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Learn to play with Calgary Flames alumni!

CALGARY - An exciting opportunity awaits first-time hockey players, as the Calgary Flames’ Learn to Play program is coming to Sylvan Lake and Lethbridge.

The Learn to Play program is a six-week introductory program for kids between the ages of 4 and 8. Sessions are led by Calgary Flames alumni.

The Sylvan Lake program will be led by Curtis Glencross, while Jamie Macoun will lead the program in Lethbridge.

The program costs $175, and includes a free full set of equipment, six weeks of on-ice instruction (one icetime a week from April 29 - June 10).

Register >

For more details on the Calgary Flames Learn to Play program, click here.


Photo credit: LA Media

2017 Alberta Cup rosters announced

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the rosters for the 2017 Alberta Cup.

Eight teams will take to the ice at the Canmore Recreation Centre April 26-30. The teams include two from each of Calgary and Edmonton, and one each representing the South, Central, Northeast and Northwest zones of the province.

Twenty 2002-born players comprise each roster, along with volunteers serving as head coach, assistant coaches, trainer, and director of operations. Rosters were selected based on performances at zone camps held March 24-26 throughout the province.

2017 Alberta Cup Rosters >

The teams will play in a four-day, tournament-format competition. The event also features an education seminar hosted by the Western Hockey League (WHL).

Tournament passes for the 2017 Alberta Cup are now on sale. Passes are $59+GST each, and include one Alberta Cup Program. Family passes for up to five people (maximum two adults) are $173+GST, and also include one program.

Tickets for the 2017 Alberta Cup Banquet are also now available for purchase. Tickets are $50+GST for adults, and $27+GST for children (12 and under). The Alberta Cup Banquet is Saturday, April 29 at 6 p.m. at the Coast Hotel.

Tickets > | 2017 Alberta Cup Schedule >

For more information on the Alberta Cup, click here.

Hockey Alberta Foundation

Bakke, Van Vaerenbergh named distinguished Future Leaders

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta and the Hockey Alberta Foundation are pleased to announce Brady Bakke and Tricia Van Vaerenbergh as distinguished Future Leaders.

Bakke and Van Vaerenbergh are among the eight post-secondary students accepted into the 2016 Future Leader Development Program, which saw them fill a role during the U16 Male & U16 Female Provincial Camps in Camrose in July 2016. Both were selected as distinguished future leaders for their leadership, professionalism, enthusiasm and willingness to give back to the game of hockey.

Bakke, a Red Deer native, is in his second year playing for Concordia University, following three years with the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and two years of Midget AAA in Red Deer.

Van Vaerenbergh, orginally from Picture Butte, is in her second year at the University of Lethbridge, and previously skated for Team Alberta’s bronze medal-winning team at the U18 Nationals in 2013.

In addition to the original $1,000 scholarship awarded to participants of the program, the two distinguished Future Leaders will each receive an additional $3,000 scholarship.

2017 Future Leaders Development Program

Applications are still being accepted for the 2017 Future Leaders Development Program. The application deadline is April 12, and the FLDP runs April 28-30 in Sylvan Lake.

Apply >

For more information on the Future Leaders Development Program, click here.


Photo credit: Candice Ward/Hockey Canada Images

Hockey Canada puts age-appropriate programming at forefront for 2017-18 season

CALGARY - Hockey Canada wants all of Canada on the same page when it comes to the delivery of its Initiation Program - traditionally a player’s first brush with organized hockey at the ages of five and six.

Although the Initiation Program - originally developed more than 35 years ago - always recommended cross- ice or half-ice small-area games, its delivery has varied from community to community. Beginning in the upcoming 2017-18 season, a new Hockey Canada policy now mandates that Initiation-aged players receive age-appropriate programming on cross-ice or half-ice surfaces.

