RED DEER - The Hockey Alberta Foundation has been accepted as a participating charity in the Birdies for Kids program, presented by AltaLink.
Within this fundraising program, Hockey Alberta Foundation will receive 100 per cent of every donation accepted on its behalf and allows for additional funding of up to 50 per cent of the original donation.
This marks the fifth year that the Hockey Alberta Foundation has participated in the Birdies For Kids Program. To date an additional $48,000 has been donated back to the Foundation through the matching funds program.
Help us make every dollar go a little further by donating directly through the Birdies For Kids Program.
To donate by cheque, make the cheque payable to ‘Calgary Shaw Charity Classic Foundation” (indicate ‘Hockey Alberta Foundation’ in the memo section) and mail to:
Calgary Shaw Charity Classic Foundation
421-7th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB T2P 4K9
Shaw Birdies for Kids presented by AltaLink is a non-profit program run under the Calgary Shaw Charity Classic Foundation.
The Hockey Alberta Foundation’s goal is to raise funds to provide EVERY KID in EVERY COMMUNITY the opportunity to play hockey in Alberta. We work in collaboration with partners to fund those who need us, invest in those who will lead us and honour those before us.
League playoffs determined the Alberta Elite Hockey League’s U18 AAA provincial champion. The Calgary Buffaloes completed a three-game sweep over the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers on Wednesday, March 23. The Buffaloes sealed their ticket to the Pacific Regional Championships for a chance to qualify for the TELUS Cup.
In total, 14 provincial champions have been named.
The Brooks Bandits, who have advanced to the South Division Final, await the winning of the Okotoks Oilers and Drumheller Dragons series, with Okotoks currently leading the best-of-seven series 3-2.
In the North Division, the Spruce Grove Saints have already advanced to the third round, with the Drayton Valley Thunder leading the Fort McMurray Oil Barons 3-2. In their North Division Semi-Final series.
Hockey Alberta Progressive 50/50
Hockey Alberta is giving you a chance to win big! From March 17 – April 10, the organization will be launching it’s inaugural progressive 50/50 during the Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships presented by ATB. This weekend’s early bird prize was four LOGE tickets to the Edmonton Oilers vs Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, April 9. The winning ticket number is: C-1266.
Prizes can be claimed by emailing [email protected]. The holder of the winning ticket must reach out by email within 48 hours of the draw.’
The episode also features the podcast’s first 17-person interview, as the entire Lloydminster U13 Female 3 Blazers, who are Alberta’s finalist in this year’s Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup, join the show to chat about their initiative to make the rinks in Lloydminster more accessible for everyone.
RED DEER – Life after minor hockey doesn’t mean your involvement in the game has to end. To share information on what can come next on your hockey journey, Hockey Alberta is hosting “Graduating. What’s Next?” – an online session dedicated to 2004-born players and parents on April 5 at 7pm.
Whether it’s playing, coaching or officiating, the opportunities to stay in the game are endless beyond minor hockey. Hockey Alberta staff will discuss how to navigate the junior and senior streams, answer frequently asked questions and inform players how to get involved as a coach or official.
Those interested in the one-hour session can register by clicking the link below.
CALGARY – The 2022EssoCup and 2022TELUSCup will run from May 16–22 in a centralized location in Alberta, while the Centennial Cup, presented by TimHortons, will be held May 19-29 inEstevan,Sask.
In collaboration with the local organizing committees of its three spring 2022 national championships, Hockey Canada has announced changes to the Esso Cup, TELUS Cup and Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, for this season.
The Prince Albert Bears and Sydney Rush, who were originally scheduled to host the Esso Cup and TELUS Cup, respectively, will remain as host teams for the 2022 events and will travel to Alberta to compete. Hockey Canada will continue to work with the host communities of Prince Albert, Sask., and Cape Breton, N.S., to plan to host future events.
“After having to cancel our spring national championships in 2020 and 2021, we are excited that today’s announcement is one step closer to crowning national champions in May,” said Dean McIntosh, vice-president of events and properties for Hockey Canada. “While we are disappointed we will not be hosting national championships in Prince Albert and Cape Breton this spring, we look forward to returning to both communities in the future. They have been tremendous partners and support the changes that are being made for the benefit of the athletes.”
