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New for 2020-21

Hockey Alberta is committed to ensuring that its Members are aware and informed of changes within our sport for the upcoming season.

A number of changes have been announced for the 2020-21 season that impact various areas of the sport in Alberta. The changes are outlined in the tabs below, and include links to applicable Info Bulletins that provide full details on the changes.

Obviously, this is a tumultuous time for our province and nation, along with the sport of hockey. A number of announcements have been made with regard to the impact of COVID-19 on hockey within the Province of Alberta. Those can be found on our Return to Hockey page.

In December 2019, Hockey Canada approved a national regulation change to revise the naming of the age divisions used in minor hockey across Canada. Please note that these changes only apply to Minor Hockey. Junior hockey (WHL, AJHL, Junior B and C leagues) and Senior hockey are not impacted. The changes outlined by Hockey Canada are in effect in Alberta effective for the 2020-21 season. Ages are as of December 31 of the current year.


Current Division Name

Age Division Name for 2020-21

Initiation Under-7 (U7)
Novice Under-9 (U9)
Atom Under-11 (U11)
Peewee Under-13 (U13)
Bantam Under-15 (U15)
Minor Midget Under-16 (U16)
Midget Under-18 (U18)

Specific to minor hockey in Alberta, please note the following:

1. In the Intro to Hockey model, if Major and Minor Novice divisions are used by a Minor Hockey Association, the division names would become U8 for Minor Novice and U9 for Major Novice.
2. Levels of play in each Age Division, including category and tiering systems, are not impacted by these changes. 

Each Minor Hockey Association is responsible for updating its materials that include the old age division names. These materials include: 

  • Websites (menu tabs, and content pages)
  • Forms
  • Social Media channels
  • Videos
  • Sponsorship
  • League names
  • Email addresses (for eg, [email protected])
  • Trophies
  • Bylaws and Policies
  • Clinic materials, powerpoint presentations etc.


  1. Recommendation is to make the full switch to the new age division names. If you choose to do a mix (for example, U11/ Atom), you will be required to remove all references to the old names after the 2020-21 season, therefore resulting in twice the work.
  2. You are not required to change any historical information on items such as old banners, trophies, reports or web pages not openly visible.
  3. Everything needs to be completed for September 1.

Hockey Alberta’s Minor Leagues Committee, represented by Alberta’s six tiered Minor Hockey Leagues (CAHL, NAI, NEAHL, All Peace, Edmonton Federation and Hockey Calgary) have unanimously supported the implementation of non-checking (body contact only) hockey at the Tiers 4-6 categories of the U15 division for the 2020-21 season. This decision to implement non-checking (body contact only) hockey at the Tier 4-6 categories of the U15 division comes after a thorough review of the survey feedback received from Hockey Alberta’s membership with regards to the proposal to implement non-checking hockey.

For full details, please review the following documents:




Questions? Contact Hockey Alberta’s Bryden Burrell. 

The U11 Player Pathway is supported by the Hockey Canada Long-Term Player Development Model. This framework provides the guiding principles for age appropriate and skill specific programming for all players in Hockey Canada’s youth hockey system.

The U11 Player Pathway must be followed for the 2020-21 season.


The U11 Player Pathway provides an environment that helps all players at the U11 age level (9 and 10 years old) to realize their full potential. Hockey Canada strongly believes that the needs of the player should be at the forefront of the programming. The U11 Player Pathway delivers numerous benefits to participants and their families. The benefits include:

  • creating a positive experience during evaluations with planned pre-evaluation ice sessions;
  • avoiding evaluations the first week of school; and
  • allowing all U11 players to play actively for 100% of the season.

FAIR AND EQUAL ICE TIME is a key principle of the U11 Player Pathway. Fair and equal ice time is designed to ensure that all players get the same opportunity to contribute to the outcome of games, regardless of skill or ability.

  • A coach’s responsibility is to develop all players to contribute.
  • Shortening of the bench is not permitted.
  • All players should receive as close to equal ice time as possible, including opportunities on special teams (power play and penalty killing).
  • All skaters should rotate through all positions to ensure each player can try each position. (LW/C/RW/LD/RD)
  • Full-time goaltenders are allowed. If a team has two goalies, they should rotate for equal playing time and the goalie not playing should be allowed to play out as a skater.

Provincial Championships

As part of the implementation of the U11 Pathway, Hockey Alberta has decided to remove Provincials from all streams (Minor and Minor Female) at the U11 division effective for 2020-21 season. This change will allow for less disruption to the end of the season’s league play, will provide more time for teams to celebrate the season with year-end tournaments, and will remove the unnecessary pressures of a ‘Provincial Championship’ from nine and 10-year old players.

Questions? Contact one of the following staff members at Hockey Alberta:

Provincial Championships: Michelle Skilnick U11 Pathway: Justin Fesyk


The South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL) and Hockey Calgary, in partnership with Hockey Alberta’s AA Hockey Committee, have agreed to operate a U16 AA division during the 2020-21 season, in order to review and determine the place for this category of hockey going forward.

This Pilot Project stems from the continued conversation in Alberta about providing additional options for 15-year-old players entering the U18 division, so that they can continue their development with like-sized and like-skilled players. Currently, the U16 AAA category of hockey is the only opportunity for 15-year-old players across the entire province to participate exclusively together. Additionally,the Rural & Edmonton Hockey League (REMHL) provides this option for players in select areas north of Red Deer.

The AA Hockey Committee has identified 11 host Minor Hockey Associations, who will each operate one team within the U16 AA division. Of those 11, seven currently host AA programs in the SCAHL, while four operate AA programs within Hockey Calgary. Additionally, those seven Host MHAs from the SCAHL, have had Recruitment Areas assigned to them, which will allow them to draw 15-year-old players from their designated Recruitment Area to form their team.


Questions? Contact Hockey Alberta’s Bryden Burrell.

The position of the Referee-in-Chief (RIC) for a Minor Hockey Association is critical to the ongoing development and success of your community’s officials and of your Minor Hockey Association. The RIC provides a vital perspective about the contribution and concerns that officials and MHAs have during a hockey season.

The RIC is a rewarding position and plays an integral role in the mentoring and spearheading of initiatives within your community.


The purpose of these guidelines is to provide individuals insight into some of the roles and responsibilities of being a local RIC within a Minor Hockey Association. This position is often part of your Minor Hockey Association Board.