RED DEER - Hockey has been included as an event in the Canada Winter Games since its inaugural year in 1967. Throughout each passing year, the sport has seen its share of different winners and famous alumni. Since its inception, Alberta has been the only province to compete in each iteration of the Canada Winter Games, achieving great results in both the male and female competitions.
The 2019 Games set to begin on Friday - the first to be held in Alberta since 1995. Here is a look at the history of Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games:
Team Alberta Male
Male hockey was introduced at the 1967 Canada Winter Games with just three teams participating: Alberta, BC, and Ontario. Team Alberta won the gold medal, followed that up with a silver in 1971, and then gold again in 1975. Each tournament contained three teams.
The 1979 Games marked the first year where all provinces and territories entered a team into the tournament. Over the next three Canada Winter Games, Team Alberta finished out of the medals, with 1987 the last Games where Team Alberta Male did not win a medal. Since 1991, Team Alberta has finished with two bronze, three silver, and two gold medals. Alberta is the only province to win a medal in each of the last seven Canada Winter Games events.
The 1999 gold medal winning team was a 2018 inductee into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame. They were led by notable alumni Jay Bouwmeester and Scott Hartnell.
Team Alberta Female
Female hockey was introduced to the Canada Winter Games in 1991. Team Alberta wasted no time finding success, taking home the gold medal with a team that included 13-year-old Hayley Wickenheiser. Since 1991, Team Alberta earned bronze in 1999 and 2015 while taking home the gold for a second time in 2011.
The 1991 gold medal winning squad was also inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018.