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Zone 6 Male and Zone 5 Female celebrates their 2016 Alberta Winter Games wins.


Zone 6 Male and Zone 5 Female Land Gold At Alberta Winter Games

After three days of intense competition, Zone 6 Male (Edmonton) and Zone 5 Female (Yellowhead/Blackgold) proved to be the best in province at the 2016 Alberta Winter Games.

After going a perfect 3-0 in round-robin play in Pool B, Zone 6 Male cruised to a 10-4 win over Zone 2 (Big Country) Tuesday morning to claim the gold medal and finish the tournament undefeated.

On the female side, Zone 5 battled back from a 1-1-1 record in Pool B to take it all with a narrow 3-1 win over Zone 3 (Calgary)

Earlier in the day, Zone 3 (Calgary) edged Zone 4 (Parkland) by a score of 4-3 in an overtime thriller to land a bronze medal on the Male side, while Female bronze went to Zone 6 (Edmonton) after a 2-1 win over Zone 4 (Parkland).

Male Results › Female Results ›

About the Games

The Alberta Winter Games take place every two years. The 2015 Alberta Winter Games ran from February 13-16 in Medicine Hat. Young athletes from eight zones participated in 22 sporting competitions in both locations. The Alberta Winter Games give athletes aged 11 to 17 the opportunity to participate in a multi-sport environment, much like the Olympics. For many of the selected athletes, this will be their first taste of provincial level competition.

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Photo Credit: LA Media


2016 Alberta Cup Coaching Staffs Announced

With less than two months to go until the 2016 Alberta Cup, Hockey Alberta has announced the coaching staffs for all eight teams.

2016 Alberta Cup Coaching Staffs ›

The 2016 Alberta Cup is set to run April 28 - May 1 in Canmore, and will mark the 30th Anniversary of the very first Alberta Cup.

Zone selection camps will March 25-27 at various locations across the province.

Click here for more information on the 2016 Alberta Cup.

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Check It Out: Provincial Championships Websites Are Now Live

Individual tournament websites for the 2016 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships, presented by ATB Financial, are now live.

Each of the 40 championship events being held in 2016 has its own website link, which can be accessed through the homepage at hockeyalberta.ca, or haprovincials.ca. Each tournament site has a live ticker for its scores and schedule. As well, a live ticker will be available on hockeyalberta.ca that will feature tournaments being played each weekend. For champions who are determined through league playoffs, the event site links to the league website for updates.

Individual championship sites will be updated regularly throughout the course of the event. Game scores, schedules, individual points leaders, and pool standings will be available from the menu bar on each site.

The 2016 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships websites are fully responsive, and can be viewed easily on smartphones, tablets and computers.

Provincial Championship tournaments open March 4-6 with Senior Female in Grande Prairie. Tournaments will also be held March 10-13, March 17-20, and March 23-27, with the final 2016 Provincial Championship tournament March 31 to April 3 (Junior B in Red Deer).

The new websites for the 2016 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships, presented by ATB Financial, are a key part of the website redesign project for Hockey Alberta, in partnership with Pixel Army. The new hockeyalberta.ca went live at the end of January.

Visit haprovincials.ca ›

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Shirley Cameron To Be Inducted Into Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Female Hockey Builder Shirley Cameron has been named among the 2016 inductees into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

The Edmonton native was at the forefront of women’s ice hockey in Canada for 30 years. As a player, and more importantly as a coach and builder, Cameron had a significant impact on the growth of women’s hockey from the early 1970s, until her retirement from the game in 2006. She was one of the founders of the Edmonton Chimos, one of the most successful women’s ice hockey teams in Canadian sporting history.

Cameron’s accomplishments as a player include winning National Championships with the Chimos in 1984, 1985 and 1992, and serving as Captain of the gold-medal winning team in the first International Women’s Hockey World Championship in 1990.

As a coach, Cameron won a Bronze Medal with Team Alberta at the 1999 Canada Winter Games, and earned several medals at the National Championships with the Edmonton Chimos. She won the Female Hockey Breakout Award in 2006, and was inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame as a member of the Edmonton Chimos in 2005.

Cameron and the other 2016 inductees will be officially inducted on June 3. Click here to view all 2016 Alberta Sport Hall of Fame Inductees.

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Photo Credit: LA Media


Team Alberta Announces Head Coaches for 2016 U16 and U18 Programs

Hockey Alberta is proud to announce the appointment of Bram Stephen and Carla MacLeod as the Head Coaches of Team Alberta for the 2016 U16 Male and U18 Female programs.

