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News

Korea University men’s hockey team facing ACAC competition

RED DEER – The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) had an international flavour the past month, as Alberta teams welcomed the Korea University Tigers for a set of exhibition contests.

The Tigers, who are based in Seoul, began their trip to Alberta on January 12 against the Concordia University (Edmonton) Thunder, with Concordia winning 4-3 in overtime. Korea University would follow that up with games against NAIT, Portage College, Augustana and Briercrest. A game against SAIT was cancelled due to the injury bug hitting the Trojans roster.

Mark Kosak, Chief Executive Officer of the ACAC, said that the planning for this exhibition tour started in September when Korea University played Augustana in a pair of exhibition matchups.

“The Korean team was here in Canada, exploring the opportunity to play some Canadian competition,” Kosak said. “They’re the dominant university team in Korea so they were here for a couple of exhibition games.”

While the team was in country, the Tigers had their eyes set on potentially playing more games against ACAC oppositions.

“They reached out to my office to see if they could discuss the prospects of joining the ACAC at some point in the near future … it seemed like a crazy idea at the time that they’d want to play in our conference,” Kosak said. “We met so I could get a better understanding of their vision. One of the requirements was for them to return this year and play our teams to see if they were competitive and could legitimately be an ACAC team.”

The Tigers proved they could hang with their Alberta counterparts, defeating Portage College 7-3 and losing a pair of close games to NAIT and Augustana. The Tigers wrapped up their trip with a 5-1 loss to top ranked Briercrest College.

“It did surprise me, it shouldn’t have because they wouldn’t have asked for this opportunity or gone on this tour, unless they were confident that they could be competitive,” Kosak said. “They did their research, I give them credit, because they knew the level of playing the ACAC, and they felt that they could compete with our ACAC athletes. What we’ve observed is that they’re highly skilled, and they’re very structured.”

The team has since put in their application to play in the ACAC as early as next season. Their application is currently under review with a decision coming in May. There are a lot of logistics to sort through to make this a feasible option. Would Korea University play all road games? Would they have a home base in Canada? Kosak said that the two sides were working on piecing a possible solution together.

“It’s got a whole lot of moving parts and it’s not something that’s happening quickly. But the plan is that they would relocate to Calgary and play their games out of Seven Chiefs Sportsplex,” Kosak said. “They would move to Calgary in October, with the entire team, a delegation of support staff plus about 30 players, and they would stay in Calgary until the end of March and fulfill a schedule just like every other ACAC team.”

The academic year in South Korea is different than it is in Canada. The first semester begins in March and ends in the middle of July, then starts up again in August and goes until the middle of February. Exhibition games in the ACAC begin in September and conference play typically begins in mid October. Korean students would take online courses for the duration of their time in Canada and return in March once the season is over.

“It’s unique. The notion of them joining our league is entirely out of the box. No one else has ever done this, thought about it or been approached for it,” Kosak said. “I’m very proud of our conference that we are open minded because the easy decision would have been to say, no, no, we can’t do this. It’s crazy. Let’s not even spend the effort, the time and effort. I think everyone involved has an obligation to the sport of hockey to do what we can to contribute to the growth of hockey around the world. The ACAC has always been limited in what we can do in that respect. But this is our opportunity to help grow hockey in South Korea.”

The ACAC currently has seven teams, with bye weeks incorporated into the schedule so adding an eighth team to the conference would allow for teams to play games on a more frequent basis.

Team Alberta

Zone 7 and Zone 3 win gold at 2024 Alberta Winter Games

GRANDE PRAIRIE - Lloydminster Western Financial Steelers (Zone 7) and Calgary Royals White (Zone 3) captured the gold medals in the hockey competition as the Alberta Winter Games wrapped up on Monday in Grande Prairie.

Lloydminster won the Female Division crown, while Calgary captured the Male Division title.

FEMALE DIVISION

The championship in the Female Division featured the top two teams from Pool A - Lloydminster and the St. Albert Raiders Bolts (Zone 5). Lloydminster continued its tournament long dominance with a 7-2 victory to earn the gold medal.

