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News

Hockey Canada, BFL Canada Announce Female Coach of the Year Winners

CALGARY – Hockey Canada, in partnership with BFL CANADA, announced the first winners of the BFL Female Coach of the Year awards. Samantha Holmes-Domagala of Calgary has been named as the National Community Winner, and Shanya Shwetz of Edmonton has been named a Regional High Performance winner.

Giving back to the game that has given her so much, Holmes-Domagala coaches her daughter’s teams with Girls Hockey Calgary, serves as director of coaching for Timbits U7, U9 and U11 with the organization and runs skills clinics in Calgary for young girls. The Mississauga, Ont., native played 10 games with Canada’s National Women’s Team, winning gold at the 4 Nations Cup in 2000 and 2004. After playing with the Brampton Thunder of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), she moved west to join the Calgary Oval X-Treme of the Western Women’s Hockey League (WWHL), winning gold at the Esso Women’s Nationals in 2003, and co-founded the Strathmore Rockies (WWHL) in 2008.

Alberta’s High Performance BFL Female Coach of the Year regional winner is Shanya Shwetz of Edmonton. Shanya spent the 2019-20 season as head coach of the Edmonton Pandas Bantam Elite team (AFHL). She has also worked with the Team Alberta Female program, most recently as a Head Coach at the 2020 Alberta Winter Games and Video Coach at the 2019 National Women’s U18 Championship.

A complete list of winners for each category by province and territory can be found HERE.

News

COVID-19 Update – Message from the CEO

To the Members of Hockey Alberta:

During the Member Zoom meetings held in early May, we spoke about the work being undertaken on various fronts to prepare for the return of hockey both in Alberta and across the country. We talked about how there were many questions to which we were looking to obtain and develop the answers.

Last week we all received the update letter from Hockey Canada with regard to COVID-19. Hockey Alberta is aligned with the details outlined in the letter.

Make no mistake, we want hockey back. As the Provincial Sport Organization for hockey in Alberta, this is not just our game, it is our passion.

Everyone involved with our sport recognizes the benefits of hockey for our participants – physically, socially, and emotionally. We know that hockey makes a difference in people’s lives, helps develop individual and group social skills, and is important for the physical literacy of our youth.

Simply said, we believe hockey is important. However, it is not more important than the health and safety of the participants, the larger hockey community, and society in general.

That is why Hockey Alberta is working with Hockey Canada, other provincial branches, and fellow Provincial Sport Organizations in Alberta as we develop our Return to Hockey Plan.

The intention is to provide the framework and minimum standards for any organization in our province to undertake hockey activities. That way, when facilities reopen, and athletes are allowed back on the ice, they can participate safely and securely and in a manner where the participants, their families and all of our other partners and stakeholders are protected and given the best chance for success.

As most of you are aware, opening arenas and recreation facilities currently is in Phase III of the province’s COVID-19 relaunch plan, and no firm timelines have been established for the implementation of Phase III.

We know that not having specific dates or timelines can be unsettling. But it is important for everyone to remember that amateur hockey of any kind cannot be played in Alberta until the government and health officials authorize rinks to be open and outline the minimum safety standards that must be followed.

Hockey Alberta’s responsibility is to have a plan in place that can be adapted to meet those requirements and allow participants back on the ice in a safe atmosphere.

The current focus is to work to ensure our game is ready to go in the fall, if allowed as part of the province’s relaunch plan. We also want to be prepared if rinks open sooner than that because we know that our participants, and the hockey community in general, are clamouring to return to hockey.

What will be included in the Return to Hockey Plan?

First and foremost, the plan abides by government directions with a focus on the health and safety of all involved. It reflects the reality that there will be new requirements in place for the safe operation of hockey facilities, which will impact hockey participants, including a checklist of items that participants will be required to do to be able to step on the ice. This will include items such as when to arrive at the arena, masks, sanitizer, parent access to help tie skates etc. The plan will also include resources and processes that Hockey Alberta will be developing to help our Members establish programming procedures to meet these requirements in a safe environment.

The plan calls for a phased-in approach, in keeping with the planning undertaken by government and health authorities. At this point, the plan has four phases, starting at the developmental program level and working up to a return to the traditional 5-on-5 game. As circumstances evolve and improve, we will update and adapt the plan to best allow for the return of hockey in Alberta.

Hockey Alberta will be seeking input from our associations, leagues, club teams, accredited schools and other stakeholders to help establish a coordinated process and the detailed timeline and parameters of what activities may look like in each phase.

We are committed to keeping our Members, and the larger hockey community, updated as the Return to Hockey plan is finalized and then made ready for implementation.

Rob Litwinski, CEO
Hockey Alberta

Hockey at Home

Hockey at Home with Ali Stead: Drag and Shoot

Hockey Alberta is excited to work with Ali Stead (@never2late2learn.hky) to bring you weekly off-ice skills drills, as part of the Hockey at Home Series.

