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Black History Month - Tommy Hamilton

GRANDE PRAIRIE - Tommy Hamilton was an elite athlete who chose to dedicate his life giving back to his community and ensuring all youth had an opportunity to be involved in sport.

A Black man, born in Texas and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Hamilton’s athletic talent led him to the Peace Country in the 1950s – first in northwestern Alberta and eventually in northeastern British Columbia.

Hamilton’s athletic career started in boxing and baseball. In the ring, he was an amateur boxing welterweight champion, winning a Golden Gloves tournament in Kansas City. In 1940, Hamilton joined the army where he won the American Army Welterweight Championship in 1945.

As a baseball player, Hamilton was reportedly among the best catchers in the game. He suited up for teams across the continent, including the Los Angeles White Sox and the Oakland Beavers of the Pacific Coast Professional Loop. Stops on the playing schedule included Canadian cities from Ontario to B.C.

As Hamilton travelled across Canada, he began to take an interest in the country. While playing in an exhibition series with the Beavers against Alliance Southern Alberta, the manager of the Alliance team extended an invitation to him to play. Without hesitation, Hamilton accepted, and he and his family headed north.

Upon arriving in Alberta, Hamilton continued to play baseball and box. But his focus began to shift as he settled in High Prairie in 1952. There, his new passion flourished – coaching. He coached baseball, boxing and hockey.

Having never strapped on a pair of skates, Hamilton became a student of the game. During his two years in High Prairie, he coached two teams to the Provincial finals.

In 1957, Hamilton, his wife and six boys moved to Grande Prairie. The move came with changes. He chose to hang up his gloves and focus on training boxers. He played ball for the local men’s team but the time spent behind the plate had taken its toll and after a year, Hamilton turned to coaching.

Hamilton’s passion for giving back to the sports he loved was unmatched, and his character never wavered - always willing, always present, and always smiling. Training and coaching hockey and baseball, he ensured everyone had a spot in the game. Parents were tasked with roles and Hamilton would find a place for the kids who could not play due to health or disabilities.

In an effort to give back, Hamilton sponsored a new club in the Grande Prairie area – the House of Athletics. The club was organized for boys aged 14-20 intended to sponsor sporting activities, including hockey and baseball tournaments.

“I like kids,” Hamilton was quoted in a story in the Grande Prairie Herald Tribune. “Somebody has to help them and I like it, so why not me?”

When he wasn’t training or coaching, Hamilton could be found volunteering in the community, including constructing hockey rinks.

Using his experience as a boxer and baseball player, Hamilton became the trainer for the local senior hockey team, the Grande Prairie Athletics. He was a crowd favourite and he often delivered words of advice and encouragement when tending to an injured player.

Hamilton’s contributions to the community did not go unnoticed. In a profile on Hamilton published at Grande Prairie Hockey Legends, Dave Emerson – who knew Hamilton while Emerson was a high school student - talked about Hamilton’s impact.

“Tommy’s activities and the example he set kept us off the streets,” recalled Emerson. “He was one of those few community-minded people who gave freely of his time on evenings and weekends coaching, caring for and organizing sports for kids. Tommy Hamilton was that person. He was all heart and he gave so much for so many of us young kids in that era.”

Some questioned why Hamilton never received much formal recognition. When the position of Athletic Director became available, it was thought that Hamilton would be a sure fit. But he ended up being passed over for the position.

After 12 years in Grande Prairie, Hamilton’s contributions to recreation and the community were known throughout the Peace Country, and he accepted the Athletic Director position in Dawson Creek. The Hamilton family moved to Pouce Coupe, and Hamilton continued to give back to the community in Dawson Creek.

In 1973, Hamilton was presented the Earl Johnson Memorial Award as Dawson Creek’s sportsman of the year.

Hamilton passed away suddenly in 1980, at the age of 66. The legacy that he left behind has made a lasting impact on recreation in the Peace River country.

For more information on Tommy Hamilton, and the significant impact he had on sports in northwestern Alberta, check out his profile at Grande Prairie Hockey Legends.


Sprung Arenas, Stantec and CANA Team Up to Present the Hockey Alberta Members Summit

RED DEER – Sprung Arenas, Stantec and CANA are teaming up with Hockey Alberta to present the Hockey Alberta Summit, June 10-12, in Red Deer.

All Hockey Alberta member organizations are invited to attend the weekend of development, education and networking. The Summit will foster collaboration, innovation and community amongst the hockey community – aligning with Sprung Arenas, Stantec and CANA’s innovative partnership.

“Sprung Structures is excited to announce our alliance with two Alberta based companies, ready to deliver turnkey arenas to communities across the province,” said Maclean Sprung, Sprung Structures Business Development. “The alliance between Sprung, Stantec and CANA has provided a solution unlike anything we have ever seen before. Together, this trio will not only be able to provide an efficient construction timeline and a cost-effective pricing model, but saving valuable time, effort and energy needed to plan, permit, design, and build a new arena.”