The new dates for the 2022 Esso Cup and 2022 TELUS Cup will allow for each region to decide a champion through its traditional playdown schedule. The 2022 Centennial Cup, presented by Tim Hortons, will be a 10-team event hosted in partnership with the City of Estevan, Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), with the host Estevan Bruins welcoming the champions of the nine CJHL leagues.
“We would like to thank the local organizing committees, our Members and the CJHL for their collaboration to determine championship formats that ensure the safety for all participants while allowing the leagues the opportunity to finish their seasons and compete for a national title. Moving events of this magnitude is a process that involves all partners, and without the support of all constituents it would not be possible,” added McIntosh.
Schedules and ticket information for the spring 2022 national championships will be announced at a later date.
The Edmonton Pandas will now move on the play in the Pacific Regional Championships for a chance to get to the Esso Cup.
Elsewhere in the province, the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League wrapped up their season with the Lakeland College Kings Energy Group Rustlers defeating the Lethbridge Eagles 4-3 in overtime to secure the championship.
RED DEER – After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the 2022 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships, presented by ATB, are underway.
A total of 32 provincial champions will be crowned this year. Tournament competition will determine 29 provincial champions, with tournament champions emerging from a weekend of round-robin pool play and playoff action in their respective tournaments. In addition, three champions are decided through league playoffs.
Two titles will be awarded this weekend. Next weekend will see another 10 champions crowned. Fifteen more champions will be determined on April 3, along with two champions on April 10.
Provincial championship tournament action is underway this weekend, with the Alberta Female Hockey League’s U18 Female AAA (Calgary) and U15 Female AA (Okotoks). All games in both of these championships are being livestreamed on HockeyTV. Or catch the action live with the U18 Female AAA division facing off at Father David Bauer Arena and the U15 Female AA at Pason Centennial Arena. The puck drops on the championship games on Sunday, March 20 at 1:15 pm (U18 Female AAA) and 1:45 pm (U15 Female AA).
As well, finalists have been set for Alberta Elite Hockey League’s U18 AAA division, as the North Division champion Fort Saskatchewan Rangers are squaring off against the South Division champion Calgary Buffaloes in a best-of-five series. That series opens tonight at 6:45 pm in Fort Saskatchewan at the Jubilee Rec Centre. Game 2 is Sunday in Calgary at 1:45 pm at Cardel Rec South. All games will be livestreamed on HockeyTV.
Provincial championships set for March 24-27 are: Junior C (Sherwood Park), AFHL’s U18 Female AA (hosted by Red Deer in Ponoka), Alberta Elite Hockey League’s U15 AAA (Fort Saskatchewan), U15 AA (Beaumont), U15 Tier 1 (Canmore), U15 Tier 2 (Killam/Sedgewick), U15 Tier 3 (Provost), U15 Tier 4 (Lacombe), U15 Female A (Lethbridge), and U15 Female B (Camrose).
Provincial championships set for March 31 – April 3 are: Junior B (Wainwright), U18 AA (Calgary), U18 Tier 1 (Calgary), U18 Tier 2 (Westlock), U18 Tier 3 (Brooks), U18 Tier 4 (Slave Lake), U18 Female A (Sherwood Park), U18 Female B (Cold Lake), U13 AA (Strathcona), U13 Tier 1 (Grande Prairie), U13 Tier 2 (Rocky Mountain House), U13 Tier 3 (Marwayne/Dewberry), U13 Tier 4 (Sundre), U13 Female A (Picture Butte), and U13 Female B (Calgary).
April 7-10 will round out tournament play with the Senior AA (Fort Saskatchewan) and the AEHL’s U16 AAA (Grande Prairie).
As well, two other champions will be determined via league playoffs: Junior A and Junior Female.
Throughout the duration of the Provincial Championships Hockey Alberta will be running a progressive 50/50, tickets are available online.
For schedules, arenas, host organizations and contacts, and other event-specific information, check the Provincial Championships website at haprovincials.ca.
Today (March 8) is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate women and their achievements. On this day, and throughout the year, Hockey Alberta celebrates women at all levels of the game.
To commemorate the day, Hockey Alberta spoke with two noteworthy Team Alberta alumnae - 2022 Olympic Gold Medalist Emerance Maschmeyer and three-time Olympic medalist, Meaghan Mikkelson.
