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Photo credit: Two Point Photography


AFHL January wrap-up

RED DEER – The first month of 2017 has come to a close in the Alberta Female Hockey League, with the St. Albert Slash (Midget AAA) still in the lead, while the Sherwood Park Fury (Midget Elite), and St. Albert Raiders (Bantam Elite) have moved to the top of their respective leagues.


Midget AAA

At the end of January, the Midget AAA standings are:

1) St. Albert Slash (57 pts)
2) Rocky Mountain Raiders (42 pts)
3) Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs (28 pts)
4) Lloydminster PWM Steelers (26 pts)
5) Edmonton Pandas (24 pts)
6) Calgary Fire (21 pts)

St Albert’s first year forward Madison Willan continues to lead all skaters in goals (17), assists (18) and points (35), with her teammates Cassidy Maplethorpe and Tyra Meropoulis right behind her in total points with 31 and 28, respectively.

Four goaltenders sit tied atop the league with a save percentage of .940; St. Albert’s Brianna Sank, Calgary’s Katie Crowther, Red Deer’s Chantelle Sandquist and Lloydminster’s Bella McKee. Sank boosts the top goals against average with 1.31 and three shutouts on the season while her counterpart in St Albert, Camryn Drever, leads the way with 11 wins.

Midget AAA Leaderboard >


Midget Elite

Things still remain tight in the hunt for the Midget Elite regular season title as three points separate the top three teams in the South. The Midget Elite standings at the end of January are:

North Division:
1) Sherwood Park Fury (46 pts)
2) Peace Country PCFAC Storm (42 pts)
3) Edmonton Pandas (25 pts)
4) St. Albert Sharks (19 pts)
5) Lloydminster Elite Steelers (10 pts)
6) North Central Impact (7 pts)

South Division:
1) Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs (42 pts)
2) Calgary Fire White (41 pts)
3) Calgary Fire Red (39 pts)
4) Airdrie Lightning (27 pts)
5) Rocky Mountain Raiders (17 pts)
6) Lethbridge Cyclones (9 pts)

Red Deer’s Danica Polson leads all skaters in points (22) and goals (17) as January comes to a close, while Calgary Fire White’s Sydeny Spicer holds the lead in assists with 11.

Red Deer’s Jayda Thompson of Red Deer continues to lead the way for goaltenders with a .75 goals against average, while also boasting a .960 save percentage and seven wins on the season. Sherwood Park’s Sara McNamara also sports a .960 save percentage and sits tied with Thompson for the league lead, while Peace Country’s Paige Jassman continues to lead in wins and shutouts, with 12 and six, respectively

Midget Elite Leaderboard >

The inaugural AFHL All Star Game was hosted in Penhold, Alberta on January 14, 2017. A full recap and list of participants can be seen here.


Bantam Elite

The Bantam Elite standings heading into February are:

North Division:

1) St. Albert Raiders (50 pts)
2) Lloydminster Junior Steelers (43 pts)
3) Sherwood Park Royals (39 pts)
4) Edmonton Pandas (27 pts)
5) North Central Impact (22 pts)
6) Peace Country Bonnett’s Storm (7 pts)

South Division:
1) Calgary Fire White (45 pts)
2) Olds Grizzlys (42 pts)
3) Lethbridge Cyclones (24 pts)
4) Calgary Fire Red (20 pts)
5) Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs (16 pts)
6) Rocky Mountain Raiders (13 pts)

OldsSarah Wozniewicz heads into February the league-leader in goals (23) and points (28). Sherwood Parks’ Vanessa Verbitsky is not far behind with 25 points, and leads the league with 15 assists.

St. Albert’s Holly Borrett and OldsJocelynn Pearce continue to lead the way with 0.960 save percentages and .68 and .89 goals against averages, respectively. Borrett’s counterpart in St. Albert, Elle Boyko, remains the league-leader wins with seven.

Bantam Elite Leaderboard >

The inaugural AFHL All Star Game was hosted in Strathmore, Alberta on January 14, 2017. A full recap and list of participants can be seen here.


Outside of the rink, many of our AFHL Teams participated in the inaugural Alberta Hockey Day. The focus and theme was on the introduction, development and celebration of female hockey. Thank you to our AFHL members Calgary, Lloydminster and Leduc (North Central) for participating and helping spread the message of #WhyWePlay.

News

1984-85 NAIT Ooks, Ryan Smyth selected for Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

RED DEER - The number of hockey teams in both the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame will grow to seven when the 1984-85 NAIT Ooks enter the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame on May 26 in Red Deer.

The NAIT squad is the only team, and one of two from hockey, among the dozen inductees announced this morning in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge by the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. The 2017 inductee list includes Athletes, Builders, Pioneers, Media and Achievement personnel.