Stephen moves into the head coach position after serving as an assistant coach for the gold medal-winning U16 squad in 2015. He’s served as the Head Coach of the Grant MacEwan Men’s hockey team since 2012, and was named the ACAC men’s hockey Head Coach of the Year for the 2012-13 season. Stephen has been active in both the Team Alberta and Team Pacific programs since 2008.

MacLeod also comes into the head coach position with the U18 program after serving as an assistant coach in 2015. She’s currently the head coach of the Female Prep team at the Edge School for Athletes in Calgary, and also served as an assistant coach for Team Japan at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. A former member of Team Alberta, MacLeod’s decorated playing history includes a pair of Olympic gold medals with Team Canada in 2006 and 2010.

"We’re very happy to have both Bram and Carla back with Team Alberta in 2016," said Mike Kraichy, manager of Team Alberta. "Both have shown a lot of growth in a short-term competition coaching role, and it’s exciting to see two former assistant coaches move into head coaching positions."

The U16 Male Program is the third stage of the development and identification process to select a roster for Team Alberta to compete at either the U16 Western Challenge or the Canada Winter Games. The Games are held every four years, with the next event set for 2019 in Red Deer. Players in the U16 Male program will be challenging for the opportunity to compete on one of the three teams that represent Canada each year at the World U17 Hockey Challenge.

The High Performance U18 program works towards identifying the top 20 female players in Alberta, who will comprise Team Alberta U18 representing the province at the National Women’s Under 18 Championship or the Canada Winter Games. Making this team is the pinnacle of female amateur hockey in Alberta, and a major lifetime highlight for the players.

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Western Branches Announce Alternate Season Program Offering

RED DEER - BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association and Hockey Manitoba have announced the implementation of standardized alternate season programming for Western Canada.

The four Provincial Branch organizations of Hockey Canada have adopted programming and policy for alternate season hockey in their respective areas, standardizing the registration of alternate season or spring hockey teams across Western Canada. Alternate season hockey activities are those that occur from April 1-July 15.

Participation in structured hockey, other than the traditional winter season that runs from September to March, continues to grow. For the most part, hockey which takes place outside of this traditional season has taken place outside of the minor hockey association system and therefore lies outside the realm of the governing bodies in each province.

This new alternate season programming model addresses questions and concerns from participants as to why the non-traditional season programming does not operate under the governance of Hockey Canada and its member Branches.

“BC Hockey implemented a Spring Hockey Program in 2011 and we are happy to have our Western Canadian neighbours implement the program,” said BC Hockey Chief Executive Officer Barry Petrachenko. “Our hope is to engage spring hockey teams and tournaments across Western Canada in working together to offer greater hockey options to minor hockey players.”

The Western alternate season model will differ from traditional season hockey. Local Minor Hockey Associations will be able to operate an alternate season, or there will be the opportunity for other groups to register directly with a Branch for the alternate season only. Other features of the alternate season will include:

  • Registration through Branch and Insurance through Hockey Canada.
  • No boundaries or registration regulations pertaining to where players may play, including open boundaries between provinces.
  • Tournament registration with flexible rosters for each tournament
  • Guidelines for the tryout procedures, with strict violation standards which could impact mainstream eligibility if not adhered to for coaches and players.

“The large majority of hockey players that play in the traditional winter season move onto new activities and sports in the spring and early summer which we totally support and encourage,” said Hockey Alberta Executive Director Rob Litwinski. “For those players, families and minor hockey associations that do wish to continue to play hockey into spring we believe this option will allow them to do this under our governing bodies.”

Hockey Canada and its branches support the Long Term Player Development (LTPD) model which encourages athletes to participate in other sports. However, for participants looking for alternate hockey activities, the goal is to make this experience as valuable, safe and fair as possible through programming support from the governing bodies. This alternate season model is a window for those who wish to continue hockey but ideally not in pure games competitive model. Developing skills remains the intended focus for any organization offering alternate season programming.

“We look forward to extending services to SHA registered players, coaches, officials and families who choose to extend their hockey season into the Spring/Summer Hockey months,” said Saskatchewan Hockey Association General Manager Kelly McClintock. “The goal will be to work together to provide a safe and healthy learning environment for all kids whether it be the traditional Fall/Winter season or the Spring/Summer option.”