Mikkelson, from St. Albert, is a two-time Gold-medal Olympian (2010, 2014) and won silver in 2018. She is one of the greatest players to hit the ice with a national career that spanned over 15 years. She looks back to the importance of being exposed to female role models in hockey that pushed her to be the player she is today.
“I look back and think about camps that I went to. There was one at the University of Calgary and I remember Hayley Wickenheiser was there and Danielle Goyette. That was huge for me,” said Mikkelson. “Back then there was no social media, you couldn’t follow these players and see what they were up to or be inspired by what they were doing on a daily basis to become better.”
“Now I think it’s great for young females because they have more access to female hockey players. There’s a lot more visibility in terms of marketing and advertising, companies have made it a priority to put these females out there because they understand the value in how they serve as role models for young hockey players everywhere and not just females, but males as well.”
Maschmeyer, from Bruderheim, is fresh off a Gold Medal performance at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, and is no stranger to the international stage. But she points to her Alberta roots as a key to her success to date.
“I’ve met some incredible people along the way through my journey in Alberta. Growing up in minor hockey, playing in Alberta,” said Maschmeyer. “I’ve had so much support, and this is where my game really grew. As I got older, obviously the small details of my game got better, but where I really became a hockey player was in Alberta.”
Maschmeyer made her debut with Canada’s U18 Women’s Team in 2012. Since then, her journey is similar to other women’s professional hockey players.
After honing her skills in the NCAA with Harvard, Maschmeyer found success in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), where she won a Clarkson Cup before the league folded in 2019. As a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Player Association (PWHPA), Maschmeyer has joined forces with the top females in the game to advocate for a sustainable professional women’s hockey league for the next generation.
“The Olympics came at a great time for us, especially with the last couple years with our professional league folding and with COVID where there has been a little bit of a lull,” said Maschmeyer. “It’s been a tough world for women’s hockey. Seeing the viewership for the games and the amount of support that we had, it really reassures that what we’re doing is great for the game and that we do have that support. It’s awesome to see.”
For Mikkelson, a decorated veteran of the game, the time is now for a professional league.
“To build off of that momentum from the Olympics, we say that every four years, but I think right now we have the most momentum that we’ve ever had,” said Mikkelson. “For there to be a professional women’s league, there needs to be support, there needs to be belief. I really do believe that’s the only way that we’re going to keep that momentum and that we’re going to continue to grow the game. We’re at a pivotal point where the game has grown so much.”
Mikkelson has built her own presence on social media and strives to share the ups and downs of life as a mom, athlete and career-woman. Sharing her journey, she’s considered a role model of many.
“I try to have the most positive impact that I can because I know what a positive impact it had for me as a young player and honestly, it’s an honour to have someone come up to me and so you’re my role model,” said Mikkelson. “I’m lucky that I have two children that I have to serve as a positive role model for them every single day and I take a lot of time and pride in thinking about what do I want that to look like?”
Mikkelson takes the responsibility of being a role model seriously and encourages everyone to set the bar high. And she now takes inspiration from a new set of role models, who are trailblazing in the National Hockey League.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be the GM of an NHL team. That was something that I never vocalized, I never talked about it because I never thought that it was possible. But now recently you see women like Émilie Castonguay and Cammi Granato and what they’re doing as assistant general managers with the Vancouver Canucks, Hayley Wickenheiser with the Toronto Maple Leafs and there are these trailblazing women who are leaving their mark on the game at an extremely high level and it’s showing that they are great hockey minds first,” said Mikkelson. “For me, seeing those women doing what they’re doing, it’s extremely inspiring and it inspired me to be vocal about my passion and my aspirations and my goals.”
Maschmeyer and Mikkelson have become household names in the female hockey world and like all females, wear many hats and have a variety of roles. Mikkelson reminds everyone to take a moment each day and check in on themselves because self-care is important and you’re at your best when your glass is full.
Take the opportunity today to celebrate the women in your life and their achievements in all their roles.
Hockey Alberta’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force has commissioned a survey to better understand your experiences in hockey. The survey has been built to gain perspectives of those in the game, those who have left the game, and those reluctant or unable to participate due to a lack of inclusion.