“You would never put a five- or six-year-old child on a full-size soccer pitch, or expect them to play basketball without any adjustments made for their size. Hockey is no different,” said Paul Carson, vice- president of membership development for Hockey Canada, who notes that while some provinces and communities already deliver cross-ice programming at the Initiation level, others have always utilized full ice for practices and games.

“The Initiation Program was developed to allow kids to have fun, learn skills, and develop confidence,” said Carson. “Re-sizing the playing surface to cross-ice or half-ice means more puck-touches, which result in more chances to practice puck-control and shooting, as well as overall more movement and motor skill- development - twisting, turning, balance, coordination, agility. Their field-of-play matches their size, and these players hone in on their skill-development in a way that larger ice surfaces just aren’t conducive to.”

The differences in skill-development opportunities with cross-ice or half-ice hockey are significant: players receive five times more passes and take six times more shots. They’re called on to have to make more decisions more quickly, and are overall more engaged in the game.

Special boards and bumpers have been developed that allow for quick and easy division of a regular-sized rink into two half-ice surfaces or three cross-ice rinks, with options to create different small-area configurations. Not only does re-sizing the playing surface allow for Initiation-aged players to develop their hockey skills more effectively, it also allows communities to maximize their ice time by safely putting more teams and games on the ice at one time.

Instruction on delivering age-appropriate programming will also be available to coaches trained in the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Coach 1 - Intro Coach. This clinic, delivered by Hockey Canada’s 13 members, is geared towards coaches of entry-level players to provide resources that will aid in the implementation of skill-development and game play.

To ensure all members of the Alberta hockey community understand the new mandate for the Initiation Program, Hockey Alberta will be undertaking a multi-faceted communication plan that includes the following opportunities for engagement and updates:

  • May 6-7: in-person with Minor Hockey Association (MHA) presidents/executive members during SpringConference sessions held in Okotoks and Fort Saskatchewan.
  • June 17-18: in-person with Development Directors for MHAs, and Provincial Coach 1 Facilitators at the Hockey Alberta Development Seminar in Sylvan Lake.
  • September: in-person with Initiation Program Directors for MHAs (date/location TBA)
  • October-November 15: in-person as part of Coach 1 Clinic delivery (locations across the province)
  • Online at, where Initiation Program and development materials can be accessed by any member of the hockey community.

Resources such as the Hockey Canada Network - a best-in-class skill-development resource geared to coaches - features information on the purpose of cross-ice hockey and how to run effective on-ice sessions for the five-and six-year-old Initiation age group.

Hockey Canada has also produced a video that features renowned sport scientist Dr. Steve Norris; Olympic, World Cup, world, and Stanley Cup champion Sidney Crosby (Cole Harbour, N.S./Pittsburgh, NHL); Memorial Cup, World Cup, and IIHF World Championship-winning coach Bill Peters (Three Hills, Alta./ Carolina, NHL); and Olympic gold-medallist and two-time IIHF Women’s World Championship silver-medallist Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) describing the importance of small area games and cross-ice/half-ice hockey.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the Initiation Program, please visit, or follow along through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

Home Ice Feature

Team Alberta alumni Sam Steel (centre) and Kale Clague (right) celebrate Team Alberta’s 2013 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup win. (Photo credit: LA Media)

Albertans bring home WHL hardware

RED DEER/CALGARY - Alberta was very well-represented when the Western Hockey League announced its 2016-17 Eastern and Western Conference award winners and All-Star teams on Wednesday.

