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Centre Ice - The Hockey Alberta Podcast

Centre Ice is Hockey Alberta’s podcast, featuring the latest news and views on amateur hockey across the province, with new episodes every third Thursday. Subscribe now on your favourite podcast app!

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Host Troy Durrell in Episode 32 of ’Centre Ice: The Hockey Alberta Podcast’ as he sits down with special guests James Poole, head coach of the EDGE U18 prep team, and Chris Leeming, head coach of the McEwen University Griffins women’s hockey team. Dive into the world of elite hockey as they share insights from coaching Team Alberta’s U16 and U18 teams, discussing tournament challenges, practice strategies, and the overall pride in representing Alberta on the national stage. Don’t miss this exclusive roundtable episode with the coaches shaping the future of Alberta’s hockey landscape.

Episode Links: Team Alberta Head Coaches James Poole & Chris Leeming >


Host, Kara Spady, sits down with Hockey Alberta’s Chief Executive Officer, Rob Litwinski, as they dive into the thrilling anticipation of the 2023-2024 season. Tune in to catch up on the highlights from the previous season and get a sneak peek at the upcoming improvements and innovative initiatives set to make this season unforgettable. Don’t miss out on the latest hockey buzz as the puck drop for the 2023/24 season approaches!

Episode Links: 2023-24 Season Puck Drop > | HA 2025 >


Episode THIRTY:

Join host, Kara Spady, in a special episode of The Hockey Alberta Centre Ice Podcast as she chats with Kendra Jessie, diving into the world of hockey and exploring her unique journey and perspectives within the sport. Tune in to celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day and gain insights into Kendra’s life and rich experiences on and off the ice. Don’t miss this captivating discussion on the 30th episode!

Episode Links: Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day >


Episode Twenty-NINE:

In this episode, Kara sits down with Chris Cederstrand to discuss his incredible journey in hockey and beyond. From his time on the CBC reality TV show Canada’s Ultimate Challenge, to playing in the Western Hockey League and becoming a firefighter, Chris has faced many challenges and triumphs throughout his life. However, a life-altering accident led to him becoming an above the knee amputee, and ultimately, to a career in para hockey. Join Kara and Chris as they explore the importance of resilience, determination, and passion in the face of adversity. This is an episode you won’t want to miss on Hockey Alberta Centre Ice.

Episode Links: Overcoming Adversity with Chris Cederstrand >


Episode Twenty-EIGHT:

In this episode, Kara sits down with children’s book author Jeff McClean to discuss his new book titled "Who’s Hockey". This heartwarming story of acceptance is part of a partnership between Hockey Alberta and the NHL, and is the first of eight books that deal with the NHL’s Eight Declarations of Principles. Join Kara and Jeff as they delve into the importance of acceptance in hockey and beyond, and the impact that these books can have on young readers. Don’t miss this inspiring conversation on Hockey Alberta Centre Ice.

Episode Links: Who’s Hockey >


Episode Twenty-SEVEN:

In episode 27 of the Centre Ice Podcast, we talk to Saroya Tinker, defence for the Toronto Six of the Premier Hockey Federation and Executive Director of Black Girl Hockey Club Canada. To recognize Black History Month and celebrate National Women and Girls in Sport Day, Tinker discusses what it’s like playing in the PHF, her experiences as a Black women in hockey, her role with Black Girl Hockey Club Canada and the inclusive space the club is creating for Black women across North America.

Episode Links: Black Girl Hockey Club >


Episode Twenty-SIX:

For this month’s Centre Ice Podcast, we sat down with Calgary Northstars General Manager Jesse Hale to discuss how their association gives back to the community throughout the season, and especially during the holidays.

Episode Links: Hockey Gives Back >

Episode Twenty-Five:

Episode Twenty-five of the Centre Ice Podcast talks all about Maltreatment, and more specifically Rule 11.4 Discrimination. Hockey Alberta’s Manager of Minor Hockey, Bryden Burrell, and Manager of Officiating, Brett Kelly speak about the creation and implementation of the rule in the 2021-22 season, and what is happening moving forward.