Ali Stead is a hockey player and social media influencer. Having only started playing hockey a few years ago, she developed her skills quickly, and is now passionate about sharing her love and knowledge for the game. Be sure to check back every week for the latest drill!


Drag and Shoot


No more blocked shots with this skill!

Changing the release angle to shoot around defenders can be the difference between a blocked shot or a goal.

  • Pull puck in towards body with toe of the blade
  • Eyes up before puck leaves blade
  • Apply downward pressure on the stick to create flex
  • Lean forward and towards the target

For more Hockey at Home videos, go to hockeyalberta.ca/hockey-home

News

Online Professional Development opportunities available for coaches

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is running a series of online coach professional development sessions over the coming months, with the first three sessions set for May 28, June 3 and June 4. With a focus on coaches in the minor hockey system, these sessions will cover a number of topics ranging from Hockey I.Q. to coach interviews.

All sessions are open to Hockey Alberta members at no cost, and will be held on a ZOOM meeting platform.

Register >

Date Time Topic Description Facilitator Moderator
Thursday, May 28 6:30pm Mental Performance in Sport What is mental performance, and why it is important for coaches to begin a toolbox of awareness. Barry Medori Stephen Pattison
Wednesday, June 3 6:30pm The Fundamentals of Hockey Sense Exploring all pre-requisite skills of hockey I.Q. Mike McGinnis
Thursday, June 4 6:30pm Preparing for a Coach Interview Understanding what Managers and Administrators look for in Coaching Interviews. Kevin Higo Matt Weninger

News

U16 AA Pilot Project set for 2020-21 season

RED DEER - The South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL) and Hockey Calgary, in partnership with Hockey Alberta’s AA Hockey Committee, have agreed to operate a U16 AA division during the 2020-21 season, in order to review and determine the place for this category of hockey going forward.

This Pilot Project stems from ongoing conversation in Alberta about providing additional options for 15-year-old players entering the U18 division (formally Midget), so that they can continue their development with like sized and like skilled players. Currently, the U16 AAA category of hockey is the only opportunity for 15-year-old players across the entire province to participate exclusively together. Additionally, the Rural & Edmonton Hockey League (REMHL) provides this option for players in select areas north of Red Deer.

The AA Hockey Committee has identified 11 host Minor Hockey Associations, who will each operate one team within the U16 AA division. Of those 11, seven currently host AA programs in the SCAHL, while four operate AA programs within Hockey Calgary. Additionally, those seven Host MHAs from the SCAHL have had Recruitment Areas assigned to them, which will allow them to draw 15-year-old players from their designated Recruitment Area to form their team.

Full details on the Pilot Project are outlined on the New for 2020-21 page.

NEW FOR 2020-21 >

Home Ice Feature

Stories from the Rink: Alix/Clive Minor Hockey Association highlights star volunteer

ALIX, AB - As parents arrive at the rink on frigid Saturday mornings throughout the winter, they joke to themselves about seeing Tyler Copland’s truck parked in "his spot", as he is always the first to arrive before a game. Whether it’s as a board member, coach, friend, mentor, parent, or sponsor, Tyler wears many hats in the town of Alix.

Since his boys began playing hockey with the Alix and Clive combined association, Tyler has been involved as a volunteer on different levels. He invests a great deal of time and energy into helping mentor the kids during every practice and game. When one game ends, he is typically gearing up to head to another arena to support his other son’s teams.

"Tyler has only missed a handful of practices and games over the years. His commitment is impressive, as is the message he has for the kids: just keep showing up, regardless of what struggle might be in front of you, just keep showing up," said Lori Gibson, who shared the story with Hockey Alberta. "He doesn’t tell the kids what dedication is, he lives it every day."

Tyler’s positive attitude is infectious throughout the teams he coaches. He is always quick to flash a smile and joke around with the kids, and holds nothing back when it comes to helping the players achieve their goals. Always keeping things light and fun, he loves nothing more than celebrating an accomplishment for anyone on his team whether it’s a goal, assist, win, or just a great shift.

As the first guy to the rink to open the rooms and set out the pucks, a supporter of the concessions and 50/50 draws, and yearly corporate sponsor, Tyler values the deep roots he has created in his community, and they would like to thank him for everything he has done.


If you have a great story or volunteer that you would like Hockey Alberta to highlight, please send the information to [email protected].

Hockey at Home

Hockey at Home Goalie Skills - Passing from a Butterfly Position

As part of the Hockey at Home Series, Hockey Alberta will publish a weekly video focused on goaltender skills drills that can be done at home.

This week, Team Alberta alumna, University of Calgary Dinos goaltender Dayna Owen shows how to practice passing fro a butterfly position. Check back every Saturday for the latest goalie skills video!


