New Michigan Coach-in-Chief Matt Kakabeeke
Matt Kakabeeke has been appointed the new Michigan Coach-in-Chief by USA Hockey. Kakabeeke brings over 30 years of experience as a coach and hockey administrator, including service as an Associate Coach-in-Chief and USA Hockey ADM Coordinator in the Michigan District.
Kakabeeke will schedule, organize, promote and administer all coaching clinics in Michigan conducted as part of the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program. This includes the preparation and distribution of all USA Hockey approved materials, processing registration fees, and updating records for all clinic attendees.
“I am excited and honored to be selected as Michigan Coach-in-Chief by the staff at USA Hockey, with the support of the Executive Committee of MAHA,” Kakabeeke stated. “Undoubtedly, I have huge shoes to fill with the retirement of Jack Witt; however, he has formulated and developed a talented group of coach developers to provide education and development to the youth hockey coaches of Michigan. I look forward to connecting with clubs, coaches, and parents in all corners of Michigan for the continued development of youth hockey players.”
Previously, Kakabeeke served on the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association (KOHA) Board of Directors as a Vice President, until transitioning to Hockey Director in 2017. In addition to many seasons spent coaching in KOHA, he also served as a coach of Team Michigan at the USA Hockey Select Festivals and General Manager/Assistant Coach for Team West Michigan for the Meijer State Games of Michigan. Also, in 2010, Kakabeeke was honored as Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League’s ‘Coach of the Year’ as Head Coach of the Kalamazoo United High School Hockey Club.
Kakabeeke is a USA Hockey Level 5 certified coach. He will conclude a 21-year career in law enforcement and assume the position of Executive Director for KOHA in August 2021.
In 2020, USA Hockey changed the clinic requirements, the age-specfic modules, and added a renewal requirement for coaches at all levels (some coaches are "grandfathered" to remain at their level). Those requirements were adopted a year in advance, and they take effect in Fall, 2021. See the Coaching Requirements of this web site for specifics.
Welcome to the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA) web site, and thank you for your interest in the Coaching Education Program, one of USA Hockey's educational offerings.
Coaches - you are the reason our program exists. You have taken on a demanding job. We want to be a resource for you, to help you do the best job you are able to do. After all, parents and players have a right to expect that you are doing your best for every player on the team. Let us help you move them to the next level, whatever that may be. In the process, you may discover that coaching is something you enjoy, and are good at.
We believe that coaches are a prime influence in the lives of young people, and that coaching education is a potent force for the betterment of every participant's hockey experience. Through our programs, you may be able to move to the next level as well!
If you are looking for specific information on coaching in Michigan, please review the links at the top of this page. We also recommend reviewing the Coaches tab of the USA Hockey web site.
In closing, let's consider what the U.S. Olympic Committee has to say about Coaching: "To coach effectively, it is not enough to have played or watched the sport, or to have merely read about how to coach. Quality coaching requires essential professional, interpersonal, and intrapersonal knowledge used in coaching practice to meet the needs of athletes in that setting. Informed daily decisions and behaviors that serve the best interest of the athletes, the team, and the program are the ultimate demonstration of quality coaching."*
*from USOC Quality Coaching Framework, 2019
USA Hockey has determined that last year's virtual clinic format was one that should be continued for fall, 2021. In addition, as the Covid-19 pandemic wanes and local authorities permit, in-person clinics can again be offered by the Coaching Education Program.
The instructional staff is undergoing training in new curriculum during the summer of 2021. Some virtual (online) clinics are being offered by other districts, and Michigan coaches can attend these during the summer if they desire.
We expect that Michigan Virtual and In-Person clinics will start in late August, and will continue into December. Coaches can enroll using the Coaches section of the USA Hockey web site. The deadline for obtaining required credentials is still December 31, 2021.
Did you know that USA Hockey has produced practice plan suggestions for 8U, 10U, 12U, and for the Covid-19 Pandemic? You can find them at
The Level 5 (National Hockey Coaching Symposium) was postponed due to the Coronavirus in 2020. The rescheduled dates are August 19-22, 2021, in Duluth, MN. Enrollment is now open for the event.
The unexpected can happen any time. What do you think would have happened to this coach had he not been wearing his helmet?