Alternate season team activities may not interfere with any tradition season team functions of any participant. As well, minimum suspension guidelines for each Branch and Hockey Canada will apply, with alternate season suspensions carried over between the traditional and alternate seasons.

“Hockey Manitoba recognizes that the majority of our members choose to exclusively participate in the game during the traditional winter season, and these tremendous programs are made possible through the dedication of literally thousands of volunteers across the province", stated Peter Woods Executive Director of Hockey Manitoba. Woods added, "Although we are committed to a long-term athlete development model which encourages participation in a variety of athletic pursuits, we are pleased to join our Western Branch partners and provide an alternate season program for interested families with a focus on the development of skills in a safe, structured environment."

Teams that register for the program will provide participants with access to insurance and certification programs for players, coaches and officials. A standard registration fee of $10 per participant and $50 per team will apply across the provinces. Although preparations are underway for the upcoming spring season, registration and sanctioning is still available to teams and tournaments that are already formed for 2016.

BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, Saskatchewan Hockey Association and Hockey Manitoba are each member Branches of Hockey Canada.

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Coach of the Month - January

Hockey Alberta’s Coach of the Month for January 2016 is Sheldon Dorash of Strathcona.

Dorash is the Head Coach of the Strathcona Atom Stars female hockey team, and has been with the female program in Strathcona since its inception in 2012.

"I truly enjoy coaching female hockey. The girls are focused and hard working. It amazes me each season to see how much each player is capable of improving when provided with the right opportunities. I am a firm believer that hockey teaches our youth so much more than just skills on the ice. The life lessons for the players, parents and coaches are invaluable."

"Coach Sheldon always has the best interest of the girls on his team," said one parent in Dorash’s nomination. "He makes practices fun and the girls are always learning. His interaction with the girls both on and off the ice is always positive and encouraging."


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

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Implementation Process Underway For New Female Hockey Model

RED DEER – The implementation process is underway to restructure the operational model for Female Hockey at all levels in Alberta.

When complete, Hockey Alberta’s new Female Hockey Model will provide a standardized, province-wide pyramid system of hockey and the opportunity for female players to develop and progress from a strong foundation of Grassroots programming through to the Elite and Midget AAA levels and into Team Alberta’s high performance programs.

The first step in the implementation process for the new Female Hockey Model is announcing six communities selected by Hockey Alberta to host Midget AAA franchises. The communities are Calgary, Edmonton, Lloydminster, Okotoks, Red Deer and St. Albert.

The six communities selected to host Midget AAA franchises were chosen based on a comprehensive process that included a review of regional demographics for female hockey, and an application, interview, and in-person presentation process coordinated by an Elite Female implementation committee. There will be no defined boundaries for Midget AAA teams, with players able to choose the team for which they wish to try out.

In addition to hosting AAA franchises, the six centres will host Midget Elite and Bantam Elite teams. The Midget and Bantam Elite divisions each will have 12 teams. These teams will be located strategically in communities across northern, central and southern Alberta to ensure players have access to an Elite division program within a reasonable distance from their homes. Elite division teams will have defined geographical regions that determine the team for which a player is eligible to try out. Hockey Alberta is in the process of confirming host locations for the remaining six Midget and Bantam elite teams based on current female hockey programming, geography, and registration demographics.

Establishing the structure and numbers of teams for the Midget AAA, and Midget and Bantam Elite divisions was an integral part of the work that has been undertaken over the past three years by the Female Hockey Review Committee. Providing the best environment for athlete development was the overarching goal of the committee, which included members representing a cross-section of levels, leagues and communities.

“Ultimately, the final decision in establishing the locations of the Midget AAA and Elite division teams was based on three pillars,” said Greg Nesom, a member of the Female Hockey Review Committee. “First, it was imperative to establish a model where teams are set up for success, where the athletes play with their peers in skill and age. Second, by playing within an appropriate level division, our athletes will have better opportunities to advance to higher levels of competition. They will develop enhanced fundamental skills through more puck touches, quality ice time, and system play.”

“The new model provides each female player in Alberta with the chance to start playing in her home community, then progress to a regionally-based Elite team at Bantam or Midget, and potentially move to the top of the pyramid at Midget AAA,” Nesom said.

The Review committee determined that approximately 10 per cent of all female hockey players in Alberta should be playing at the Midget AAA level. For the Midget and Bantam Elite levels, which are designed as a bridge between the Grassroots and AAA Midget programs, it was determined that approximately 20 per cent of players, or 12 teams, should be playing at that level.

