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2022-23 NHL/NHLPA First Shift Applications Now Open

The application period for local hockey associations wishing to host the NHL/NHLPA First Shift in 2022-23 is now open!

A truly unique experience designed to help kids fall in love with hockey. The six-week learn to play program continues to focus on having fun while learning basic skills. Full head-to-toe Bauer equipment is included with registration.

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift mission is to change the way hockey is offered, to inspire new families to join our community, and enroll their kids in our sport. Because of the program’s belief in all that hockey has to offer kids, their families and our communities, the NHL/NHLPA First Shift was designed to make hockey accessible, affordable, safe and most importantly, fun!

The plan for 2022-23 is to host 160 programs (coed, all girls and para hockey) resulting in the potential registration of more the 6,000 participants, as well as the return of ‘’A programs’’ with 45 participants. The NHL/NHLPA First Shift partners are committed to ensuring the program and the sport of hockey welcomes participants, no matter the race, gender, religion, ability, or sexual orientation. A more inclusive future creates avenues for new players across all backgrounds the chance to inspire the next generations on and off the ice. We believe diversity makes us all stronger and want to ensure opportunities are available for everyone to be welcomed into the hockey community.

We encourage local hockey associations to share their intentions for any equity, diversity and inclusion focused programming.

For more information on the program please go to or apply immediately to host an event by CLICKING HERE.

Centre Ice Podcast

Centre Ice Podcast - Episode Nine: Coaching Success Stories

Episode Nine of the Centre Ice Podcast features a pair of Alberta’s coaching success stories, with former National Women’s Team Coach and four-time Olympic gold medalist Mel Davidson, and Colorado Avalanche Assistant Coach Ray Bennett, who’s been coaching in the NHL for over 20 years.

Both coaches share their stories of rising through the ranks from small-town Alberta to coaching at the highest level, and their words of advice and wisdom for coaches across the province.

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Episode Links: Hockey’s Path Forward > | Team Alberta Events Postponed > | Alberta’s Lacey Senuk to Officiate at 2021 Women’s World Championship >

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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!


Alberta’s Lacey Senuk to officiate at 2021 Women’s World Championship

HALIFAX/TRURO - Alberta’s own Lacey Senuk is among the on-ice officials selected to work the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Nova Scotia in May.

She was named today by the IIHF as a referee for the event. The 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship runs May 6-16 in Halifax and Truro.

Senuk is a Level 5 referee in the North Region and has worked many prestigious international hockey events. In 2017-18 season, she earned an IIHF U18 assignment in Russia. And this year, she followed up by refereeing the 4-Nations Cup gold medal game. She also refereed the gold medal game from the world women’s championship in Espoo, Finland in 2019.

Senuk was named Hockey Alberta’s Official of the Year for 2019. Her career includes having worked two Esso Cups, the Canada Winter Games, two U18 Women’s national championships, three 4-Nations Cup events, and eight IIHF championships. She also serves as an important resource at the regional level as a mentor and instructor for aspiring officials in the Edmonton area.


In Memoriam - Ron Panchyshyn

RED DEER - Ron Panchyshyn, one of the founders of the Officiating Program in Alberta, passed away on February 27 at the age of 82, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Ron started his officiating career in 1964, working at all levels including University and Major Junior, and multiple national and international championships. Ron was one of the first Level 6 officials in Alberta and Canada, when the Level system started in 1976. Off the ice, Ron was a tireless volunteer who served as tournament chairman at dozens of local and national events. He spent four years as the North Zone Chair, 13 years as the Past Chair, and was the third Provincial Chairman in Alberta (1986-90). Ron also served 14 years on the Board of Directors for Hockey Alberta.

Ron was inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 and was named a Life Member of the Hockey Alberta Officials Committee in 1998.

Ron was also an influential referee supervisor, mentoring officials such as George McCorry, Mike Rebus, Dave Shaw, and Lance Roberts, who all became Level 6 officials. He was committed to Grassroots officiating, teaching clinics as early as 1973 and was the first referee coordinator for the Edmonton Minor Hockey Week which started in 1964. One of his proudest accomplishments was negotiating the donation of officiating services to that tournament, a tradition that carries on to this day.

Ron was a loving and devoted husband to his wife, Joyce, and a man who lived and loved for his children and grandchildren. One of Ron’s favourite things was to watch his grandchildren play hockey and football.

The family is asking for those that wish to do so, donations be made in Ron’s name to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

Centre Ice Podcast

Centre Ice Podcast - Episode Eight: Hockey is for Everyone

Episode Eight of the Centre Ice Podcast takes a closer look at the inequality and discrimination faced by many in the game, but also focuses on the steps being taken to make hockey a safe and welcoming place for everyone.

This episode features Minnesota Wild defenceman Matt Dumba and his father, long-time Hockey Alberta Official Charle Dumba speaking about the discrimination their family has faced, and the work being done to eradicate racism in hockey, including Matt’s involvement in the Hockey Diversity Alliance. Sanjeev Bhagrath, a Sikh Official from Edmonton, shares his own experiences of racism and inequality, and Pittsburgh Penguins President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke speaks on the You Can Play initiative, and the work being done to eradicate homophobia from hockey.

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Episode Links: Hockey’s Path Forward > | Hockey Diversity Alliance > | Hockey Alberta Officials > | Coach of the Month Nominations > | Host the First Shift in Your Community > | The Coaches Site Global Skills Showcase > | Foundation Accepted into Birdies for Kids Program > | You Can Play Project >

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!