Passing from a Butterfly Position

Now is the perfect time to improve your puck-handling and passing, this drill can assist you in improving your passing skills as you get ready for next season!

Being able to control a dump in on net and make a quick pass to your teammates can assist your team in breaking the puck out of your own zone. In season and during team drills these skills, without deliberate focus and repetitions, can be easily overlooked which will ultimately limit performance. When practicing this skill try to keep the eyes up as much as possible, there will always be a need to “check” the puck but push yourself to keep your eyes up, when possible, to be able to scan and evaluate incoming forecheckers. This drill can be done with a puck or a ball, whichever works best for your training. When practicing these skills, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Start in an down/butterfly stance – Chest up, weight over your knees, eyes downward, chin in front of knees
  • Hands away from the body, blocker and glove are positioned in front of the body. Elbows are bent and hands are ready.
  • Establish visual connection on the puck and track the puck all the way into your or glove – eyes remain on the puck all the way in.
  • Once the puck is in your glove, turn your glove down towards the ground and move your glove towards the ground to place the puck on the ground.
  • You want to do this quickly and with some force so that once the puck makes contact with the ground and so it will lay flat while in your glove.
    • Avoid dropping the puck down as it can roll and make it more difficult to control.
  • Take your glove off the ground, come back up in your butterfly to complete the passing sequence.
  • For the passing portion: hands are away from the body, blocker is positioned mid-way up the shaft of the stick and the glove hand is positioned in an inverted grip above the paddle of the stick
    • The glove can rotate to a standard player grip on the stick – based on the skill set of the goaltender
  • Glove hand applies downward pressure and prepares to pass the puck
  • Sweep the puck along the surface and pass towards your target
  • To progress this drill:
    • Head is up to read options to make the pass
    • Do this on your backhand – this motion would be more of a sweep pass on your backhand
    • Have someone flash a different number of fingers every 2-3 seconds
    • Place obstacles to encourage saucer passes
    • Incorporate footwork patterns prior to the butterfly & dump in/”shot” (smaller shuffles, bigger T-Push like cross crease movements, etc)

Hockey Alberta Goaltender Guide >


For more Hockey at Home videos, go to hockeyalberta.ca/hockey-home

Hockey at Home

Hockey at Home with Crash Conditioning - Alberta Cup Alumni

Doug ’Crash’ Crashley of Crash Conditioning Ltd is back with a new, trimmed-down version of Hockey at Home with Crash Conditioning!

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep us all at home, it’s important to maintain strength, conditioning and proper nutrition as much as possible. Follow along with Crash each week as he takes us through a routine to help everyone become a ’Crashlete’ at home!

Episode seven features Alberta Cup alumni Ronan Seeley, Alex Mack and Bowden Singleton.

Hockey at Home

Hockey at Home with Ali Stead: Jump Shot

Hockey Alberta is excited to work with Ali Stead (@never2late2learn.hky) to bring you weekly off-ice skills drills, as part of the Hockey at Home Series.

Ali Stead is a hockey player and social media influencer. Having only started playing hockey a few years ago, she developed her skills quickly, and is now passionate about sharing her love and knowledge for the game. Be sure to check back every Thursday for the latest drill!


Jump Shot


Mix up your shooting routine with this quick and deceptive shot release! Elite players have the ability to shoot off either foot in stride or from a glide. Mastering the jump shot at home will help you shoot in stride next season!

  • Eyes up before puck leaves the stick blade
  • Toes pointing towards net
  • Release puck at the exact same time foot hits the ground

For more Hockey at Home videos, go to hockeyalberta.ca/hockey-home

News

Hockey Canada’s Open Letter to Canadians

AN OPEN LETTER TO CANADIANS FROM HOCKEY CANADA:

First, and most importantly, to the front-line and essential workers who have gone above and beyond around the clock to keep Canadians safe – a simple thank you is not nearly enough for what you have done over the last three months.

Second, to our Members, partners, local hockey associations, volunteers and fans across Canada, thank you for keeping the spirit of hockey alive. Unprecedented times have called for unprecedented efforts at every level of the game.

As provinces and territories phase in a plan to reopen in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are questions about when hockey will return, and how it will look when it does.

Hockey Canada and its Members are diligently working on a multifaceted return-to-hockey plan that will happen when, and only when, provincial and territorial governments and health authorities deem it safe to do so.

This plan includes everything from health and safety regulations to communications, seasonal structure, customer engagement and national teams.

As the return-to-hockey plan progresses, it will do so at different speeds, and at different times, across the country, based on direction from health authorities. And the game will look different, that much we do know. We ask for patience as we continue to work towards ensuring hockey plays its role in bringing the sports community back.

