Johnny Mahovlich

Johnny Mahovlich is a former BC Hockey League defenceman who brings outstanding skills, great coaching credentials - and a personality that makes him a hit with the kids -to his role as VMHA hockey director.
Don't miss Johnny's skills clinics once they're announced for the fall. And if you have any questions about hockey development at VMHA, please contact him at this email address:



Message from Johnny Mahovlich

Hello hockey parents,

I’m really excited entering this upcoming hockey year as the skills/hockey director with VMHA.

It’s very rewarding seeing kids developing on and off the ice.  It’s been said it takes 10,000 hours of a certain activity to become a pro in any field. While this may be true to some, I believe that those hours can be greatly reduced by having great up-tempo practices that push kids out of there comfort zone. At times too much repetition can lead to complacency and stagnate the progression of the athlete. That’s why we need to keep it challenging and fun for all levels.

This year we will be focusing on keeping kids at all levels EXCITED about going to practices on and off the ice. While coaches are a huge factor in maintaining this, the parents are the most important part having their kids working hard, staying positive during hard times, and to be excited being a  part of this great sport.

I would love to see for every hour they spend at hockey practice during the week they add three more hours at home focusing on hockey related things. This could be as simple as stick handling with mini sticks or your hockey stick while watching some great hockey games or highlights. Another great off ice activity is going for runs with mom and dad…..  Challenging your child to a sit up’s…… or just doing weightless squats.

Just remember keep it light and fun with progression of repetitions’ a priority.

I’m really excited about our teams this upcoming year. I have seen some great gains in many players that worked hard last season and off season. We also have some great new coaches this year that I have worked with in the past.

I will be at all the locations throughout the season, keeping an eye out on things and doing guest coaching at all levels. Feel free to say hi, and don’t be intimidated to ask any question or concern you may have. I enjoy chatting with you the parents.

Yours in Hockey,

Johnny Mahovlich

Please also take the time to read the director's policy:

Q & A with Hockey Director Johnny Mahovlich

Hockey director Johnny Mahovlich talks about his hockey philosophy in a question-and-answer session with parent and former coach Rob Klovance.  
Rob Klovance: A lot of people at Vancouver Minor wonder: What ended the hockey career of a guy who skates so well?
Johnny Mahovlich: I was with the Corpus Christi Ice Rays for three months when I was 19, but then I got my ninth concussion. I was out for a couple of months, had to spend all my time in a dark room and that sort of thing. It was really depressing. I had to call it quits after that.
RK: The good news is that you turned to coaching. How long did that take?
JM: I'd been coaching since I was 16. Starting in my first year of junior, I'd come back in the summer and I'd coach - I've technically been coaching for 10 years now - and I turned to it full time after that ninth concussion.
RK: What drew you to coaching and skills instruction?
JM: A few coaches I had inspired me. I've had negative coaches and a lot of positive ones. There were a couple who just stood out. I liked what they did, how they made me feel, and how they had the ability to make me play a lot better.
RK: What is your coaching style?
JM: I like to teach discipline and hard work, but I like to do it in a fun setting. It should be fun to work hard. It's fun to be exhausted after practice, because you know you're getting better.
RK: How are the kids at Van Minor responding to that sort of hard work?
JM: At my skating camps, the kids are still keen to come back even though sometimes they're so exhausted they can hardly walk. But I also want to teach them manners. At some associations, I see kids talking back to adults. I want Vancouver Minor to be the most respected association, where no one is embarrassing the association."
RK: How are we different from some of the private clubs?
JM: Winter clubs are more "Win! Win! Win!". I want to bring family to our club, like each player feels important. I don't want it where the third line's not playing. My philosophy as a coach is that you're only as strong as your weakest player. When you make your weakest player stronger, your whole team is automatically elevated."
RK: How do you know that's the right approach?
JM: Parents seem to really like me, because I roll the lines. If you do that, all the kids are happy, they're developing and want to come to the rink."
RK: What's your focus with H1 to H4, and with house league players?
JM: "We had a slow start to getting our clinics going this year, but now we're getting great turnouts for house league kids, and their skating is looking excellent. I just did a clinic for atom and peewee house kids, and almost every kid remembered the things I taught them the last year. So while last year was focussed on skating technique, I felt after that clinic that we're now ready to move on to skating with the puck at full speed. I feel the progression, the three-year plan I had with the association, is on track now.
RK: What's your message to the kids, and in part to the parents, on skill development?
JM: What you put into it is what you're going to get out of it. if you go 100%, in three or four weeks you're going to see a huge difference. But if you do 80%, it's going to take you eight weeks. That's why I'm tough on the kids, forcing them to work, forcing them to keep moving.
RK: The clinics the kids at Van Minor are getting for free at the House level, or for a modest fee at the rep level, are equivalent to some very costly training elsewhere. Do you think parents understand this?
JM: A lot of parents feel they have to leave Vancouver Minor to get proper training. I don't want that. I was born and raised in Vancouver, on Grant and First, and I moved to Burnaby Winter Club because I thought there wasn't proper training in Vancouver. So when a Vancouver kid does make it in hockey, Van Minor never gets credit. But we produce a lot of great players, and Milan Lucic is one of them. There's no reason for a Vancouver kid to have to leave. We do have the training, and our costs aren't high - it's fair. We'll train the kids with discipline and help them realize that hard work is fun.