The survey has been designed to give existing, former, and future participants a voice. This information will provide data, feedback and recommendations to Hockey Alberta and the EDI Task Force to better understand the current environment and to use the findings to help make hockey more inclusive. This is one step towards helping Hockey Alberta promote equity, diversity and inclusion in the sport and drive change in the future.
Your personal data will remain confidential, and information provided will not be linked back to you. Each survey participant will also have the opportunity to enter a draw for one of three $500 prize packages toward participation in sanctioned hockey activities.
Please share this link to anyone you know who can provide insight and feedback on their experiences with issues of inclusion in hockey.
Thank you for taking the time to participate in Hockey Alberta’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion survey.
OKOTOKS - When Zach Lavin first made Canada’s National Para Hockey Team in 2017-18, he set a new goal for himself - to don the maple leaf at the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing. With that goal accomplished, his sights are now set on a gold medal.
"It’s kind of funny," he said. "You look forward to making the team originally, then you set new goals of actually getting some solid minutes and contributing to the team. I’m so excited to finally be named to this roster, but now it’s go time, you know. We’ve been training so long for this, we’ve been through the zoom calls, COVID, and cancellations, and I’m just really excited with this group of guys to just get out there and play some hockey."
Originally from Essex, Ontario, Lavin moved to Alberta roughly a decade ago, and in 2016 his life changed forever. While hiking in Kananaskis Country, Lavin lost his way on a trail, and spent three days trying to find his way back, before a search and rescue crew found him. Due to severe frostbite, doctors had to amputate both of his feet.
As an active, multi-sport athlete, Lavin chose not to let his accident be a tragedy, but rather to turn it into a new challenge and opportunity for himself. Although never actually playing hockey growing up, he found para hockey through a chance encounter in Okotoks.
"After my accident, I felt like I got a second chance at life, and I just wanted a fresh start," he said. "So I ended up at a gym in Okotoks, and met a kind-of Okotoks famous guy there, Chris Cedarstrand. He had kind-of been at the end of his career, and I caught him at the gym, and he brought me out to the rink and introduced me to para hockey for the first time. I was instantly hooked by seeing his speed and the way he could maneuver the puck, so I kind-of got carried away training with him."
While he admits he’s had his ups and downs since his accident, as anyone would, Lavin said finding para hockey has really helped him stay positive and driven.
"I think the biggest thing is just the people you surround yourself with," he said. "I’ve been gifted with an amazing family who have helped me a lot, but I also went to seek out mentors who were successful people, and people who maybe had been in similar situations as myself, and I try to learn and model my actions off of theirs. Meeting all these people, from cancer survivors, to people who fought for our country, and seeing how they took tragedies and turned them into something triumphant, and how they’re carrying on with their lives, it’s been pretty amazing to just see that and try and take what I can from their stories."
Now, with the opportunity to play in the Paralympics for the first time, Lavin is excited to help showcase para hockey to the world, and to be a role model to young athletes who may find themselves in a similar situation as himself.
"I think it’s huge," he said. "I think during this pandemic, we saw a lot of younger programs losing their access to sport, and seeing how detrimental that was for people’s mental health and physical well being. I think there’s a lot of kids out there that maybe, because of their disability, think they won’t get those same benefits through sport. But, I hope when they see us out there, training five or six days a week and giving our all, that they look up to that and they reach out to the grassroots programs and try to find opportunities to do the same."
And for those aspiring para-athletes, Lavin had some simple advice.
"Try and just take the tough times, and digest it," he said. "But, make sure that you have goals that you set forward, so that you can get after those achievements."
With all he’s already accomplished in his life, and in his relatively short time in para hockey, Lavin said a gold medal in Beijing would obviously be the ultimate achievement.
"It’s an amazing feeling just to put the jersey on," he said. "To win a gold medal in hockey, playing for Canada, would be the most amazing thing I think I could ever achieve in my life. I mean, there’s people from coast-to-coast that are with you, supporting you, it’d be the most unreal moment of my life."
RED DEER – Providing a voice and learning about examples of racism and discrimination experienced in hockey are crucial responsibilities for a new Hockey Alberta task force.
