Team Alberta kicks off play round-robin play against Team BC on Sunday at 7:30pm, with games against Nova Scotia and Ontario set for Monday and Tuesday at 7:30pm, respectively. All games are at the Centrium at Westerner Park.
RED DEER - It was another banner year for Alberta’s collegiate athletes as Canada West announced its year-end honours on Wednesday.
Seven Albertans - three in Men’s Hockey and four in Women’s Hockey, were recognized for their outstanding seasons.
Canmore’s Luke Philp (University of Alberta) repeated as the Canada West Player of the Year, while Edmonton’s Grayson Pawlenchuk (University of Alberta) was named the Rookie of the Year. Sherwood Park native Riley Kieser (University of Alberta) was honoured with the Student-Athlete Community Service Award.
Both Philp and Pawlenchuk are Team Alberta alumni, with Philp winning bronze with Alberta at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
It was a clean-sweep for Albertans in Women’s Hockey, with all four awards going to Team Alberta alumni. Edmonton native Alex Poznikoff (University of Alberta) earned top honours as the Canada West Player of the Year, Okotoks’ Breanne Trotter (Mount Royal University) was named the Rookie of the Year, and the Student Athlete Community Service Award went to Anna Purschke (Mount Royal University) of Sherwood Park. Former Team Alberta Coach Howie Draper (University of Alberta) was named Coach of the Year.
Poznikoff won a bronze medal with Team Alberta at the 2013 National Women’s U18 Championship, and again at the 2015 Canada Winter Games. Draper coached the bronze-medal winning 2015 team, and also led Team Alberta to gold at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
RED DEER - The Canada Winter Games attract volunteers and spectators from all walks of life, but for one volunteer, the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer are particularly special.
Billings, a Red Deer native, was back in his hometown during the winter months for the first time in nearly ten years, as he and his wife both volunteered for the 2019 games.
According to Billings, it was important for him to take part in the Canada Winter Games in his hometown, as he was part of the inaugural games in 1967. In fact, Billings was a member of the gold medal-winning University of Alberta Golden Bears, who represented Alberta at the games.
"It makes me feel old, for one thing," said Billings on volunteering for the Canada Winter Games 52 years after winning gold. "I’m glad to still be here to enjoy it, and it probably means more to me now than when it happened, because I understand things a little better, you know, you cherish things more. I’m excited for all the young kids too, I’m looking forward to seeing it and being a part of it again."
Billings said as time passed by, he gained a greater appreciation for the one-in-a-lifetime experience in 1967.
"I didn’t really understand it all back then, I was just 19 years old, and in my first year of University," he said. "It was just exciting to be part of it. We played in the Quebec Coliseum, the building that Jean Beliveau built, that’s exciting. You walk in there, and you look up and see all these guys and say ’wow, I can’t believe I’m here’. Then we finally won, and that was hard to accept, we sat there and thought ’wow, did we really do this’? Then it hits home after awhile, and just like anything that you win, it was surreal."
Billings had the honour of representing the historic 1967 Men’s Hockey team at the 2019 Canada Winter Games Opening Ceremonies as well, as was selected as one of the final torch-bearers.
Although 52 years have passed, Billings said he still carries fond memories of the 1967 Canada Winter Games, and is looking forward to make new memories in 2019.
RED DEER - Team Alberta rebounded from an 8-4 semi-final loss with a 12-0 win over Saskatchewan Friday night to claim the bronze medal in Men’s Hockey at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
In the second matchup of the tournament between the two teams, Alberta avenged a 4-3 overtime loss to Saskatchewan on Saturday.
Matt Savoie opened the scoring for Alberta late in the first period, and added two more to open the second period for a natural hat-trick. Savoie also had two assists for a five-point game, and finished the Canada Winter games with 13 points.