The remaining approximately 70 per cent of female hockey players would play within a grassroots model of tiered divisions. Grassroots Female hockey would see approximately 60 teams playing at each of the Atom and Peewee level across the province, with approximately 40 Bantam and 35 Midget grassroots teams, in addition to the AAA and Elite teams in divisions.

“With the new model, female hockey players across Alberta will be able to develop their skills by playing in consistent leagues that will better prepare them as they strive to advance to the highest level of competition in the province,” said Mel Davidson, Hockey Canada’s general manager of national women’s team programs. “Players will now have the opportunity to excel from the grassroots level in their local communities through to the Elite and Midget AAA levels where they will be able to develop by competing and practicing in an appropriate division against the top female talent in the province.”

Specific recommendations regarding the new structure for Grassroots Female hockey are being finalized by Hockey Alberta’s Grassroots Implementation Committee. The focus for the Grassroots committee is to provide the opportunity for female players to access teams within close proximity to their home town, while also ensuring that peers are playing with peers in age and ability.

Work has been ongoing for three years on developing a new Female Hockey Model. A third-party report in 2013 stated that participants within the game felt very strongly that an overall structural change was required to facilitate the growth of the female game. In 2015, recommendations from a Female Review Committee were approved by Hockey Alberta’s Board of Directors leading to the creation of the Elite and Grassroots committees, with a goal of having a new structure for Female Hockey in place for the 2016-17 season.

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Team Canada West celebrates its 2015 World Junior A Challenge Title. Photo: Matthew Murnaghan / Hockey Canada Images


World Junior A Challenge Coming To Bonnyville

For the second time in tournament history, the World Junior A Challenge is coming to Alberta, as Hockey Canada announced Bonnyville as the host of the 2016 edition.

The 2016 World Junior A Challenge is a partnership between Hockey Canada, the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL), the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), the National Hockey League (NHL), and Hockey Alberta, as well as the local host committee and community volunteers. As in past years, the event will feature two Canadian teams – Team Canada East and Team Canada West – and four international entries.

“Alberta last hosted the World Junior A Challenge in 2008 in Camrose, and Hockey Canada, the CJHL, and the NHL are looking forward to working with the AJHL and Hockey Alberta to bring the event back to the province,” said Dean McIntosh, senior director of events and properties for Hockey Canada. “In addition to the sports and entertainment value, the World Junior A Challenge’s economic impact to its host community and province has historically been over $2 million. And the proceeds from the event go back into supporting hockey locally, and across the country.”

The World Junior A Challenge host committee in Bonnyville is in place, and has recently welcomed B&R Eckel’s Transport as its presenting sponsor.

"We are ecstatic to be hosting the World Junior A Challenge," said Gene Sobolewski, Mayor of Bonnyville. "We are a community that is very proud of our commitment to Junior A hockey and celebrate our decades of hockey history. Our region is ready to host the world."

“Our group is excited about the opportunity to bring an elite level of hockey to the area, and about the economic spinoff of the event,” said Robb Hunter, co-chair of the local host committee. “Bonnyville has a strong history of supporting junior and senior hockey, and that passion and support will make for a tremendous host community for the event. We’ve had early support from community leaders in the Town and Municipal District of Bonnyville, and we’re now looking for volunteers to join us in making this an event that shows the world what great hosts and hockey fans are in Bonnyville.”

Team Canada West won gold at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge in Cobourg and Whitby, Ont., defeating Russia in the final in front of a capacity crowd. Since the first World Junior A Challenge in 2006, more than 230 NHL draft picks have played in the tournament.

“We’ve seen the World Junior A Challenge grow in its fan following, and the incredible talent that takes part. This is a must-see event in sport entertainment, and we know that fans won’t be disappointed,” said Kirk Lamb, president of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. “We look forward to working with our partners and the host committee and volunteers in Bonnyville to make this event a success for participating teams, and the fans who come out to cheer them on.”

Eight of the 10 gold-medal games at the World Junior A Challenge have featured at least one Canadian team. Team Canada West won gold at the first two tournaments, in 2006 and 2007, and also took the top prize in 2011 and 2015. The team earned silver in 2008, 2009, and 2012, and won bronze in 2013. Team Canada East earned silver medals in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011, and claimed bronze in 2008.

For more information on the 2016 World Junior A Challenge, please visit HockeyCanada.ca/WJAC, or follow along via social media on Facebook and Twitter.