Since its creation in October, Hockey Alberta’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Task Force has been working to understand the extent to which racism and lack of inclusion impacts hockey across the province.
“The challenge that most people have is they don’t have a voice, and we felt this committee needed to have a voice, to lend an ear to those individuals that were wanting to provide and share their stories,” said Anton Joseph, the chair of the task force.
Joseph, a business owner in Calgary with an extensive background in sports, is joined on the task force by an impressive group of people representing various races, gender orientations, sports, post-secondary education, and business.
Committee members include:
Taryn Barry: former provincial level soccer player with playing experience in Europe, hockey player at University of Alberta, and currently working on her PhD at the University of Alberta.
Sanjeev Bhagrath: an on-ice official for 25 years with Hockey Alberta, and founder of the Officials’ Diversity Committee in 2020.
Devin Buffalo: former college and pro player, now enrolled in law school at the University of Alberta.
Justin Connelly: on the board of directors with the Calgary Inclusive Hockey Association and currently works at Breakaway Sports Repair.
Lauren Dormer: former U18AAA hockey player and current coach, currently working on her PhD at University of Alberta.
Zahra Nurani: Senior Change Management Consultant, with two daughters currently playing hockey in Alberta.
Claude Vilgrain: former NHL and Olympic hockey player, business owner, and current minor hockey coach.
Darcy Smith: Coordinator, Member Development at Hockey Alberta, with 20 years of experience in the education system.
Rob Litwinski: CEO of Hockey Alberta.
The focus for the task force is to review and build recommendations to address racism in hockey and make the sport more diverse and inclusive for all Albertans, as well as ensuring this is an ongoing, sustainable priority for Hockey Alberta through policies, standards and resources.
“Hockey Alberta was inspired by the work done by Hockey Nova Scotia and its Future of Hockey Lab as we set up this Task Force to help us address issues of equity, diversity and inclusion in our sport. I am grateful that we found a talented and knowledgeable group of Albertans who are committed to assisting Hockey Alberta establish a pathway to make our game better,” said Rob Litwinski, CEO of Hockey Alberta.
A key part of the process is understanding the experiences of former and current players of underrepresented groups and marginalized communities around lack of inclusion and racism in our sport; and the experiences of Albertans who have been reluctant to participate in hockey due to lack of inclusion and racism.
“In order to effect change, you have to be in a position to listen to the concerns that are out there,” Joseph said. “Until we sit down and listen to not only all the stakeholders within hockey, but the outside community as well, and their perception of the sport, we are hard pressed to put forth any change.”
The initial step in the listening process starts on Monday, March 7 with the publication of an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion survey by the task force. The survey will be distributed directly to current and past Hockey Alberta participants, as well as other groups across the province.
The Task Force is looking to better understand the perspectives of those currently in the game, those that may have left the game and those that were reluctant or unable to participate in the game due to a lack of inclusion. For anyone who does not receive a direct link to the survey, a link will be distributed via Hockey Alberta’s social media channels and will be available on the Hockey Alberta website.
Episode Twenty-One of Centre Ice features a trio of Olympic athletes hailing from Alberta - both past and present - as we celebrate the 2022 Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Games in Beijing.
Fresh off her gold medal with Canada’s National Women’s Team, former Team Alberta netminder Emerance Maschmeyer shares her first-ever Olympic experience with us. Then, we’ll hear from Zach Lavin, a forward for Canada’s Para Hockey Team, the day before he travelled to Beijing to take part in his first Paralympic Games.
To wrap things up, three-time Olympian Meaghan Mikkelson, who moved from the ice to the studio, joining CBC’s broadcast team for the 2022 Olympics, talks about her established career, her first experience in broadcasting, and the importance of visibility for female hockey.
Hockey Alberta is updating the AA Hockey Model to introduce new criteria on the minimum number of U13 players in a Recruitment Area for hosting a U13 AA team, as well as amending the numbers at which more than one team will be required. The changes are based on recommendations made to the AA Hockey Committee from an Ad Hoc AA Review Committee that was established in September to address competitive balance at U13 AA and identify the best overall structure for the top category of U13 hockey. Please direct questions through 13 AA Recruitment Area hosts to Hockey Alberta.
Please refer to Information Bulletin 21-06 for more information regarding the changes.