and sports science at the University of Vienna after his career as a player. Since 2011 he has been working as a conditioning coach and Physio-Therapist at the national academy of women soccer in St.Pölten. Christoph is now looking forward to the work as an athletic trainer and Physio-Therapist at OHA Europe which gives him the unique possibility to also support young hockey players in reaching their goals.
Michaela was born 1973 in Horn, Lower Austria. After finishing her nurse´s training school in 1996 she earned her medical degree on the University of Vienna in 2004. 2007 Michaela started her education as a resident for Trauma Surgery and Sports Traumatolgy at the general hospital in St. Pölten. Additionally she acquired her degree for sports medicine.
Michaela is offering her medical attendance for our players in school and the Academy as well as she can guarantee an optimal supply in general hospital of St. Pölten or her private ordination with „Ärzte im Zentrum“.
The last years Michaela took care of projekts like „climb high“, which supports children between 10 to 14 in their physical development and is the medical support for SKN – Juniors, the St. Pölten soccerteam.
In her leisure time Michaela likes skiing, ski touring, gym, running, music and watching international sports events.
Gee, a resident of St.Polten, is managing the Hockey Camp Division at Okanagan Hockey Europe. He has a long career in the business of managing and promoting events. Since 1999 Gee has been working as a global concert promoter and event manager for some of the biggest names in the music industry. Being a long time hockey supporter, Gee is also a coach with the Okanagan St.Pölten Tigers, the youth hockey division of Okanagan Hockey Europe.