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Head Coach of the Calgary Bantam Elite Fire Red, Kelsey Leifson (bottom right) celebrates a Wickfest championship with her team.

Coach of the Month - December

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta’s Coach of the Month for December is Kelsey Leifson, head coach of the Calgary Bantam Elite Fire Red. Kelsey had an overwhelming amount of support for this award.

Kelsey comes from a small town in Saskatchewan and recalls her favorite memories coming from the rink after school. Playing hockey from the age of six all the way until her last year of University, Kelsey’s passion for the game has since shifted into the coaching side of the sport. When Kelsey moved to Calgary, she started working with the MRU Cougars hockey team from 2014-2016, and this year took over the head coaching role for the AFHL’s Calgary Bantam Elite Fire Red team.

Kelsey’s coaching philosophy comes from her experience with hockey. “The life experiences and friendships I have gained through the game are impossible to replace and I believe in providing the players I coach with the same opportunities," she said. "I want my players to understand the importance of respect, accountability, and individuality as ultimately it is each individuals strength who bring success to the team together.”

Many of Kelsey’s players and parents from the team had wonderful things to say about their coach.

“I think my coach deserves this award because she stepped up for our team when we were in need. She’s not only there to make us better hockey players, but also better people,” said a player of Kelsey’s.

“Kelsey is an excellent role model for Female hockey players because she gets what it mean to be a female hockey player and she takes interest in every individual player," said another player of Kelsey’s. "Coach Kelsey encourages us to be confident in ourselves so we can work together on the ice.”

“She (Kelsey) has brought a positive infectious attitude to the team that the players are feeding off of every day. She has shown a passion for developing the total athlete both on and off the ice and has created an environment where every athlete is free to be the best they can be,” said a team parent.

“I truly admire her (Kelsey) and hope to grow to be like her one day she is, confident, strong, athletic, beautiful, and so smart. I’ve very glad that my coach has recreated an environment that I am proud to be a part of, and I’m so happy to have her as a coach,” said a third player, who also nominated Kelsey for the award.

For more details on Hockey Alberta’s Coach of the Month, click here.


Photo credit: Cathy Wolters

Midget Elite South, Bantam Elite North win inaugural AFHL All-Star Games

RED DEER/STRATHMORE - The inaugural Alberta Female Hockey League All-Star celebrations were a huge success, with the Midget Elite South and Bantam Elite North teams coming out on top in their respective games.

In the Midget Elite All-Star game, which was hosted in Red Deer, the South team used a three-goal second period to defeat the North team 5-1, with five different players (Shaelynne Bilodeau, Paige Koochin, Rebecca Toney, Brooklyn Palmer and Hannah Chase) lighting the lamp for the South. Payden Bialowas scored the lone marker for the North.

Gabriella Durante, Jenna Patrician and Jayda Thompson each spent a period in goal for the South, while Natasha Borrett, Rebecca Bridge and Sara McNamara shared duties for the North.

AFHL Midget Elite All-Star Rosters >

In Strathmore for the Bantam Elite All-Star Game, the North edged the South in an exciting 1-0 contest. Justine Brady scored the lone goal of the game for the North, with Holly Borett, Elle Boyko and Molly Mitchell all combining for the shutout win. Jessica Flegel and Jocelynn Pearce split time in goal for the South.

AFHL Bantam Elite All-Star Rosters >

Click below for photos from the AFHL All-Star Games:

Photo Gallery >

The Alberta Female Hockey League would like to thank all the parents, players and coaches for making the AFHL All-Star games such a success. The AFHL would also like to thank all of the event sponsors: ATB Financial Strathmore, Canadian Tire, Longball Inc, Stantec, and Looker Office Furniture.

Home Ice Feature

Photo credit: LA Media

Alberta in NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm Rankings

RED DEER - NHL Central Scouting has released its midterm rankings for the 2017 NHL draft, with 24 Albertans on the list.

Cale Makar (Brooks Bandits, AJHL) is the highest-ranked Albertan, coming it at number 10. Jaret-Anderson Dolan (Spokane Chiefs, WHL) and Ian Mitchell (Spruce Grove Saints, AJHL) also cracked the top 50, sitting at number 40 and 45, respectively.

A total of 19 Albertans made NHL Central Scouting’s list of top-ranked North American skaters, while three netminders are among the top 31 North American goaltenders, with Ian Scott (Prince Albert Raiders, WHL) leading the way as the second highest-ranked goaltender.

The full list of Albertans appearing in the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings can be found below:

North American Skaters

Midterm Rank Player Position Last Amateur Club League
10 Cale Makar Defenceman Brooks Bandits AJHL
40 Jaret Anderson-Dolan Center Spokane Chiefs WHL
45 Ian Mitchell Defenceman Spruce Grove Saints AJHL
58 Kyle Olson Right Wing Tri-City Americans WHL
63 Mason Shaw Center Medicine Hat Tigers WHL
70 Lane Zablocki Right Wing Red Deer Rebels WHL
87 Ryan Peckford Left Wing Victoria Royals WHL
110 Dylan Plouffe Defenceman Vancouver Giants WHL
120 Brayden Gorda Defenceman Edmonton Oil Kings WHL
129 Kale Howarth Left Wing Trail Smoke Eaters BCHL
130 Brett Leason Center Tri-City Americans WHL
134 Matthew Wedman Center Seattle Thunderbirds WHL
138 Tyler Steenbergen Center Swift Current Broncos WHL
141 Ethan Mcindoe Left Wing Spokane Chiefs WHL
152 Zackary Hayes Defenceman Prince Albert Raiders WHL
163 Josh Patterson Center Saskatoon Blades WHL
175 Brayden Burke Left Wing Moose Jaw Warriors WHL
177 Ryan Hughes Center Portland Winterhawks WHL
212 Brinson Pasichnuk Defenceman Arizona State ACHA
213 Jarrod Gourley Defenceman Spruce Grove Saints AJHL

North American Goalies

Midterm Rank Player Position Last Amateur Club League
2 Ian Scott Goalie Prince Albert Raiders WHL
9 Stuart Skinner Goalie Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL
24 Matthew Murray Goalie Fargo USHL
31 Dawson Weatherill Goalie Spokane Chiefs WHL

Hockey Alberta is proud to unveil a new section at Home Ice Feature stories will focus on interesting stories about the individuals and groups who make a difference within the hockey community in Alberta. If you have a suggestion for a Home Ice Feature story, email [email protected].