Lloydminster went a perfect 3-0 in the round robin, outscoring its opponents 25-6 before defeating Rocky Mountain Raiders (Zone 2), 11-2, in the semi-finals. St. Albert (1-1-1) defeated Central Alberta Twins (Zone 4), 3-2, in the semi-finals. Central Alberta, who had finished first in the other pool, and Rocky Mountain faced off in the bronze medal match with the Raiders winning 1-0 in a shootout.

MALE DIVISION

The Male Division final had a similar setup with the top two teams in Pool A also facing off for the gold medal. This time, though, it was the second-place team from Calgary (Zone 3) playing a near-perfect final to blank the Lakeland Panthers (Zone 7), 4-0, to capture the gold.

Lakeland (2-0-1) finished first in its pool in round-robin, with the tie coming against Calgary. Calgary (1-0-2) finished second. Lakeland defeated Peace River, 9-1, in the semi-finals, while Calgary punched their ticket to the final, 6-3, over the Okotoks Oilers (Zone 2). Okotoks had finished first in the other pool.

Peace River Sabres (Zone 8) edged Okotoks, 6-5, in overtime, to earn the bronze medal.

OFFICIALS

The officials crew includes Brooke Akune (Lethbridge), Aryn Chambers (Sylvan Lake), Sara Deneweth (Calgary), Kristen Gallant (Bezanson), Chiara Knowlton (St. Albert), Neve Palmer (Edmonton), and Elizabeth Tanguay (Calgary). Linespeople include Kristina Krywolt (Calgary), Shelby Lazarowich (Edmonton), Alyssa Maier (Calgary), Jessica Pele (Lethbridge), Janine Van der Wekken (Edmonton), Caira Stucklschwaiger (Fairview), and Yelena Zaleschuk (Calgary).

Hockey Alberta News

On the male side of the tournament, officials include Scott Roessler, Fraser Berg, Brett Friesen, Kale Salacki, Darryl Smith, Kanin Boese, Brian Gilles and Taylor West as referees. Dylan Francis, Jaxon Peters, Jordan Wills, Robert Rowney, Rylie Payeur, Nate Millsap and Jesse Roessler were the linespeople.

For all the scores and standings, check out the Alberta Winter Games website.

Team Alberta

Mason Alexander looking to make a name for himself at Alberta Winter Games

RED DEER – Mason Alexander models his game after Vancouver Canucks defenceman and captain Quinn Hughes.

“I really like his defensive and offensive play style,” Alexander said. “He’s really good at moving the puck in the offensive zone and generating scoring chances.”

Makes sense, considering Alexander is a more than a point-per-game player this season with the U15 AA Strathcona Warriors as a defenceman, third amongst his position in the Northern Alberta Hockey League.

But if you were to ask Alexander about his stellar campaign, he’ll be sure to give the credit to his teammates who he’s spent the last couple seasons with.

“We get along well together. We all know each other from the past and basically all of us go to school together,” he said. “It makes it easier to connect in the room, we’re always talking about plays and I think everyone really fits in and enjoys themselves."

The off-ice connections have become apparent as the Warriors are sporting a 25-3-2 record, booking their ticket into Grande Prairie’s Alberta Winter Games as the Zone 5 representative.

While Strathcona has had a solid season, the male hockey tournament has some strong competition for Alexander and his teammates. Zone 5 is in Pool A with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (Zone 1), Calgary Royals White (Zone 3), and a familiar foe to the Warriors – the Lakeland Panthers (Zone 7). The Panthers are one point ahead of Strathcona in the NAHL standings while playing in the same division. Pool B features the Okotoks Oilers (Zone 2), Camrose Vikings (Zone 4), South Side Athletic Club Innovation Physio (Zone 6) and Peace River Sabres (Zone 8).

“It’ll be super amazing,” Alexander said about facing some new competition while seeing some familiar teams as well in Lakeland and South Side Athletic Club. “Especially heading into playoffs, it’s more competitive and it’ll be nice to play different teams. To be able to get a feel of what the competition is going to be like and giving us the opportunity to optimize our game heading into the postseason.”

