Derek Popke is the founder and president of Vancouver Hockey School ltd. As a skating consultant, Popke has worked on-ice with the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs, ECHL Victoria Salmon Kings (Vancouver Canucks affiliate), BCHL Surrey Eagles and Penticton Vees, CSSHL St. Georges Saints, MML Greater Vancouver Canadians, and numerous Minor Hockey Associations.
Popke spent 10 seasons with Seafair Minor Hockey (2007-2018) as Director of Player Development. In 2018, Popke joined the Vancouver Thunderbirds Minor Hockey Association as a Hockey Advisor.
As one of the lower mainland's most respected skating coaches, Popke's list of clients include Stanley Cup Champions Brent Seabrook, Troy Brouwer (Chicago Blackhawks), Willie Mitchell (L.A. Kings), and Milan Lucic (Boston Bruins).
“I’ve known Derek Popke for years and he’s done a good job with all levels of players from young guys all the way to professionals”. “And he relates well to minor hockey players and mature players”. "Working with Derek Popke (who's forte is skating) definitely gives you a leg up as an elite player".
Dave Nonis, Senior Advisor, Anaheim Ducks.
In 2009, a record 19 players who skate with Popke were selected in the Western Hockey League's Bantam Draft. In addition, over 50 of Popke's skating clients have been selected in the NHL Entry Draft in the past 7 years.
In 2012, Derek was named co-host of Minor Hockey Talk on AM-650 Dan Russell's SportsTalk, Canada's longest running sports radio talk show. Minor Hockey Talk can now be heard around the province of British Columbia. Over 40,000 weekly listeners join Popke for his outspoken and educated opinion on the complex world of player development.
Derek founded the BC Kodiaks program in 2014 focusing on the long term athlete development model. The Kodiaks model provides flexible scheduling encouraging kids to participate in other high level sports. As a Kodiaks team member, players are taught detailed instruction, game tactics, and the value of compete as they progress through the curriculum.
Most recently, Derek was a key note speaker on hockey skating at The Coaches Site Coaching Conference featuring top coaches from around the world.
You can follow Derek Popke on instagram and twitter @derek_popke