The only Alberta-based national hockey champions of the male gender to go unbeaten and untied in the regular season and post season, NAIT joins the 1947-48 Edmonton Flyers, 1950 Edmonton Waterloo Mercurys, 1951 Lethbridge Maple Leafs, 1952 Olympic Champion Edmonton Waterloo Mercurys, 1962-63 Edmonton Oil Kings, and 1965-66 Edmonton Oil Kings as teams enshrined in both of Alberta’s Halls of Fame. The NAIT squad was inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

The 1984-85 Ooks were the first varsity national hockey champions from Western Canada to have a true (or complete) perfect season with 25 wins in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) regular season, five victories in the ACAC playoffs and three triumphs at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association (CCAA) National Hockey Championships in Moose Jaw. With 33 wins in 33 regular season and post season outings, the team (which still holds six conference records) has the most wins of the five men’s national hockey champions from the CCAA, U Sports, and NCAA to have a winning percentage of 1.000. They were also the first team to defeat a university team in its CIAU (now U Sports) national championship season en route to winning a CCAA National Hockey Championship.


Back Row: Bruce Watson (Manager), Brenn Leach, Ken Goodwin, Mike Spencer, Darryl Bokenfohr (Assistant Coach), Ross Kenny, Dave Simmons, Gary Leach, Scott Melnyk, Brian Stein (Communications/Public Relations)
Middle Row: Patti Dahl (Trainer), Perry Pearn (Head Coach), Dr. Bill McBride (TeamDoctor), Rick Yaschyshyn (Trainer), Don Simpson, Ron Amyotte, Hugh McCaskill, Garth Hayes, Sid Cranston, Kevin Stapleton, John Phelan (Assistant Coach), Paul St. Cyr (Assistant Coach), Wayne Perkins (Assistant Coach), Cindy Schultheiss (Trainer)
Front Row: Cleo Rowein, Murray Melnyk, Mark Schultz, Kevin Imrie, Tom Tookey, Jamie Bartman, Gary Haddon, Mike Tookey, Randy Repchuk, Jeff Lastiwka

Also a member of the 2017 induction class is former Edmonton Oiler star Ryan Smyth, who played in 1,270 games and amassed 842 points during his 19-year NHL career. He played for the Edmonton Oilers for 15 years and represented Canada internationally 12 times, playing in 78 games.

Smyth earned the nickname “Captain Canada” as he was team captain at six World Championships. He won five gold medals while wearing the Team Canada jersey including the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, when the team won the first hockey gold medal in 50 years. Smyth also won gold at the World Hockey Championships in 2003 and 2004, the World Cup of Hockey in 2004, and the World Junior Hockey Championship in 1995.

For more information on the 2017 Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Induction Class, go to http://ashfm.ca/

The 2017 Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Class will be announced in March.

Home Ice Feature

Alberta girls go global

Two outstanding young Albertans are on their way to take part in the 2017 International Ice Hockey Federation’s Global Girls Hockey Game in Toronto.

Samantha Boutin of St. Albert and Jasmine Rodak of Calgary were selected out of more than 25 applicants to attend the international event. Two female hockey players from each province are headed to the Global Game, which will see 37 IIHF member organizations hold events across the globe this weekend.

Boutin is a 14 year-old forward with the St. Albert Bantam A Blades.

“I am so excited to be a part of the Global Girls Hockey Game in Toronto, playing in a game like this gives me the opportunity to meet with other girls from across the country to play a game that we all love,” she said. “Hopefully we can all make some amazing long-lasting friendships as we get to experience this opportunity of a lifetime. Being one of two players selected from the province is a huge honour for me and I can’t wait to represent Hockey Alberta in Toronto.”

“Hockey is my escape from the pressures that come with being a teen today... no social media, no boys, just me and my skates. There is nowhere that I am happier than on the ice with my teammates. My family, my coaches, and the community have made sacrifices for myself and others to be able to play this game.”

In addition to her hockey activities, Boutin is an active volunteer in her community. She helps out at a senior centre and her school, and also helped prepare a meal and serve it at the Mustard Seed in Edmonton.

Rodak, also 14, is currently a goaltender for the Bantam A Hawks in Calgary.

“I am very excited to be a part of the second annual Global Game,” she said. “Hockey to me isn’t just a game, it’s about making lifelong friendships and having fun. Some of my strongest friendships have been made in my early years of Novice and Atom hockey and have continued into Bantam girls hockey. I’ve been so lucky to be playing with such amazing teammates and coaches who have helped me grow and develop my hockey game and life in general. I can’t wait for the amazing experiences and many lifelong memories that I will make at the Global Game 2017.”