There have been athletes from the province that have used the Alberta Winter Games as a steppingstone to other achievements in their careers. Alexander is looking to follow that trend.

“Everyone’s dream is obviously to go to the NHL, but I also want to accomplish other things along the way,” Alexander said. "I want to play in the Alberta Cup, go to the WHL, play for Team Canada. It’s a life goal and I want to make the most of it.”

Alexander said none of his success would be possible without the love, helpfulness and support of his parents.

“My parents are great, I couldn’t have done it without them,” Alexander said. "They drive me to practice; my mom drives me everywhere and is a really good supporter. My dad has been coaching me my whole life … helped me get into training sessions and with my on-ice play.”

Round-robin play started Saturday morning, and continues through until Sunday afternoon. Semi-finals are Sunday evening, with bronze and gold medal games slated for Monday morning. Games are being played at the County Sportsplex, with one game on Monday morning at the Dave Barr Arena.

ALBERTA WINTER GAMES MALE HOCKEY SCHEDULE >

News

Stettler Goes Global with the Global Girls Game

STETTLER - The puck is set to drop on the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Global Girls Game and a celebration of female hockey in central Alberta.

Twelve games are taking place from coast to coast in Canada, including Alberta’s segment which is being hosted by Stettler Minor Hockey Association on February 17.

The Global Girls Game is an IIHF initiative to unite the hockey community by having players from around the globe play in the same game. A cumulative score is kept around the world between Team White and Team Blue with a winner being declared after all games have been completed.

Alberta’s segment of the Global Girls Game is being hosted at the Stettler Recreation Centre at 1:30 p.m, as the U15 Tier 2 Stettler Storm take on the Red Deer Chiefs in the Blue Arena as part of their Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League season.

In Canada, teams from each game will be identified as Team White (home team) and Team Red (away team). The event kicked off on February 9 with a Rivalry Series game between Canada and the USA. Hockey Canada is providing players with jerseys, toques and helmet stickers as part of the event.

Stettler is also taking the IIHF Global Game a step further and engaging multiple levels of its female program to make it an unforgettable experience. Stettler’s U11 Tier 2 Blue team precedes the Global Girls Game event with a game against Camrose Red at 11:15 a.m, while the U18 Tier 1 Storm play game one of their RMFHL playdowns against the Lethbridge Cyclones at 4:15 p.m.

Team Alberta

Ailyn Stachniak and Calgary Fire White teammates looking forward to Alberta Winter Games

RED DEER – Everyone loves an underdog story.

Calgary Fire White currently sit in fourth place of the Alberta Female Hockey League’s U13 AA South Division behind Calgary Fire Red and Calgary Fire Black.

But it’s Fire White that is headed off to Grande Prairie to represent Zone 3 at the Alberta Winter Games.

This year’s team selection process differed from previous years, as teams in the AFHL’s newest division vied for the right to represent their zone. For Calgary’s three teams, they faced off in a round-robin followed by a final between the two highest-ranked teams in the round-robin. Fire White defeated Fire Red 5-3 and lost 3-1 to Calgary Fire Black in round-robin, before finding redemption with a 1-0 victory over Fire Black to secure their spot in the Games.

Forward Ailyn Stachniak said it was a great feeling to know that her team overcame the odds and qualified for the upcoming tournament.

“I think our team was super pumped. As the clock was counting down, I think my heart was pounding,” she said. “It was a super stressful moment but as soon as the clock was a second away from zero, I knew we had won, and we were going to represent our zone. It’s an honour and will be a good opportunity.”

Stachniak has had a strong season thus far, putting up 14 points (matching her jersey number) in 21 games, for fourth on the team. The up and coming forward said she’s having fun with her teammates and the team has gotten better as the season’s progressed.

“We’ve been able to beat some of the tougher teams throughout the season as we’ve been getting better as a team,” Stachniak said. "I really enjoy my teammates and it’s nice playing with them. They’re super helpful, our captains motivate us to get through hard games. Everyone is really kind and respectful and we’ve made a lot of memories through the highs and lows.”