Alberta saw six more tallies in the second as part of an eight-goal period, and three more in the third. Craig Armstrong (2), Dylan Guenther (2), Tyson Laventure, Zack Stringer, Olen Zellweger, Owen MacNeil and Marc Lajoie all scored goals for Alberta in the win. Guenther added three assists to also finish the tournament with 13 points, tied for the team lead with Savoie.
Alberta goaltender Drew Sim stopped all 37 shots he faced to earn the shutout win.
The Canada Winter Games take a one-day break on Saturday before re-starting for Week Two on Sunday, when Team Alberta U18 Female kicks off their quest for gold at 7:30pm at the Centrium.
RED DEER - Despite a strong third period comeback attempt, Team Alberta dropped an 8-4 decision to Ontario Thursday night in the Canada Winter Games semi-final.
Ontario opened the scoring just 1:21 into the game, and would score another with 1:40 remaining in the first to take a 2-0 lead into the second period, where they would score four more to take a 6-0 lead after two.
Alberta came out hard in the third period, with four goals in a span of eight minutes from Zack Ostapchuk, Colton Dach, Matt Savoie and Tyson Laventure to make it a 6-4 game. But, Ontario halted Alberta’s charge with a powerplay goal and a shorthanded goal to make it 8-4, punching their ticket to the gold medal game against Quebec, who beat Saskatchewan 7-3 in the other semifinal matchup earlier in the day.
Drew Sim got the nod for Team Alberta, and made 18 saves on 26 shots to take the loss. Alberta heavily outshot Ontario, but Benjamin Gaudreau held down the fort for his team, stopping 40 of 44 to earn the win.
Alberta still has a shot at the podium as they draw up against Saskatchewan in the bronze medal game at 4pm on Friday at the Centrium. The live stream of the game can be found here.
RED DEER - Team Alberta punched its ticket to the semi-finals at the 2019 Canada Winter Games with an 8-3 win over New Brunswick on Wednesday night.
Alberta wasted no time in getting on the board, with Tyson Laventure opening the scoring just over three minutes into the game, but New Brunswick countered just over a minute later. Dylan Guenther regained Alberta’s lead just two minutes after that, only to have New Brunswick tie it up again 16 seconds later.
Team Alberta took the lead for good following goals from Matt Savoie and Zack Ostapchuk. New Brunswick added another goal late in the first period, but Alberta shut the door from there, and would add to their lead with second period goals from Laventure, Brett Hyland, Craig Armstrong and Savoie.
Lochlan Gordon got the start for Alberta, but gave way to Drew Sim after allowing three goals on eight shots in the first period. Sim shut the door in the second and third period, stopping all 11 shots he faced, though Gordon still earned credit for the win. New Brunswick netminder Nicholas Sheehan allowed eight goals on 35 shots through the first two periods, while Pierre-Vincent Guignard stopped all 16 shots he faced in relief in the third.
Alberta draws up against Team Ontario in the semi-finals on Thursday night, with a spot in the gold medal game on the line. Game time is 7:30pm at the Centrium in Red Deer. The live stream of the game can be found here.
The other semi-final matchup sees Quebec and Saskatchewan go head-to-head. That game goes at 4:00pm at the Centrium, the live stream can be found here.
RED DEER - Sixteen outstanding young Albertans will hit the ice in Calgary on Saturday for the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Global Girls Hockey Game.
In addition to the game itself, athletes will participate in skills clinics, visit the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, and take in presentations from guest speakers.
The Global Girls Game goes at 3pm at the Flames Community Rink.
