RED DEER - With 2018 now in the rear-view mirror, Hockey Alberta looks back on the year that was with some of our favourite moments (in no particular order).
Alberta Hockey Day / Female Hockey Day
Photo credit: Dave Brunner
A pair of popular participation events served as book-ends for 2018 to highlight hockey development in the province: Alberta Hockey Day and Female Hockey Day.
Alberta Hockey Day was celebrated on January 20 in six different communities across Alberta: Brooks, High Level, Paradise Valley, Red Deer, Strathmore and Westlock. Alberta Hockey Day had a special focus on age-appropriate programming at the Initiation and Novice levels.
The inaugural Female Hockey Day ran December 15 at the new Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in Red Deer, with on and off-ice activities in all areas of the game, including coaching, officiating, and parenting. The day was capped off the the very first Canadian Women’s Hockey League game in Red Deer, as the Calgary Inferno took on the Toronto Furies in a regular season game, which saw more than 600 fans an attendance.
Photo credit: LA Media
The 2018 Alberta Winter Games in Fort McMurray saw a clean sweep in hockey as Zone 2 won gold in both the Male and Female categories. Full Story >
Team Central skated away from Spruce Grove as the 2018 Alberta Cup champions with a 2-0 win over Edmonton Yellow. Full Story >
Team Alberta North earned a pair of podium finishes at the 2019 Arctic Winter Games in Fort Smith and Hay River, NWT. The Bantam Male squad narrowly missed out on gold, with the host Northwest Territories scoring the decisive goal with less than 10 seconds to go in regulation. Meanwhile, the Junior Female team defeated the Yukon in a shootout to claim bronze. Full Story >
The March to a Title
Photo credit: Rob Ganzeveld/FX Photo
Back-to-back winners and multiple championships highlighted the 2018 Hockey Alberta Provincials, presented by ATB Financial.
The Wainwright Bisons (Junior B), Lethbridge Hurricanes (Minor Midget AAA), St. Albert Slash (Midget Female AAA), Calgary Fire White (Bantam Female Elite), Irvine Bulldogs (Peewee D), and Drayton Valley Meter All Stars (Atom A) all repeated as Provincial champions.
It was quite the year for Lethbridge Minor Hockey in the Midget category as well. In addition to Minor Midget AAA, the Lethbridge Hurricanes also took home a provincial title in Midget AAA and Midget A.
History at the Esso Cup
Photo credit: Dennis Pajot/Hockey Canada Images
After becoming the first team from Alberta to win the Esso Cup in 2017, the St. Albert Slash of the Alberta Female Hockey League made history again in 2018, becoming the first-ever team to repeat as Esso Cup champions.
After claiming the Midget AAA provincial title for the second straight year, the Slash defeated the Saskatoon Stars 2-1 to win gold once again. Full Story >
The Humboldt Broncos
April 6, 2018 is a date most will never forget. But, in the wake of the unthinkable Humboldt Broncos tragedy, a country came together as one.
In addition to a Canadian record-setting $15 million GoFundMe campaign, an outpouring of support came in from across Canada, and beyond. #HumboldtStrong became an immediate movement on social media, as did #JerseysForHumboldt and #PutYourSticksOut, which encouraged Canadians to leave a hockey stick at their front door to honour to victims of the crash.
On opening night of the 2018 Alberta Cup, Team Northwest and Team Edmonton Yellow paid tribute to those affected by the tragedy, including four Broncos who previously played in the Alberta Cup.
Alberta players, officials take the next step
Photo credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Every year, Alberta sees many of its players and officials take the next step in their career, and earn a number of accolades and recognition. 2018 was no different.
For the fourth straight year, an Albertan was the top selection at the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft as the Edmonton Oil Kings took Dylan Guenther with the first overall pick. A total of 11 Albertans were taken in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft, including fellow Alberta Cup All-Stars Kai Uchacz and Keagan Slaney, who were selected 10th and 20th overall by the Seattle Thunderbirds and Edmonton Oil Kings, respectively. Full Story >
At the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in Dallas, seven players from Alberta heard their names called by NHL teams. Lloydminster’s Ty Smith, a former number one pick in the WHL Bantam Draft, was the highest Albertan selected, going number 17 overall to the New Jersey Devils. Jacob Bernard-Docker also went in the first round, taken 26th overall by the Ottawa Senators. Full Story >
Meanwhile, in October, four of Alberta’s officials, Taylor Burzminski, Cody Huseby, Fraser Lawrence, and Lacy Senuk, were selected to represent the province on the national and international stage this season in Hockey Canada and IIHF events. Full Story >
Centre Ice Summit - Focus on Development
In conjunction with the Centre ICE Summit and the Hlinka/Gretzky Cup, Hockey Alberta offered several events to promote player, coach and officials development in August.
For players, in addition to the two-day Summer ICE Jamboree tournament for novice-aged players, Hockey Edmonton hosted a special session for parents to discuss the benefits of half-ice hockey.
The weekend also featured the Alberta Built Coach Seminar, a rare opportunity for more than 100 Alberta coaches to hear presentations from Todd McLellan and Glen Gulutzan (Edmonton Oilers); Dr. Paul Dennis (University of Toronto); Dr. John Dunn (University of Alberta); Dr. Stephen Norris (iMobius Ingenuity Inc); and Richard Monette (Active for Life).