The highs and lows of this season have helped Stachniak and her Fire White teammates to be prepared for the competition at the Alberta Winter Games.

“It’s a super exciting and a huge honour to be able to go and play against those teams,” Stachniak said. “We’re familiar with some of the teams we’ll be playing, but there are also some that we haven’t played before. So I think it will be nice to get to see other teams and see how they play.”

If Zone 3 can come away from the tournament with a medal, Stachniak said it would be a very rewarding experience.

“It would be very exciting for us to get to have that opportunity and such an honour to be able to win a medal,” she said. “It’ll take a lot of hard work from us to be able to do that, but it would be really exciting.”

Calgary Fire White are in Pool A with Southern Express (Zone 1), St. Alberta Raiders Bolts (Zone 5) and Lloydminster Western Financial Steelers (Zone 7). Pool B includes Rocky Mountain Raiders (Zone 2), Central Alberta Twins (Zone 4), Edmonton Ice Blue (Zone 6) and Norlan Ram PCFAC Storm (Zone 8).

Female hockey action gets underway on Saturday with round-robin action continuing through until Sunday afternoon. Semi-finals are Sunday evening, with bronze and gold medal games on Monday morning. Games are being played at the Dave Barr Arena and County Sportsplex.

ALBERTA WINTER GAMES FEMALE HOCKEY SCHEDULE >

Home Ice Feature

Black History Month – Zack Dailey’s unique journey through hockey

In celebration of Black History Month, Hockey Alberta is proud to share stories from across the province’s hockey community.

RED DEER – If you were to Google the small town of Healy, Alaska on a map Zack Dailey wouldn’t blame you.

That’s the hometown of the MacEwan University head coach. It has a population of just over a 1,000 people and it’s where the now 34-year-old got his introduction to hockey when he was seven.

“I grew up on a homestead. Our closest neighbour was a couple kilometres away. Pretty cool childhood where you just go out in the forest and go explore and do whatever you want. I grew up it was soccer in the summer and hockey in the winter,” Dailey recalled. “(Hockey) was just something I used to hang out with my friends. To be honest, the first few years I was probably the worst player on the team.”

Even with the early struggles on the ice, Dailey fell in love with the sport and the experience of playing where he did.

“All my friends were there, so I kind of kept with it. But yeah, it was a unique outdoorsy experience. The only rink we had was an outdoor rink so we’re out there until minus 30 and then they’d start canceling practices, but I had a lot of cool experiences,” Dailey said. “Parents gave me some quick, cool opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Dailey got better. So much so that his family decided to move to Alberta when he was 13 so he could go up against better competition.

The level of competition in Alberta was a big step up for Dailey. In Alaska, there are ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams that are considered competitive, and then ‘C’ and ‘D’ teams are considered house league. Healy’s lone team was a ‘D’ level team and would play against other teams from towns that had populations of 1,000 to 3,000.

“I caught the eye of a coach from the ‘A’ team, but we would have to travel to Fairbanks to play. The travel was outrageous … it was two and a half hours each way, three days a week and usually with some crappy road conditions,” Dailey said. “We’d go to the (University of Alaska Fairbanks) Nanooks, Division I hockey games and everyone from their team played in the AJHL. We had no clue what that was, so we looked on the Internet and went ‘I guess that’s where they’re developing hockey players. So, we made the move to Leduc.”

Dailey’s first taste of hockey in Alberta was when he decided to play spring hockey before enrolling into the Alberta minor hockey system.

“It was a big jump. In three years, I went from ‘D’ to playing AAA. But I felt like I was ready for it … the spring hockey helped prepare me,” he said. “It was a lot more commitment, better coaching. But it was a lot of fun and I’m so thankful that my dad and mom gave me the opportunity to do that. Because without that there’s no way I would win as far as I did in hockey.”