Photo credit: J. Ashley Nixon Photography

Rodak also believes in giving back to the community, volunteering as a Goalie Mentor for two female goalies in the Crowfoot association in Calgary.


About the Global Game

The Ontario Women’s Hockey Association, in partnership with Hockey Canada and the International Ice Hockey Federation, is hosting the Global Game February 18-19 in Toronto. The Global Game embodies the spirit of enjoyment, teamwork, and collaborating with those from diverse backgrounds. This unique game starts on Saturday and will be played in 28 different countries before being handed off to Canada to play the final segment of the game. A cumulative score is kept across all 28 countries between Team White and Team Blue with a winner being declared after the Canadian portion of the game. The goal this game is to unite all females currently playing hockey as one global family.

Two teams comprised of participants from across Canada will compete for Team White and Team Blue in the Canadian portion of the Global Game. Alberta selected two players - one forward and one goaltender - to represent the province at this event. Participants spend the weekend in Toronto participating in skills clinics, listening to guest speakers, visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame, as well as participating in the main event, the Global Game.


Hockey Alberta is proud to unveil a new section at hockeyalberta.ca. 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 info@hockeyalberta.ca.

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Photo credit: LA Media


Team Alberta announces U16 and U18 Head Coaches

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is proud to announce the appointment of Spiros Anastas and Craig Perrett as the Head Coaches of Team Alberta for the 2017U16 Male and U18 Female Programs.

Anastas comes into the head coach position for Team Alberta’s U16 team after winning gold last year at the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup as an assistant coach. He’s served as the Head Coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns (CIS) since 2014, having previously spent time as an assistant coach with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League, and with Western Michigan University and Lebanon Valley College. At the international level, Anastas won gold medals With South Korea at the 2015 IIHF World Championships as the Assistant Coach of the Division I, Group B Men’s National Team, and as the Head Coach of the Division II, Group A Korean U18 team.

Perrett is currently an Assistant Coach with the Mount Royal Cougars Women’s hockey team, and returns to Team Alberta after serving as an Assistant Coach on Team Alberta’s gold medal-winning U16 team in 2015. Perrett has spent many years with the Team Alberta program in various roles, most recently serving as a Coach Mentor at the Alberta Cup and Alberta Winter Games, and will mentor once again at the upcoming Alberta Challenge.

“We’re looking forward to having both Spiros and Craig back with the Team Alberta program,” said Mike Kraichy, manager of Team Alberta. “Both coaches are coming off gold medals in their respective years, and we’re excited to see how they will build off those successes.”

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.

Hockey Alberta Foundation

McLennan, Brown, Strudwick headline EKEC Speaker Series in Lethbridge

LETHBRIDGE – The Hockey Alberta Foundation is excited to announce the next installment in the Every Kid Every Community Speaker Series, set for Saturday, May 13 in Lethbridge, featuring Jamie McLennan, Rob Brown and Jason Strudwick.

The lunch event is in support of the Hockey Alberta Foundation’s Every Kid Every Community Program and the Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association, and will run in conjunction with the Peewee Prospects Cup.

Tickets are $65 each, or $475 for a table of 8. Sponsorship opportunities are available for this event. For sponsorship details, click here.

The Hockey Alberta Foundation and Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association would like to thank ATB Investor Services for sponsoring the EKEC Speaker Series, as well as the Guest Speaker Sponsor, ATB Financial.

For ticket or sponsorship information, please contact Tracey Carlson with LHMA at 403-320-0745 or email lmhaprom@telus.net.


Presenter Bios:

Jamie McLennan

The EKEC Speaker Series is a homecoming of sorts for McLennan, who spent three seasons in net for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the WHL. He went on to play professional hockey for 17 years, including 12 in the NHL for the New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames, New York Rangers, and Florida Panthers.

Following his retirement from the NHL, McLennan was named as the director of goaltender development and a professional scout for the Calgary Flames, and later spent time as a Flames Assistant Coach. He’s since turned his attention to his broadcasting career, serving as a full-time Analyst on TSN and a co-host on TSN Radio 1050’s Overdrive, and is a colour commentator for the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, while also lending his time to the NHL Network and The Hockey News.


Rob Brown

After highly-successful four year career in the WHL with Kamloops, Brown played professional hockey from 1987-2003, 11 of those in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Hartford Whalers, Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.

His career highlights include setting the WHL records for assists (136) and points (212) in a season, which led to a WHL MVP award, WHL Top Scorer Award, the inaugural WHL Plus-Minus Award, and the CHL Player of the Year award. The following year, Brown won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 1988 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships.

Brown can now be heard on 630 CHED as an analyst for the Edmonton Oilers, or on Oilers pay-per-view as the colour commentator.


