Ryan Walter played and coached more than 1100 games over 17 seasons in the National Hockey League. Drafted second overall by the Washington Capitals in 1978, Ryan was named the youngest NHL captain in his second of 4 seasons, played 9 seasons and won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadiens, and returned to his home town to play his last 2 seasons for the Vancouver Canucks. He was named Team Canada Captain in the World Junior Tournament, was selected to play in the NHL All-Star game and for Team Canada in 4 World Championships, became a Vice-President of the National Hockey League Players Association, and was honoured as NHL Man of the Year in 1992. Ryan has been inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame, the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame, named to the 30 all-time Washington Capitals’ Dream team, the top 50 all-time BCHL players and the top 100 Montreal Canadiens in 100 years.
Ryan has a Master of Arts Degree in Leadership/Business. He is the author of 5 books, the creator of the board game Trade Deadline Hockey, and a regular contributor to both online and print magazines and newspapers. Ryan serves on the Hockey Canada Foundation’s Board of Directors and is a member of the Seton Hall Stillman School of Business Leadership Advisory Council.
Currently the President of the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Heat, Ryan won a Gold Medal at his inaugural 4 Nations Cup tournament as Head Coach of Canada's National Women's Hockey Team. He has been an NHL coach, co-founder and president of two start-up companies, a TV hockey analyst, and a hockey adviser and actor for both television and movies. Ryan's enthusiasm from the page, the screen, the bench, the boardroom, and the podium is contagious as he fulfills his mission to "Inspire the hungry spirit!"
Troy G Ward
After joining the Heat as an Assistant Coach in 2010-11, Troy Ward returns for a third season in Abbotsford serving as the Head Coach. Ward hails from St. Paul, Minnesota and began his coaching career after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and captaining their hockey team to an NAIA National Championship. Ward holds an Education Degree and a Masters in Administration, and first stepped behind the bench at his Alma Mater from 1987-90, before moving to the University of Denver (WCHA) as an assistant for three seasons. His next stop was a two-year stint with the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) as the Head Coach / GM where he amassed a winning percentage of .594. After two seasons with the Indianapolis Ice (IHL) as an assistant, and three seasons in the same position with the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL), Ward’s next challenge was with the Trenton Titans (ECHL) in 2000-01 where as the Head Coach he guided the club to a Conference Title and was named the ECHL Coach of the Year. Ward returned to his college hockey roots from 2002-05 with the Wisconsin Badgers (WCHA) and was promoted from Assistant to Associate Coach after a season of service. Prior to arriving in Abbotsford, he spent three seasons with the Houston Aeros (2007-10, AHL) as an Assistant Coach – two of which he served as Assistant GM.
Paul Reinhart (born January 6, 1960) played professional hockey for the Atlanta Flames, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks . Paul was a first round selection by the Flames, 12th overall, at the 1979 NHL Entry Draft with whom he immediately broke into the NHL. He relocated with the franchise to Calgary in 1980, playing a total of nine seasons with the Flames franchise until he was traded to Vancouver in 1988. He was a two-time all-star and played with Team Canada on three occasions, winning bronze medals at the World Championships in 1982 and 1983.
Paul is now the President of Vanhart Capital Corporation (Vanhart), a family held investment company, specializing in early stage businesses in the resource and life sciences industries. Paul and/or Vanhart have been actively investing in Canadian based companies for over 30 years, providing early stage financing and services. Initially focused on the exploration industry, Vanhart expanded into the life sciences industry with its early role in financing companies in the early 1990’s. The companies in Vanhart’s life sciences portfolio have ranged from hyperbaric medicine (OxyMed Systems Inc), medical devices (Angiotech Pharmaceuticals and IMRIS) to food related technology (Enwave). In addition to providing capital, Paul has been a founding shareholder and director of many such ventures over the years and includes resource companies such as Stikine Resources, Kokanee Explorations and Far West Mining (now Capstone Mining).
Presently, Paul and/or Vanhart provides capital markets services to a select group of companies, including strategic advice and planning, mergers and acquisitions, and special situations/projects. Vanhart is recognized as an active, patient and loyal long term shareholders focusing on the company and industry in which it is involved.
Rob Kirsch, Director of Operations at lululemon athletica
Rob Kirsch, 43, was named Director of Operations at lululemon athletica in 2007 and was a part of the company’s public offering later that year. Now in his sixth year with the company, Rob’s current responsibilities include leading the Store Development Operations Team and overseeing the strategic direction of the company’s Showrooms, Factory Outlets, Store of the Future and Hemming. During his time with lululemon, Rob has also been responsible for the Guest Education Center and the growth of the Strategic Sales Channel, With over 20 years of business experience and expertise in general management, operations, and sales, Rob has a proven track record as a natural operational leader with flexibility to grow and/or redirect organizations and continues to be a part of the dynamic leadership team at lululemon.
A native of Mount Clemens, MI., Rob played his junior hockey with the QMJHL’s Hull Olympiques (1987) and had his career cut short due to a car accident. He later earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business at Western Michigan University in 1991 and began his professional career in advertising with Lintas: Campbell Ewald on a team that delivered the award winning “Like a Rock” campaign for Chevrolet. Missing hockey, Rob returned to the ice as an Assistant Coach with the North Bay Centennials in 1994 leading the team to the CHL’s Number #1 ranking, capturing the Regular Season, Playoff Titles and also earning a berth in the Memorial Cup. Rob continued his coaching career with the Indianapolis Ice and Milwaukee Admirals of the International Hockey League (IHL) and the University of Massachusetts (NCAA Div 1). It was after a brief career as a financial advisor in Boston that Rob began his retail apparel career. For the next 8 years, he led the growth and expansion of one of the country’s top specialty running companies, Marathon Sports.
Peter Hay: Director and Coach, MEI Hockey Academy
Raised in Abbotsford Minor Hockey, Peter Hay went on to play many years of hockey at the Junior A and NCAA Div 1 College levels before advancing to the AHL and ECHL Pro leagues. Peter learned a great deal playing at the higher levels and wants to help young players with their goals of reaching their potential. Peter has brought his playing experience into coaching as he worked closely as an Assistant Coach with the WHL's Chilliwack Bruins and was the head instructor of the CMS Hockey Academy. Peter continues to run his own hockey training program out of Abbotsford called PHD while also directing the Abbotsford Junior Heat spring hockey program. Peter is very excited to continue his coaching in the MEI Hockey Academy.
Heather Johnson, CHRP
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Heather brings over 20 years of progressive human resources and business leadership experience to her role as Senior Vice President of Human Resources where she oversees learning and development, talent management, recruitment, employee relations, compensation and benefits and payroll. Prior to joining Prospera, she held positions with Westfair Foods, Brewers Distributor and Maple Leaf Foods. Heather holds a Bachelor of Administration from the University of Regina and has earned her Certified Human Resources Practitioner (CHRP) designation. She is an active volunteer and former Chair of the Fraser Valley Advisory Council for the BC Human Resources Management Association and a member of the United Way of the Fraser Valley’s Fundraising Cabinet.
C. Esther de Wolde, CGA, Chief Executive Officer, Phantom Screens
Esther is a Certified General Accountant and accomplished team leader with a solid background in finance and administration. She joined Phantom Screens at its inception in 1992 and has successfully grown the organization into the leading manufacturer and marketer of retractable screens in North America.
In addition to providing leadership to the entire organization, Esther retains a focus on accounting, finance and administrative functions of the company. Esther’s diverse background, together with many years of financial management experience, gives her the skills to effectively manage this rapidly growing corporation.
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