Dailey’s minor hockey career reached its peak when he tallied 41 goals and 93 points in 39 games with the U15 AAA Sherwood Park Flyers winning him co-MVP and co-winner of the scoring title while helping Sherwood Park to the league finals. His stellar minor hockey career got him an opportunity with the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips where he went on to be named captain in his final two seasons.

Once he wrapped up his junior and university career at the University of Alberta, Dailey set out to play professional hockey overseas. When that didn’t pan out, he turned to coaching when he was named assistant coach with MacEwan University men’s team in 2017. He stayed in that role until he took over the head coaching role partway through last season and had the interim tag removed ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

“I wanted to stay involved in hockey … but I didn’t know what capacity. Coaching is something I kind of fell into,” Dailey said. “From playing to coaching, I think that helped me. With all the coaches I’ve had, I’ve had some amazing coaches. It’s great to be able to take what you like from people, and then, you know, discard the stuff you didn’t really agree with.”

After missing the playoffs last season, Dailey has led his plucky group of Griffins back to the Canada West postseason in 2024, after a collecting three of a possible four points in back-to-back games against the Manitoba Bisons.

But maybe more importantly, Dailey, who comes from a Nigerian background, has used his journey to become a role model for a new generation of Black athletes to show them that they can achieve their goals just as former National Hockey League players Jarome Iginla and George Laraque showed him when he was growing up.

“There’s obviously not a lot of Black hockey players so I’m quite proud of where I’ve gotten to and where I’m at right now. Being a Black man and leading a university hockey team is something that I’m really, really proud of,” he said. “I think that whatever path you’re going down, if you see people who look like you, and who have the same experience as you, it makes it a lot easier. I know, as a kid, the hardest thing for me was always being the only Black player on the team. There’s no one to relate to, if anything was said I was the only one dealing with it. And so that part for me was very, very hard. But you know, knowing that people have went through before and have succeeded. That’s a big plus for me. And that helped me a whole bunch. So, I’m hoping that younger kids see it that way too.”

Home Ice Feature

Black History Month - Calgary Fire’s Davina Davis making her mark on the hockey world

In celebration of Black History Month, Hockey Alberta is proud to share stories from across the province’s hockey community.

RED DEER – Davina Davis has grown up around the game of hockey.

When Davis was younger, her father would take her to see the female hockey game at her local rink. It was soon engrained in her DNA that she was going to be just like those girls.

“The girls were U14 and U18 … they were so impressive to me that I wanted to be like them when I grew up,” Davis said. “When I turned six, my mom enrolled me in an all-girls Learn to Play program with our local female hockey club, thinking it would be a fun introduction into hockey and to see if I would like it. Little did she know it would become a passion and help guide me to where I am today.”

Her career took off. She suited up for South White at Alberta Challenge last year and was named co-MVP of the AFHL’s U15 AA division, tallying more than a goal per game and finishing with 39 points in 26 games. She helped Calgary Fire Red win the provincial title.

“I was delighted,” Davis said of the achievement. “It was an honour to be chosen as co-MVP as there are so many talented players in the league. But I think the bigger accomplishment was winning provincials. Our team played well together all season and it was nice to see our hard work pay off.”

The 16-year-old forward is now in her first season playing in the U18 AAA division with the Calgary Fire.

“It’s been an adjustment. Players are bigger, faster, and stronger,” she said. “It forces you to know what you’re going to do before you get the puck, and you always must be aware of what’s happening both on offense and defense. The older players on my team have been great role models for showing me what it takes to play at this level.”

Davis comes from a multiethnic background, as her dad is half black and half white, while her mom comes from Sri Lanka. Davis is very proud of her heritage and says that she’s had a very positive hockey experience thus far.

“I haven’t been treated differently from others because of my racial heritage,” Davis said. “The teams I’ve been on have been positive and encouraging environments to play and train in. I think so far I have been defined by my hockey skills more than my race.”

Davis wants to follow in the footsteps of her idols Connor McDavid, Taylor Heise and Sarah Fillier and play professional hockey when she’s older.

Collegiate hockey is absolutely an aspiration of mine, along with playing professionally, especially since the PWHL has made it a reality for young women,” Davis said. “If I ever advance far enough to possibly be a role model for younger hockey players, I hope it would be for anyone regardless of background.”