Jason Strudwick

Another former Kamloops Blazer, Strudwick’s 18 year playing career saw him play 14 seasons in the NHL with the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, and his hometown Edmonton Oilers. After retiring from professional hockey, Strudwick found his calling as a broadcaster. He’s a frequent contributor on TSN 1260 in Edmonton, in addition to co-hosting Dinner Television on City TV Edmonton.

News

Coach of the Month - January

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta’s Coach of the Month for January is Joe Bouvier of Clive.

In addition to serving as the Head Coach of the Clive Atom team, Joe is the Assistant Coach of Clive’s Novice and Initiation teams, to go along with his duties as the Vice President and Coach Mentor of the Clive Minor Hockey Association.

Joe has a long history as a player and a coach. Growing up, Joe played minor hockey in Central Alberta and went on to play in the WHL in Saskatchewan. He then moved to New Brunswick for University, where he played CIS hockey. Shortly after University, he moved to Austria to play professional hockey. Joe has been coaching for a total of twelve years at all levels across Canada.

“Joe has a passion for hockey, a skill set for teaching, knowledge of the game, and the skills to demonstrate and understand the process of making kids love and learn the game, and maybe most importantly, Joe believes there is a place in hockey for all kids,” said a fellow coach, who nominated Joe for the award. “He (Joe) is always available for our association’s coaches to ask him questions. And, he understands the game and the kids so well that he can give good guidance to all our coaches on a daily basis. Once a month, he goes on the ice with each of our teams and mentors the coaches by running a skills and drills practice. This gives the coaches age appropriate drills and explanations why to do these drills, as well as what to look for to correct and develop each child. Joe has been a huge role model for all of our players and has helped our Clive kids reach their full potential.”


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

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Photo credit: MT Action Photography


Hockey Alberta unveils provincial Goaltender Development Plan

RED DEER – The goaltender position has evolved dramatically over the past few decades.

Not only has the equipment changed and improved, so has the coaching, mechanics and mental training associated with the position.

In order to ensure that Alberta’s goaltenders, and their coaches, are properly equipped for the best performance possible in this specialized position, Hockey Alberta has developed a new Provincial Goaltender Development Plan.

“The goaltender position is a unique one in the sport of hockey. In working with coaches and athletes across the province, we have identified the need to better support the overall training and development of goaltenders,” said Justin Fesyk, Senior Management of Development. “Hockey Alberta’s new goaltender development plan focuses on ensuring goalies at all levels have the chance to enjoy the position and the game of hockey to the fullest.”

The Goaltender Development Plan has a multi-pronged approach. One focal point is on developing the knowledge and expertise of coaches, both regionally and within individual associations. The other prong involves providing goaltenders with specialized training opportunities, where they can work with other goalies as well as some of the most experienced goaltender coaches in the province.

The initial stages of the plan are being implemented over the next few months, in preparation for full operation starting in September for the 2017-18 season.

The first step is to identify and recruit six Goaltender Coach Leads who will be strategically located around the province and work as part of Hockey Alberta’s Regional Centre network. Each Regional Goalie Lead will provide leadership and support to minor hockey associations and Regional Centre Consultants in implementing Hockey Alberta’s Goaltending Development Plan throughout their region.

The position outline and application instructions for the Regional Goaltender Lead positions are available on the Hockey Alberta website. Deadline for applications is February 22.

Regional Goaltender Lead Application >

“The Regional Goalie Leads will be the keys to the success of the Goaltender Development Plan,” said Matt Weninger, Regional Centre South Consultant, and a former Junior A and NCAA goaltender. “The Leads will coordinate support to our minor hockey associations, educating coaches, planning practices and camps, supporting MHAs with their goalie evaluation process, and mentoring coaches.”

In addition to selecting the Regional Leads, a number of training weekends are already scheduled for goaltenders, coaches, and development directors.

For goalies, three goaltender camps have been organized - two open to any 2000-2007 born goaltender, and one targeted at elite level goalies:

  • South: May 27-28, Cochrane (led by World Pro Goaltending); Register >
  • North: June 3-4, Edmonton (led by ATC Goaltending); Register >
  • Elite: June 24-25, Sylvan Lake (led by industry experts). Application forms from interested AAA, AA and Female Elite goaltenders will be reviewed, and 18 male and 18 female goalies to participate. Apply >

The big event for coaches and development directors will be June 17-18 at Sylvan Lake, Each Local Minor Hockey Association (LMHA) in Alberta will be able to nominate an individual to attend the Goalie Coach Training Seminar. As well, LMHA development directors will receive training on building a goalie development plan for their own organization. More details on both segments of the Sylvan Lake event will be available in March.