Episode Links: Maltreatment, Bullying, and Harassment > | Independent Third-Party Complaint Process > | Coach and Officials Clinics > | Coaches Newsletter >

Episode Twenty-FOUR:

Episode Twenty-four of the Centre Ice Podcast welcomes a familiar guest in Hockey Alberta CEO, Rob Litwinski. Rob joins new host Kevin Strybosch to speak about the new hockey season and what Hockey Alberta has in store for the year.

Episode Links: Maltreatment, Bullying, and Harassment > | Alberta Elite Hockey League > | Alberta Female Hockey League > | Coach and Officials Clinics > | Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee >


With the Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships, presented by ATB, officially underway across the province, Episode 22 of the Centre Ice Podcast features ATB’s VP, Community Initiatives, John Windwick, who also sits on the Hockey Alberta Foundation’s Board of Directors as past chair.

The episode also features the podcast’s first 17-person interview, as the entire Lloydminster U13 Female 3 Blazers, who are Alberta’s finalist in this year’s Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup, join the show to chat about their initiative to make the rinks in Lloydminster more accessible for everyone.

Episode Links: Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships > | Progressive 50/50 Draw > | Spring Showcase Volunteer Application > | Graduating... What’s Next - Online Seminar > | Future Coaches Program (Online) > | Future Coaches Program (Calgary) > | Vote for the Lloydminster U13 Female Blazers to win the Chevy Good Deeds Cup >


Episode Twenty-One of Centre Ice features a trio of Olympic athletes hailing from Alberta - both past and present - as we celebrate the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Fresh off her gold medal with Canada’s National Women’s Team, former Team Alberta netminder Emerance Maschmeyer shares her first-ever Olympic experience with us. Then, we’ll hear from Zach Lavin, a forward for Canada’s Para Hockey Team, the day before he travelled to Beijing to take part in his first Paralympic Games. To wrap things up, three-time Olympian Meaghan Mikkelson, who moved from the ice to the studio, joining CBC’s broadcast team for the 2022 Olympics, talks about her established career, her first experience in broadcasting, and the importance of visibility for female hockey.

Episode Links: Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships > | 2021-22 Hockey Alberta Awards > | Sprung Arenas, Stantec and CANA team up to present the Hockey Alberta Summit > | 2022 AHHF Awards Gala > | Para Officiating Webinar > | Coach of the Month - Cody Huseby > | Shaw Birdies for Kids Program >

Episode TWENTY

With Black History Month being celebrated all of February, Episode Twenty of the Centre Ice Podcast features three Albertans who have all experienced success in the game of hockey, but also adversity in the form of racial inequality, and are each working to make the game more inclusive for everyone - Toronto Maple Leafs Coaching Development Associate T.J. Millar, St. Albert U16 AAA Flyers forward Turner McIntyre, and Chairperson of Hockey Alberta’s Diversity Inclusion Committee Anton Joseph.

Episode Links: WHL Draft Pick Turner McIntyre Hopes to Break Barriers > | Coach of the Month >


The first episode of 2022 features Hockey Alberta’s CEO, Rob Litwinski, looking back on the year that was, what lies ahead in 2022, and sharing the organization’s long-term vision with HA2025. Plus, hear a bonus interview with Albertan official Lacey Senuk, who recently received the call to officiate at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Episode Links: Hockey Alberta Annual Report > | HA 2025 > Coach of the Month > | Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, Hockey Alberta Contribute $600,000 to Grassroots Programs > | A Dream Come True >

Episode eighTEEN

In the hockey world, the holiday season brings about one of Canada’s favourite traditions; the World Junior Championship... and there’s more excitement than ever in Alberta as Edmonton and Red Deer get set to host. Episode Eighteen of Centre Ice is all about the World Juniors, with a trio of special guests; 2022 Team Canada forward and Team Alberta alumnus Ridly Greig,Executive Director of the 2022 World Junior Championship Riley Wiwchar, and Winnipeg Jets defenceman, Team Alberta alumnus and 2015 World Junior gold-medalist Josh Morrissey.