News

Hockey Alberta Offers Stream – Goaltending 2 Clinic

Hockey Alberta is pleased to welcome the return of the Instructional Stream - Goaltending 2 clinics this month.

The Instructional Stream Goaltending 2 Clinic will take a deep dive into the position as well as the structure and philosophy of coaching it. Attendees are expected to enter the clinic with an understanding of the position and will leave with a deeper knowledge of the structure and skills necessary to teach the position.

Coaches will be given the opportunity to set forth questions and learning objectives that they find prevalent in their experiences coaching the position. The structure for this clinic will allow for coaches to learn in a classroom environment for a deeper dive into the philosophy and tactics of the position as well as the opportunity to get on the ice and gain first hand practical experience in teaching.

Hosted by Matt Weninger, Manager, Goalie Development, there are two clinics available for goalies this month. The first clinic will take place in St. Albert on February 19, while the second clinic will take place in Calgary on February 23.

Details

Clinic 1:

Date: February 19, 2024

Time: 6:15-10:15 p.m.

Location: Servus Credit Union Place, St. Albert

REGISTER FOR CLINIC 1 >

Clinic 2:

Date: February 23, 2024

Time: 5:00-9:00 p.m.

Location: World Pro Goaltending, Calgary

REGISTER FOR CLINIC 2 >

Should you have any questions, please contact Matt Weninger, Manager, Goalie Development.

Team Alberta

Coaching applications open for 2024 Team Alberta programs

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is now accepting coach applications for the 2024 Team Alberta programs.

Team Alberta U18 Female is looking for one head coach, two assistant coaches, one video coach and one goaltender coach to guide the team at the 2024 National Women’s Under-18 Championship. The event takes place in November at a location that will be determined later.

U18 FEMALE COACH APPLICATION >

Team Alberta U16 Male is seeking two assistant coaches, one video coach and one goaltender coach for the 2024 WHL Cup. The WHL Cup is slated for October, in Red Deer.

U16 MALE COACH APPLICATION >

Applicants must:

- Be qualified at the NCCP High Performance 1;

- Be in good standing with Hockey Alberta and/or member Branch;

- Have a strong knowledge base and understanding of systems and strategies.

Inquiries can be directed to Mike Kraichy, Manager, High Performance at [email protected].


Derrick Martin to lead Team Alberta’s U16 Male at the WHL Cup

Derrick Martin will lead the 2023 Team Alberta U16 Male team as the head coach at the WHL Cup.

Martin is in his first season as the bench boss of the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Camrose Kodiaks. He spent the 2023 cycle with Team Alberta as an assistant coach at the WHL Cup. He also served as the Video Coach for Team Alberta at the 2023 Canada Winter Games.

Martin’s past Team Alberta program experience includes coaching and mentoring in the Alberta Cup program.

Hockey Alberta News

News

Regulation and Playing Rule Amendment

Hockey Alberta is currently accepting recommendations for additions, deletions and/or
amendments to the regulations of Hockey Alberta.


Any Member in good standing is eligible to submit a proposal for change, provided that the
change is for their respective stream/ level of hockey. Categories of Member Organizations are:


a. Minor Hockey Association
b. Senior or Junior League
c. Accredited School
d. Recreational Hockey Program
e. Para Hockey Program


All proposals must be submitted to the Hockey Alberta Office, using the proper submission form,
through the Member’s respective President and/ or General Manager (Executive Director). The
form must be completed in its entirety and must be accompanied by detailed rationale outlining
why the amendment is required and the positive impact it would have on the players/ game:


Hockey Alberta Regulation Amendment Form


Proposals for changes to the Hockey Alberta Regulations must be submitted prior to February 28,
to be considered for next season.


Submitted proposals will be reviewed and, if deemed necessary, Members may be asked to
review proposals and provide feedback to support Hockey Alberta in making final decisions.


If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to contact the Hockey
Alberta office.

HOCKEY ALBERTA BULLETINS 2023-24 >