Four Albertans took home major awards:

Sam Steel (Sherwood Park), Regina Pats - Eastern Conference Player of the Year, WHL Top Scorer
Zach Sawchenko (Calgary), Moose Jaw Warriors - Eastern Conference Top Goaltender
Carter Hart (Sherwood Park), Everett Silvertips - Western Conference Top Goaltender
Tyler Steenbergen (Sylvan Lake), Swift Current Broncos - Eastern Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player

All four players were also among the eight Albertans named to the WHL’s First and Second All-Star teams:

Eastern Conference First All-Star Team:
Goaltender - Zach Sawchenko (Calgary, AB), Moose Jaw Warriors
Defenceman - Kale Clague (Lloydminster, AB), Brandon Wheat Kings
Forward - Sam Steel (Sherwood Park, AB), Regina Pats
Forward - Tyler Wong (Cochrane, AB), Lethbridge Hurricanes

Eastern Conference Second All-Star Team:
Defenceman - Jake Bean (Calgary, AB), Calgary Hitmen
Forward - Tyler Steenbergen (Sylvan Lake, AB), Swift Current Broncos

Western Conference First All-Star Team:
Goaltender - Carter Hart (Sherwood Park, AB), Everett Silvertips
Forward - Matthew Phillips (Calgary, AB), Victoria Royals

WHL Award Winners > | WHL All-Star Teams >

Hockey Alberta is proud to unveil a new section at 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 [email protected].

Home Ice Feature

Photo credit: U Sports

Former Team Alberta players and staff win National Championship

EDMONTON - Twelve former Team Alberta players and three former staff are now U Sports national champions as members of the University of Alberta Pandas.

The sixth-seeded Pandas defeated the fourth-seeded McGill Martlets in double-overtime Sunday night in Napanee, Ontario to clinch the championship.

Taylor Kezama, Cayle Dillon, Ashley Morin, Deanna Morin, Amy Boucher, Alex Poznikoff, Hanna Olenyk, Regan Wright, Abby Benning, Kirsten Chamberlin, Dayna Owen, and Kennedy Ganser have all previously played in the Team Alberta U18 Female program.

Kezama netted the double-overtime winner for the Panadas, while Poznikoff, who was recently named to the Canada West All-Star team, was named one of the tournament all-stars.

Head Coach Howie Draper, Assistant Coach Leah Copeland, and Equipment Manager Wes Nystrom were also previously involved with the Team Alberta program.

About the Team Alberta U18 Female Program

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 is proud to unveil a new section at 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 [email protected].

Hockey Alberta Foundation

Introducing the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame Class of 2017

RED DEER - Five outstanding individuals, and perhaps one of the most celebrated families in all of hockey comprise the 2017 Induction Class for the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame (AHHF).

Hockey Alberta and the Hockey Alberta Foundation announced on Wednesday the 2017 inductees who will be recognized at the AHHF Awards Gala in Canmore:

  • Mel Davidson, three-time Olympic gold medalist (Head Coach, Canadian Women’s national team).
  • Bill Hay, Stanley Cup champion, and former head of the Hockey Hall of Fame
  • Tony Kollman, one of the most noteable senior hockey players of the 1960s
  • Perry Pearn, second-winningest coach in ACAC history, including six ACAC championships.
  • Glen Sather, former coach, general manager and president of the 5-time Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers
  • The Sutter family - Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Gary, Rich, Ron, Grace and Louis.

Inductee Bios >


Minor Hockey Associations

Welcome New-to-Hockey families into YOUR Minor Hockey Association!

CALGARY - The Canadian Tire First Shift is pleased to announce the launch of the 2017-2018 application process to become a host Minor Hockey Association for The First Shift program. Minor Hockey Associations are encouraged to review the application criteria and submit an online application.

Application Forms >

The Canadian Tire First Shift Program is designed to ease kids and their families into the sport of hockey in a fun and welcoming environment. It is open to boys and girls ages 6-10 years old, who have never registered to play hockey. The registration fee is $199 for each participant and includes:

  • A Welcome Event - information, education, and an equipment fitting session
  • 6 "learn to play on-ice sessions, implemented by MHA
  • A complete set of Bauer equipment including: Helmet with facemask, neck guard, gloves, jersey & socks, shoulder & elbow pads, pants, skates, shin pads, jock/jill shorts, stick and a bag.