Episode Links: 2022 World Junior Championship > | 2022 HA Provincial Championship Host Communities > | 2021 WHL Draft Recap >

Episode sevenTEEN

Episode Seventeen of the Centre Ice Podcast focuses on two very important occurrences in November; Remembrance Day, and Hockey Fights Cancer, the latter of which is a month-long initiative by the National Hockey League.

Former University of Alberta Panda and Edmonton Chimo, Angie Ahn, and her partner, Canadian Armed Forces Commanding Officer, Major Leona Ahn, discuss the balance between being a military family and a hockey family, while the NHL’s Vice President of Community Development and Growth, Jeff Scott, shares the history of Hockey Fights Cancer, and the numerous way it helps those who are battling the disease.

Episode Links: Honouring the Human Behind the Uniform > | Hockey FIghts Cancer > | Spring Events Return in 2022 >

Episode SixTEEN

The next episode of the Centre Ice Podcast comes a little bit early, as it focuses on the Western Regional Women’s U18 Championship, which runs in Portage la Prairie, MB, Nov 2-6.

Hockey Alberta’s Manager of Female Hockey, Kendall Newell, who is also the Director of Operations for Team Alberta U18 Female, joins us to talk about the tournament, and how it came about in the wake of the National Women’s U18 Championship’s cancellation.

Two-time Team Albertan Danielle Serdachny, who captained Team Alberta to a gold medal at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, also joins the show to talk about her Team Alberta experience, as well as the opportunity to suit up for Team Canada, and her post-secondary experience so far.

Episode Links: Western Regional Women’s U18 Championship > | Team Alberta U18 Female Roster > | Calgary Buffaloes Trainers Called to Action > | Ten Communities Selected to Host World Junior Trophy Tour >

Episode FifTEEN

Episode Fifteen of the Centre Ice Podcast is focused around the 2021 WHL Cup, which runs Oct 20-24 in Red Deer, with Team Alberta U16 Male set to battle BC, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

The Western Hockey League’s Senior Manager, Hockey Operations Greg Thomson joins us to discuss what the WHL Cup is all about, and Winnipeg Ice forward and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Connor McClennon shares his experience at the event with Team Alberta back in 2017.

Episode Links: 2021 WHL Cup > | Team Alberta U16 Male Roster > | 2021 Western Regional Women’s U18 Championship Announcement > | Team Alberta U18 Female Roster Announcement > | EOCF Commits $1.5 million to Hockey Alberta Foundation > | 2021 Hockey Alberta Life Members Announcement >


The Centre Ice Podcast is back for the 2021-22 hockey season, and Episode Fourteen is all about celebrating National Coaches Week (Sept 18-26).

Hockey Alberta’s Senior Manager of Hockey Development, Justin Fesyk, discusses Hockey Alberta’s Coach Development Plan, and the numerous learning opportunities available to coaches at any level across the province.

We’ll then hear a coaching panel with Hockey Alberta’s High Performance Coach Mentor Barry Medori, Mount Royal Cougars Men’s Hockey Assistant Coach and current Team Alberta U16 Assistant Coach Alex Mandolidis, and two-time Olympic gold medalist and 2019 Canada Winter Games gold medal-winning Team Alberta U18 Head Coach Carla MacLeod.

Episode Links: Hockey Alberta Coaching Resources > | Coaching Requirements > | Coach Initiatives > | Coach Clinics > | World Girls Ice Hockey Weekend > | Team Alberta Program >


June is not only Pride Month, but also National Indigenous History Month, and Hockey Alberta has been celebrating both throughout the month.

Episode Thirteen of the Centre Ice Podcast features Glenn Witman, the Co-Founder of the You Can Play Project, and 2003 Canada Winter Games gold medalist and 2007 Memorial Cup Champion Wacey Rabbit, a proud member of the Kainai Nation.

Episode Links: You Can Play Project >

Episode TWELVE:

Episode Twelve of the Centre Ice Podcast features a pair of players who coincidentally both played in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan, one for Team Canada, and one for Japan.