For officials, the weekend included an on-ice session led by Dave Smith, the NHL Officials Director of Fitness and a classroom session with presentations from Hockey Alberta and the Western Hockey League.
Albertans Get The Call To The Hall
Photo credit: LA Media
Four outstanding individuals, and two Canada Winter Games gold medal-winning teams comprised the 2018 Induction Class for the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame (AHHF) in July.
Grant Fuhr, Wally Kozak, Ron MacLean, Mike Vernon, and 1991 Team Alberta U18 Female and 1999 Team Alberta U16 Male were enshrined in Alberta’s hockey history at the AHHF Awards Gala in Canmore. Full Story >
Lessons From Behind The Glass / Hockey Alberta Awards
Hockey Alberta’s 2018 Annual General Meeting was held November 23-24 in Red Deer. Allyson Tufts, author of the book ’Lessons from Behind the Glass’, delivered the Keynote Address to kick off the weekend. Her address focused on the ways hockey is changing - both the game itself, and the kids who play it. Full Story >
The 2018 AGM also saw a new format for the Hockey Alberta Awards, which included the inaugural recipients named in several new categories including Coach of the Year, Official of the Year, and Team of the Year, . Full Story >
The Road to Red Deer Continues
Photo credit: Rob Wallator
On the male side, the process began with the 2018 Alberta Cup in Spruce Grove, where 80 players were identified and chosen to attend Summer Camp in Camrose in July. From there, a shortlist roster was established, with the final roster announced in December. The Canada Games team got together for three days in December for Christmas Camp, which was highlighted by a pair of exhibition games against the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs and the St. Albert Raiders.
For the Female team, 88 athletes were invited to take part in the Team Alberta U18 Spring Camp in Spruce Grove in May. Forty-six of those athletes attended Summer Camp in Camrose in July, with a shortlist roster of 28 players established for September’s Fall Camp in Edmonton. The final roster was announced in December, with the team converging in Red Deer for Christmas Camp, playing exhibition games against the Red Deer Bantam AAA Rebels and the Leduc AAA Oil Kings.
Hockey Alberta’s New Home
Photo credit: Red Deer College
Hockey Alberta completed the transition to our new home in the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at Red Deer College. The new offices are located on the second floor of the facility, with boardroom windows overlooking the ice surface.
Hockey Alberta was proud to host the first official events on the new ice surface - a Super Skills Camp and Female Development Camp. Hockey Alberta has hosted several coaching and officiating clinics, player development camps, and Female Hockey Day, and will be hosting the 2019 Alberta Cup at the new facility.
Every Kid Every Community - The Gateway to Hockey Opportunities Around the Province
Photo credit: LA Media
To kick off the year, the Piper Creek Optimist Club of Red Deer’s annual Battle of Alberta fundraiser brought in $21,000 for EKEC in January. The Foundation’s annual Golf and Gala events saw another $107,000 come in for the program in July, and the annual Glencross Invitational Charity Roughstock Event raised $190,000 for EKEC, as well as Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta.
Intro to Hockey - For Our Youngest Players
Photo credit: Dave Brunner
As part of the continuing evolution of development for our youngest players, Hockey Alberta unveiled the new Intro to Hockey model for Initiation and Novice divisions.
The Intro to Hockey model operates as part of the Hockey Canada mandate that all Novice-aged players receive age-appropriate programming on half-ice surfaces effective for the 2019-20 season.
The Intro to Hockey model evolved to its final format through on-ice demonstration events, and a variety of meetings and sessions with minor hockey associations. The model includes specific details on Seasonal Structure, Grouping of Players, Practice Environment, and Game Format requirements for Initiation and Novice hockey, starting in 2019-20
Photo credit: Tracy Hope/Hired Gun Photography
A new Alberta One Standardized Tiering Model was developed and has been in operation for the 2018-19 season.
Hockey Calgary, Hockey Edmonton, Central Alberta Hockey League (CAHL), Northern Alberta Interlock, All Peace Hockey League, and North Eastern Alberta Hockey League worked within Hockey Alberta’s Minor Leagues Committee to develop a tiering model that accounts for the size of a minor hockey association, the size of a league, and geographic factors. The model features six tiers within the divisions of Atom, Peewee, Bantam, and Midget.
As well, Hockey Alberta is undertaking a trial Provincial Championship Model. The trial will see the Peewee A-D Provincial Championships transition to Peewee Tiers 1-4. The Peewee Tiers 1-4 Provincial Championship Tournaments will take place March 28-31 with eight teams - six champions from the participating Alberta One leagues/ organizations, one host team and one wild card team.
Photo credit: Dave Watling Photography
Hockey Alberta’s goal is to ensure all parents, coaches, and families are engaged, educated and supported in all areas of hockey. To achieve that goal, Hockey Alberta has developed a Parent Engagement Guide, and added a Parents component to the website.
A key aspect of supporting our athletes is providing resources and support for parents across the province. Parents are encouraged to check the Hockey Alberta website regularly, under the Parents Tab, for links to articles and videos to you support your athlete.