For more program information, visit Additional questions and inquiries can be sent to [email protected]


Mount Royal’s Sarah Weninger, Canada West’s Student-Athlete Community Service honouree

Albertans Weninger, Ganser and Cooke take home Canada West awards

EDMONTON – Three Alberta hockey players highlight the list of 2016-17 major award winners announced today by Canada West.

University of Alberta Panda forward Kennedy Ganser is the Canada West Rookie of the Year in Women’s Hockey, while Mount Royal’s Sarah Weninger is the Student-Athlete Community Service honouree. In Men’s Hockey, University of Saskatchewan netminder Jordon Cooke was named Goalie of the Year.

Ganser, a former Team Alberta forward from Provost, led all Canada West rookies with 17 points this season, suiting up in all 28 games. Her 17 points were two more than UBC Thunderbird Mairead Bast, of Red Deer, while her seven goals were tied with Manitoba Bison Sheridan Oswald for tops among rookies. Ganser also showed her potential as a strong two-way forward, adding 84 shots and a +13 rating this season. Ganser is now the Canada West nominee for the U SPORTS Rookie of the Year.

“Kennedy has been a tremendous addition to our roster. She is the kind of player that coaches can build a program around. She has a high degree of skill and a hockey IQ to match. These abilities have made her a strong addition to all of our specialty situations,” said Howie Draper, head coach of the Pandas. “Despite her smaller stature, she competes like a giant on both sides of the puck. She is already and will continue to be a tough player to play against in the next four years of her career.”

Weninger, a fifth-year forward from Lethbridge, excelled both on and off the ice at Mount Royal. She finished tied for MRU’s scoring title this season, registering nine goals and four assists in 25 games.

Off the ice, Weninger is involved in several volunteer initiatives, including Hockey Alberta’s Hockey Education Reaching Out Society (HEROS) program, which uses the game of hockey to teach life-skills and empower Canada’s marginalized youth. In addition to her involvement with HEROS, Weninger also attended Hockey Alberta’s Future Leaders Camp, which helps prepare coaches to play an active role in Hockey Alberta programs and within their communities.

Academically, Weninger has achieved a combined GPA of 3.66 over her last two academic semesters and is on pace to be an Academic All-Canadian this season. Weninger now moves forward as the conference nominee for the Marion Hilliard Award as the nation’s top student-athlete.

“Sarah is extremely committed to try and better those around her, whether it is in the hockey community, or life in general,” said Scott Rivett, head coach at Mount Royal. “Her relationship with HEROS is truly remarkable. Sarah has brought other players from our team out to work with them and many are continuing to build their own relationships with these kids on a weekly basis and are having a true impact in their lives. We raised over $3,000 and created an evening for these kids that most have never experienced and it was in large part to all the work that Sarah has put in.”

For a second consecutive season Jordon Cooke has been named Canada West’s top goalie, after posting a 19-4-1 record, 1.94 GAA, and .929 SV%. The Leduc native was the backbone of Saskatchewan’s tremendous campaign, which saw the Huskies claim the conference regular season title for a second straight season.

2016-17 has been a phenomenal season for Cooke, as the Leduc, Alta. product was also named to Canada’s team at the Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland over the holiday break. Cooke’s four shutouts this season tied the Canada West single-season record, and his seven career shutouts are the most among any active Canada West goalie.

Cooke now moves forward as the conference nominee for the U SPORTS Goaltender of the Year award, which has been won by a Canada West goalie all but once since being created in 2009-10, including last season by Cooke.

"Last year, Jordon stood out in his first full-year as our No. 1 goaltender. He helped calm a young team, leading us to the Canada West pennant," said Dave Adolph, head coach at the University of Saskatchewan. "In 2016-17, he made things look routine as our team skated to a first-place‎ finish in the regular season. He and our young defence enabled us to lead the league with a very stingy 2.11 goals GAA. He loves to play and loves the challenge. We are very fortunate to have him in a Huskie uniform.”