With the Professional Women’s Hockey Player’s Association’s Secret Dream Gap Tour making a stop in Calgary, and being covered on Sportsnet, we chat with two-time Olympic gold medalist Cassie Campbell-Pascal, who is part of the broadcast team for the event.

And, with May being Asian Heritage Month, we also sit down with former Medicine Hat Tiger standout Steven Tsujiura to talk about his roots, his time playing hockey in Alberta, and where the game has taken him.

Episode Links: PWHPA Secret Dream Gap Tour > | Ashley Shrode, Allyson Bendfeld win BFL Female Coach of the Year Awards > | George McCorry wins Hockey Canada Officiating Award > | Volunteer with Hockey Alberta > | Asian Heritage Month: Steven Tsujiura >

Episode Eleven:

Episode Eleven of the Centre Ice Podcast focuses on one of the most under-appreciated positions in the game: the official, featuring interviews with two of Alberta’s biggest success stories in Level Five Official Lacey Senuk, and NHL Referee Kyle Rehman..

Episode Links: Coach of the Month: Brad McCoy > | Coach of the Month:Tracey Desmarais > | Coach of the Month: Derek McEwan > | Coach of the Month:Lee Zalasky > | Volunteer Appreciation Week > | Breakfast with Beckett >

Episode TEN:

Episode Ten of the Centre Ice Podcast features a pair of Albertan broadcasting legends in longtime Hockey Night in Canada Host Ron MacLean, and Medicine Hat Tigers play-by-play announcer Bob Ridley.

Episode Links: Hockey’s Path Forward > Two Albertans invited to National Women’s Team selection camp > | Five Albertans Named to National Men’s Under-18 Team > | 2021 AHHF Gala Postponed > | 2021 Future Coaches Program >

Episode NINE:

Episode Nine of the Centre Ice Podcast features a pair of Alberta’s coaching success stories, with former National Women’s Team Coach and four-time Olympic gold medalist Mel Davidson, and Colorado Avalanche Assistant Coach Ray Bennett, who’s been coaching in the NHL for over 20 years.

Both coaches share their stories of rising through the ranks from small-town Alberta to coaching at the highest level, and their words of advice and wisdom for coaches across the province.

Episode Links: Hockey’s Path Forward > | Team Alberta Events Postponed > | Alberta’s Lacey Senuk to Officiate at 2021 Women’s World Championship >

Episode eight:

Episode Eight of the Centre Ice Podcast takes a closer look at the inequality and discrimination faced by many in the game, but also focuses on the steps being taken to make hockey a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

This episode features Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba and his father, long-time Hockey Alberta Official Charle Dumba speaking about the discrimination their family has faced, and the work being done to eradicate racism in hockey, including Matt’s involvement in the Hockey Diversity Alliance. Sanjeev Bhagrath, a Sikh Official from Edmonton, shares his own experiences of racism and inequality, and Pittsburgh Penguins President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke speaks on the You Can Play initiative, and the work being done to eradicate homophobia from hockey.

Episode Links: Hockey’s Path Forward > | Hockey Diversity Alliance > | Hockey Alberta Officials > | Coach of the Month Nominations > | Host the First Shift in Your Community > | The Coaches Site Global Skills Showcase > | Foundation Accepted into Birdies for Kids Program > | You Can Play Project >

Episode Seven:

Episode Seven of the Centre Ice Podcast is centred around Black History Month, and celebrating the Albertans who pushed through adversity to achieve success, featuring interviews with Team Alberta alumna Cassandra Vilgrain, and legendary goaltender Grant Fuhr.

Episode Links: Hockey’s Path Forward > | The Story of John Utendale > | Female Hockey Day Sessions > | AEHL Rinkside >

Episode SIX:

Episode Six of the Center Ice Podcast focuses on the importance of keeping hockey - and sport in general - accessible to everyone.