The sixteen Bantam-aged Albertans participating in the Global Game are:
|NAME||POSITION||HOMETOWN||MINOR HOCKEY ASSOCIATION|
|Sophy Aldred||Forward||Calgary||Girls Hockey Calgary|
|Eilis Clipperton||Forward||Calgary||Girls Hockey Calgary|
|Madison Gingrich||Forward||Calgary||Girls Hockey Calgary|
|Cassie Guigon||Defence||Calgary||Girls Hockey Calgary|
|Ava Haddad||Goaltender||Rocky View County||Girls Hockey Calgary|
|Eva Kingston||Goaltender||Lake Newell Resort||Brooks|
|Deanna Kwong||Forward||Calgary||Girls Hockey Calgary|
|Kathleen Malcolm||Forward||Edmonton||Edmonton Girls Hockey Association|
|Roxy Mason||Forward||Edmonton||Edmonton Girls Hockey Association|
|Ruby Polansky||Defence||Sturgeon County||St. Albert|
|Mystery Shaw||Defence||Spruce Grove||St. Albert|
About the Global Game
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.
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.
"I’m honoured to be named Captain of Team Alberta, it’s super exciting, and a big opportunity, playing on home soil," said Tschigerl.
Team Alberta kicks off play round-robin play against Team Saskatchewan on Saturday at 7:30pm, with games against Manitoba and BC set for Sunday at 4:00pm and 7:30pm, respectively. All games are at the Centrium at Westerner Park.
RED DEER - Two outstanding post-secondary students have received Distinguished Leader status from the 2018 Future Leaders Development Program.
Brett Ponich and Jake Wozney will each receive a $3,000 scholarship for their work during the Development weekend and Team Alberta Male U16 Summer Camp in Camrose.
The Future Leaders Development Program is designed to develop and train post-secondary students in the area of coaching. Areas of focus include proper instruction, administration, leadership, technical and tactical skills in hockey, so that the future leaders can carry those skills into our communities. Scholarship opportunities are made possible by the Hockey Alberta Foundation. Since the Future Leaders Scholarship program was established in 1998, the Hockey Alberta Foundation has invested annually in the development of great leaders for the future of the game and our communities in Alberta.
Ponich started his playing career in the Beaumont Minor Hockey Association. He moved on to play Bantam and Midget AAA in Leduc before spending time with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, NHL’s St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets organizations. Currently, Ponich is a student-athlete for the University of Alberta - Augustana Vikings where he is working on a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education degree, with hopes of entering medical school after his graduation.
"The Future Leaders Program allowed me to receive structured coaching instruction that complemented my experience of playing the game," said Ponich. "I was able to not only learn more about the game of hockey, but also how to communicate and work with people better."
Wozney grew up in Richmond, BC and began playing with the Seafair Minor Hockey Association. He has been well-travelled, spending time with the Greater Vancouver Canadians, Junior B Richmond Sockeyes, BCHL’s Nanaimo Clippers, AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons, and SJHL’s Weyburn Red Wings. He is currently playing with the Red Deer College Kings, where he is in his second year of the Kinesiology and Sports Science Program.
"It means a lot to me that experienced coaches with Hockey Alberta can see potential in my coaching ability, even with the limited experience that I have," said Wozney. "It gives me motivation to pursue a career in coaching, as well as to continue to grow and add more tools."
Registration is now being accepted for the 2019 Future Leaders Development Weekend, taking place in Red Deer, May 3-5.
LEDUC – Icy temperatures may have garnered the big headlines across the province.
But it was a generous donation, on national television through Rogers Hometown Hockey, by the Gord Bamford Foundation to the Hockey Alberta Foundation that provided the hot news.
Bamford was one of the special guests in attendance as part of Rogers Hometown Hockey, and he showed his love for the sport, and the kids who play hockey, in two ways. When Bamford took to the stage for a song, he was proudly sporting a Team Alberta jersey. Then, he presented Tim Leer, the Executive Director of the Hockey Alberta Foundation, with a cheque for $10,000 in support of the Every Kid Every Community program.
The generous donation will help ensure that any child in Alberta who wants to will be able to enjoy the game of hockey through the EKEC grant program.
This weekend in Leduc was also a big weekend for female hockey in the province. The Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL) Midget Elite Showcase saw all 12 teams in the Midget Elite division on the ice for a total of 18 games. Game results, and a summary of what happened in the AFHL in January, can be found at the league’s website, afhl.ca.