Come September, young athletes in Kalamazoo will be able to “get the edge” with world-class off-ice training programs thanks to a new partnership between Wings West of Greenleaf Hospitality Group and Athletic Mentors, the area’s premier athletic training organization for ice sports.
The first phase of the new training facility at Wings West, located off 9th Street in Kalamazoo, will focus on programs developed for the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA), the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association (GKSA), and the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League.
“We are excited see the new space come together,” says Danielle Brandenburg, General Manager of Wings West.
“The investment in the space will be well worth the positive impact it can have on youth sports in the area.”
The partnership has been met with enthusiasm by local hockey program leaders.
“Injury prevention is a key advantage to off-ice training with Athletic Mentors, along with helping athletes learn how to live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition programs,” said Kristen Crandle, President of GKSA.
Frank Noonan of the KOHA says his organization is “really looking forward to the competitive edge we will gain by working with the utmost premier hockey trainers in the area.”
Athletic Mentors will be working with the coaches to identify the overall goals of the teams and then design programs based on strengths and weaknesses. Mark Olson and Cheryl Sherwood, founders of Athletic Mentors, stress the importance of the customization of their programs.
“Every athlete is unique and requires a customized strength training and skill development program that helps them achieve peak performance both individually and within the team dynamic,” said Mark Olson, head coach and co-founder of Athletic Mentors.
The AM Hockey coaches are no strangers to training on-ice athletes. Athletic Mentors works with the Kalamazoo Wings in-season to stay game-ready. The company is also widely known for its popular on-ice and off-ice hockey camps led by Olson, a former D-1 player, and key coaching staff Eddie Ward, former NHLer, and Stacie Barber, speed skating specialist. The summer programs blend performance-focused mental and physical conditioning with precise skill development to produce athletes who are ready to move up to the next level.
By early 2018, Athletic Mentors hopes to extend programming to meet the demand for community-wide health and fitness programs beyond hockey. Currently, the company offers sport programs in basketball, volleyball, soccer and football, as well as multi-sport training and coaching. Most recently, it has introduced individual fitness programs with metabolic testing, TRX bootcamp and Yoga classes at its Richland facility.
“We’d love to bring healthy living and recreation to the wider community of young athletes,” said Cheryl Sherwood, co-founder of Athletic Mentors and manager of the multi-sport team.
“It’s important to stay game-ready when you’re a team athlete. But it’s even more important to stay fit for life. And that starts with training smart.”
For more information on Wings West, KOHA, or GKSA, please visit www.wingseventcenter.com/p/venue-info/wingswest. To learn more about Athletic Mentors and their programs available, please visit AthleticMentors.com.
Wings West, owned and operated by Greenleaf Hospitality Group, is home to the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association, Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League, Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association, and Adult Hockey leagues. Built in 2002, Wings West is a committed partner in bringing youth and adult ice sporting events to the Kalamazoo community.