Canadian Long Drive Champion Lisa ’Longball’ Vlooswyk, the newest member of the Hockey Alberta Foundation Board of Directors, joins us to discuss the Foundation’s Every Kid Every Community program and why she chose to join the board, while Executive Director of Heros Hockey, Kevin Hodgson, shares the incredible programming Heros Hockey offers for vulnerable youth across the country.

Episode Links: Every Kid Every Community > | Female Hockey Day > | Hockey for Life Story Submissions > | Maschmeyer, Mikkelson to attend BFL National Women’s Team Training Camp > | Six Albertans to Attend Canada’s National Para Hockey Team Training Camp > | Heros Hockey >

Episode Five:

Episode Five of the Center Ice Podcast focuses on how athletes (and everyone) can stay fit and healthy at home while sports remain on pause.

Doug Crashley of Crash Conditioning in Calgary and Dr. Dhiren Naidu, Team Physician for the Edmonton Oilers joined the show to discuss proper fitness and nutrition, respectively.

Episode Links: Hockey at Home > | Hockey Gives Back > | World Juniors 50/50 > | HAF pairs up with Major League Socks > | Perfect Pair[ing] Contest > | Parent Engagement Videos >

Episode Four:

Episode Four of the Center Ice podcast focuses on how teams who are affected by the Government of Alberta’s Public Health Order can navigate the pause on hockey.

Hockey Alberta CEO Rob Litwinski joins the podcast once again, and discusses the current state of hockey in Alberta, while High Performance Coach Mentor Barry Medori shares what coaches can do to keep their teams engaged.

Episode Links: Return to Hockey Plan > | Public Health Order FAQ > | Vira, Zinger elected to Hockey Alberta Board > | Terry Engen joins Hockey Canada Board of Directors > | Every Kid Every Community awards $34,000 in grants > | HAF pairs up with Major League Socks > | Perfect Pair[ing] Contest > | Coach of the Month - Randy Rosen > | Three Albertan Officials selected for 2021 WJC > | Hockey for Life: Kyle Kowalski > | Hockey Canada U16 Portal > | Barry Medori: How to Keep Your Players Engaged >

Episode Three:

Episode Three of the Centre Ice Podcast explores the meaning of ’Hockey for Life’, with a focus grassroots hockey in Alberta, the Alberta Elite Hockey League and Alberta Female Hockey League, and the opportunities and experiences hockey can offer.

Hockey Alberta’s Coordinator of Female Hockey, Taryn Baumgardt and Coordinator of Male Hockey, Dustin Moore discuss their experiences growing up playing hockey in Alberta, and how it led to them working in the sport. We also re-visit an interview with Kodie Curran, who signed his first NHL deal with the Anaheim Ducks back in June.

Episode Links: League Alumni Spotlight: Taryn Baumgardt > | League Alumni Spotlight: Dustin Moore > | Return to Hockey Participation Flow Chart Update > | | Coach Clinics > | AEHL Schedule > | AFHL Schedule > | Hockey Canada Champion: Chantel Timmons > | An unrelenting love of the game key in Curran’s journey to the NHL >

Episode TWO:

Episode Two of the Centre Ice Podcast looks back on the Albertans selected in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, featuring interviews with first-round draft picks Jake Neighbours, Ozzy Wiesblatt and Kaiden Guhle.

Episode Links: 17 Albertans Selected at 2020 NHL Draft > | Alberta’s Guhle gearing up for 2020 NHL Draft > | Return To Hockey Plan Oct 2 Update > | Coach Clinics > | AEHL Schedule > | AFHL Schedule > | WHL announces opening date for 2020-21 Regular Season > | Centre Ice Episode One >


Episode ONe:

The inaugural episode of Centre Ice features Hockey Alberta CEO Rob Litwinski, and the impact of COVID-19 on hockey in Alberta. Rob discusses the postponement/cancellation of hockey on March 12, what’s transpired since then, and takes a deeper dive into the Return to Hockey Plan, and what it means for the future of hockey.

Episode Links: Return To Hockey Plan > | Hockey is Back > | New for 2020 > | Coach Clinics > | Barry Medori Tribute >