The Sprung Community Arena packages are designed by the best in the business to provide the ultimate solution for rural communities when it comes to a place to gather, celebrate, and connect.

Sprung Arenas has partnered with Stantec, an award-winning architecture and engineering firm known for their design excellence and quality execution, and CANA, construction leaders with over seven decades in industry, to deliver three affordable complete arena solutions for rural communities. Together, the trio is revolutionizing the construction industry by minimizing the time, effort and energy needed to plan, permit, design and build an arena.

“Sprung Arenas, Stantec and CANA are industry-leading examples of Hockey Alberta’s values – collaboration, innovation and community,” said Mike Klass, Hockey Alberta’s Director of Business Operations. “To partner with them to present the Hockey Alberta Summit is an opportunity to showcase these values and present solutions to communities and members who face facility challenges.”

For more information on Sprung Arenas, Stantec and CANA visit To learn more about Hockey Alberta and the Hockey Alberta Summit, visit or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Centre Ice Podcast

Centre Ice Podcast - Episode Twenty: Black History Month

RED DEER - With Black History Month being celebrated all of February, Episode Twenty of the Centre Ice Podcast features three Albertans who have all experienced success in the game of hockey, but also adversity in the form of racial inequality, and are each working to make the game more inclusive for everyone - Toronto Maple Leafs Coaching Development Associate T.J. Millar, St. Albert U16 AAA Flyers forward Turner McIntyre, and Chairperson of Hockey Alberta’s Diversity Inclusion Committee Anton Joseph.

Hockey Alberta NewsHockey Alberta NewsHockey Alberta NewsHockey Alberta News

Episode Links: WHL Draft Pick Turner McIntyre Hopes to Break Barriers > | Team AB U18 Female CWG Coaching Application > | Team AB U16 Male CWG Coaching Application > | Coach of the Month >

More Episodes >

Centre Ice is the brand-new Hockey Alberta podcast, featuring the latest news and views on amateur hockey across the province. Subscribe now on your favourite podcast app!


Photo credit: Rob Wallator / WHL

Team Alberta U16 Male accepting Assistant and Video Coach applications for 2023 Canada Winter Games | Serge Lajoie announced as Head Coach

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is seeking two Assistant Coaches and one Video Coach for the Team Alberta U16 Male team that will compete in the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island February 17-25, 2023.

Applicants must:

  1. Be fully qualified at the NCCP High Performance 1;
  2. Be in good standing with Hockey Alberta and/or member Branch;
  3. Have a strong knowledge base and understanding of systems and strategies; and
  4. Be fully compliant with the Canada Games vaccination policy.

Apply Now >

Key dates include the 2022 Alberta Cup (April 27 - May 1), Team Alberta Summer Camp (July 4-10), Team Alberta December Camp (December 2022), Team Staging (January 14, 2023) and Team Training (February 2023).

All inquiries can be directed to Michael Kraichy, Manager, Elite Male Hockey at [email protected]

Team Alberta U16 Male names Serge Lajoie Head Coach for 2023 Canada Winter Games

Team Alberta U16 Male will have a familiar face behind the bench at the 2023 Canada Winter Games, as Serge Lajoie was named Head Coach by Hockey Alberta.

Lajoie – currently the Head Coach of the OHA Edmonton U18 Prep team – has a storied history in the Team Alberta program. He was an assistant coach with the Team Alberta Male squad that won the bronze medal at the 2011 Games in Halifax, and head coach of the gold medalist U16 male squad at the 2013 Western Canada Challenge Cup. He served as Head Coach for Team Alberta once again at the 2021 WHL Cup, earning a silver medal

“It is an honour and a privilege to lead Team Alberta at the 2023 Canada Winter Games,” said Lajoie. “I have very fond memories from the event in 2011, and I am excited for the opportunity and the challenge that lies ahead.”

Lajoie previously spent three season as Head Coach of the University of Alberta Golden Bears, winning a national title in 2018, and was also an assistant coach for Team Canada at the 2016 IIHF U18 World Championship. As a player, Lajoie participated in the inaugural Alberta Cup, winning a silver medal in 1986.


Lloydminster hosts successful Female Hockey Day

LLOYDMINSTER – Hockey Alberta hosted the fourth annual Female Hockey Day, presented by ATB Financial, in Lloydminster on January 29.

Over 120 female hockey players, parents, coaches, and supporters gathered at the Servus Sports Centre Zoom on January 29 to engage and learn on and off-ice skills from accomplished coaches and speakers. Each age group went through an on-ice skills session, off-ice movement and games session, and a classroom session.

Joining each session as group leaders were players from the U18 AAA Lloydminster PWM Steelers.

Many participants stuck around for the feature game of the day between the AFHL’s U15 AA Lloydminster Jr. Steelers and Sherwood Park Royals.

The day was capped off with a free skate that featured the U15 Steelers, along with a number of participants from the day’s events.