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Team Pacific Defeats Ontario For 5th Place At World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Conner Bleackley (High River, AB/Red Deer, WHL) scored the game-winning goal with 1:31 to go as Pacific took fifth place at the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with a back-and-forth 7-6 win over Ontario on Thursday afternoon.

It’s the second consecutive year Pacific has finished fifth and third time in the last four World Under-17 Hockey Challenges.

The teams traded six goals in the first period, with Pacific cancelling out a trio of one-goal leads for Ontario, before Pacific took three leads of its own, only to see Ontario come back and tie the game on Watson’s goal early in the third period, setting up Bleackley’s winner.

Tanner MacMaster (Calgary, AB/Camrose, AJHL) scored twice to lead the offence for Pacific, while Ryan Graham (Calgary, AB/Saskatoon, WHL), Ryan Gropp (Kamloops, BC/Penticton, BCHL), Brycen Martin (Calgary, AB/Swift Current, WHL) and Jake Virtanen (Abbotsford, BC/Calgary, WHL) added singles.

Martin and Virtanen had a goal and an assist each, while captain Joe Hicketts (Kamloops, BC/Victoria, WHL) had three helpers.

It’s the first time Pacific has beaten Ontario since a 9-1 victory in the semifinals at the 2005 tournament in Lethbridge, AB, a span of six games.

Team Pacific finished the round robin with a 3-1 record defeating Team Russia (8-7) in a shootout, then lost to Sweden (6-3). Pacific then beat Finland (5-4) in a shootout and Team West (4-3) in overtime.

The 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge brings together the top players in the world born in 1996 or later. The tournament is made up of 10 teams; five (5) from Canada - Quebec, Ontario, Pacific (Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Yukon), Atlantic (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) and West (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut), and five (5) International teams -  Germany, Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic and the United States.

Team Pacific is comprised of 11 players from BC and 11 players from Alberta.  Hockey Alberta and BC Hockey each identified 34 U17 male athletes (4 G, 12 D, 18 F) from their respective provincial evaluation camps to participate in the joint regional camp in July, 2012.  From the regional camp, these players were evaluated during the first part of their club’s team season by the Team Pacific evaluators.

At the 2012 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Windsor, Ontario, Team Pacific finished in fifth place after defeating Quebec five (5) to four (4) in overtime.

Team Pacific has included some of the top hockey players that Canada has ever produced.  Some notable graduates who have competed on Team Pacific include:

- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 2010

- Evander Kane, 2008

- Brent Seabrook, 2002

- Dion Phaneuf, 2002

- Mike Green, 2002

- Jarome Iginla, 1994

- Joe Sakic, 1986

The Under-17 program is the first stop in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence.  Many players who compete at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge go on to represent Canada with the National Men’s Under-18 Team, National Junior Team and National Men’s Team.

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Hockey Alberta Announces Team Alberta’s Head Coach For 2013 National Women’s U18 Championship

Hockey Alberta announced the Head Coach for Team Alberta’s female squad for the 2013 National Women’s Under-18 Championship on Thursday.

The Head Coach of Team Alberta Female Under-18 that will be going to Nationals will be Mikko Makela of Lethbridge, Alberta. Makela previously served as Head Coach at the 2011 Team Alberta Challenge championship winning team, the Calgary Wild.

Makela is currently the Head Coach of the Warner Warriors of the Junior Women’s Hockey League (JWHL).

“We’re excited to have Mikko leading our provincial team for the coming year,” says Manager of Hockey Development for Hockey Alberta, Michael Kraichy. “He has a track record of developing players and brings a wealth of knowledge in short-term competitions, both as a coach and a former Olympian.”

The Team Alberta U18 Program is the final stage of identification and evaluation for Team Alberta and one of the first stages of identification for Hockey Canada’s national Programs.

The National Women’s Under-18 Championship is an event that brings together the top U18 female players from across Canada. Team participating include a combination of provincial and regional teams: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, two from Ontario (Red and Blue), Quebec and Team Atlantic (New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador). The event will take place in November, 2013 and the location has yet to be announced.

ATB Financial is the title sponsor of all Team Alberta programs, including the ATB Alberta Cup and the ATB Alberta Challenge. The Team Alberta Male Program is a two year progression for elite athletes that begins at the ATB Alberta Cup, a U15 age level event, and progresses to the U17 age level. The Team Alberta Female Program is a four year progression for elite athletes that begins at the ATB Alberta Challenge, a U16 age level event, and progresses to the U18 age level. Team Alberta programs feed into Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence.

News

Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team Wins Gold Medal at 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship

Three Alberta girls helped Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team successfully defended its gold medal at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, edging the United States 2-1 in overtime Saturday night at Heinola Arena. The game winning goal was scored by Alberta’s Karly Heffernan (St. Alberta, AB).

The United States scored at 18:04 in the first and managed to hold off Canada until late in the third, but a beautiful high shot from Catherine Dubois (Quebec City, QC.) in the last 13 seconds sent the game into overtime. It took just 58 seconds into the extra frame for Heffernan to score the exciting game-winning goal for a storybook ending for Canada at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship. Kimberly Newell (Burnaby, BC) made 39 saves for the win.

Earlier this week, Canada defeated Sweden 7-2 on Friday, Jan. 4 in semifinals to advance to the gold medal game. In the preliminary round, Canada beat Hungary 4-1 on Saturday, Dec. 29, blanked Finland 4-0 on Sunday, Dec. 30 and blanked Germany 7-0 on Tuesday, Jan. 1, coming in first place in Group A. The United States took first place in Group B with three straight wins.

Canada and the United States have met in all six gold medal games at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship. Canada also won the world championship last year, shutting out the United States 3-0 in Zlin, Czech Republic, and in 2010, defeating its cross-border rival 5-4 in overtime in Chicago, Ill. The U.S. took gold in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Canada’s Halli Krzyzaniak (Neepawa, MB) was named best defenceman of the tournament, as selected by the IIHF directorate, while Sweden’s Minatsu Murase was named best goaltender and Katherine Schipper of the United States was named best forward. The top three Canadian players, as selected by the IIHF directorate, are forwards Hanna Bunton (Belleville, ON) and Dubois, along with Krzyzaniak.

Captain Kristyn Capizzano (Oakville, ON), alternate captains Emily Clark (Saskatoon, SK) and Krzyzaniak, along with Ashleigh Brykaliuk (Brandon, MB) and Dubois, all return this year after winning the 2012 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship in Zlin. Jessica Dodds (London, ON), Kristin Gilmour (Millgrove, ON) and Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, ON) made their Team Canada debuts at this world championship.

Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team includes two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 13 forwards. Seventeen players were members of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team for a three-game series against the U.S. Women’s Under-18 Team in August in Blaine, Minn., winning two of those games.

Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team, broken down by province:

Alberta - three (Taryn Baumgardt*, Eden Murray*, Karly Heffernan*)

British Columbia - three (Kimberly Newell*, Hannah Miller*, Alexa Ranahan*)

Manitoba - three (Ashleigh Brykaliuk*, Halli Krzyzaniak*, Cassidy Carels*)

Ontario - eight (Hanna Bunton*, Kristyn Capizzano*, Jessica Dodds, Kristin Gilmour, Corie Jacobson, Sydney McKibbon*, Alex Moore, Sarah Nurse)

Prince Edward Island - one (Sarah Steele*)

Quebec - three (Geneviève Bannon*, Catherine Daoust*, Catherine Dubois*)

Saskatchewan - one (Emily Clark*)

*played for Canada in a three-game series against the United States in August.