The health and safety of everyone involved in the game will determine when we return, not our desire to get back on the ice. When our country is ready, Hockey Canada will be ready. Until then, continue to follow the guidelines set by your provincial and territorial government to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Only by working together will we be able to make a difference and safely return.

For more information and regular updates, please visit hockeycanada.ca/returntohockey.

Thank you for your passion and dedication to our game, and we hope to see you around the rink as soon as possible.

Michael Brind’Amour

Chair, Board of Directors

Tom Renney

Chief Executive Officer

Scott Smith

President & COO

Hockey at Home

Hockey at Home Goalie Skills - Recovery

As part of the Hockey at Home Series, Hockey Alberta will publish a weekly video focused on goaltender skills drills that can be done at home.

This week, Team Alberta alumna, University of Calgary Dinos goaltender Dayna Owen shows how to practice recovering from a desperation save. Check back every Saturday for the latest goalie skills video!


Recovery

Oftentimes, goaltenders do not get the opportunity to practice good recovery habits in drills during the season. Now is the perfect time to work on good habits that can help get you ready for next season!

Being able to recover and move across the crease efficiently is a key element to having your feet ready and set for the next shot. You can isolate your recovery and agility skills, or you can combine them with tracking exercises to your glove and blocker. In season and during team drills these skills, without deliberate focus and repetitions, can be easily overlooked which will ultimately limit performance. This drill can be done with a puck or a ball, whichever works best for your training. When practicing these skills, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  • Start laying on your back – you can have your feet towards the shooter or away.
  • Quickly get into an athletic stance – remember to keep your ankles/knees bent, chest up and back straight,
    • Hands away from the body, blocker and glove are positioned in front of the body. Elbows are bent and hands are ready.
  • Establish visual connection on the ball as soon as possible and track the ball all the way into your blocker (or glove) – eyes remain on the ball all the way in.
    • If you do not catch it, square up to the rebound to practice good habits
  • Make sure to do this on both sides (glove and blocker)
  • If you are incorporating footwork/crease movements with this drill, remember to:
    • Stop using the lead leg
    • Make sure to square up your shoulders to the “shooter” (or ball being thrown)
    • Push yourself to set your feet prior to the “shot”
  • To progress this drill:
    • Use smaller objects such as a ping pong or golf ball
    • Have the “shooter” move to different positions so that you have to scan and recognize where they are
    • Bounce a reaction ball of the floor towards the goaltender
    • Incorporate different plyometrics prior to throwing the ball (starting face down on the ground, laying down & getting up, burpees, skater hops, etc)
    • Obstacles can be placed to simulate a screen (depending on the skill set of the goaltender)
    • Change up the footwork patterns (smaller shuffles, bigger T-Push like cross crease movements, etc)

Hockey Alberta Goaltender Guide >


For more Hockey at Home videos, go to hockeyalberta.ca/hockey-home

News

Photo Credit: Rob Wallator


Hockey Alberta announces changes to Team Alberta Summer Development Programs

RED DEER - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Hockey Alberta has been monitoring and evaluating our 2020 Team Alberta Summer High Performance Programs. The primary concern is ensuring the safety of our players, officials, coaches, volunteers and families involved in our development programs.

As a result, Hockey Alberta is cancelling the 2020 U16 Female Summer Development Camp and postponing the U18 Female and U16 Male High Performance Summer Camps.

Hockey Alberta and Team Alberta urge everyone to take all precautions to stay safe. Follow the directions of local, provincial and federal health and government authorities as we work together with fellow Albertans, and citizens across the country, to help resolve this situation. More information about Government of Alberta protocols and recommendations can be found here.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we continue to work through these uncharted waters.


For more on the changes to the program, please review this FAQ document.

Why did Hockey Alberta revise its 2020 High Performance Camps?

The prime concern for Hockey Alberta is player safety. With arenas closed across the province, athletes have not been able to train on ice for several months. We do not want to risk injury to any athlete by returning too quickly. We want to ensure that our athletes have the ability to return to the ice prior to our camps and that each athlete has the best chance for success at these camps.

Why did Hockey Alberta cancel the U16 Female Development Camp?

Due to the uncertainty around when camps can be held again, Hockey Alberta has streamlined its player development camp schedule. Only the camps that lead to team selection have been kept on the schedule for 2020 as these programs lead a Regional/National competition. Conducting the U16 Male and U18 Female High Performance Camps allows Hockey Alberta to identify the players for the WHL Cup and U18 National Championships.

Do you have tentative dates for rescheduled camps?

No, these camps are postponed until further notice. Without a clear timeline on returning to the rinks, we do not feel comfortable scheduling tentative camps at this point in time. We want to ensure that we are following the guidelines from the Provincial Government as well as Hockey Canada’s Return to Hockey framework on when it is safe to return to hockey. We will work to ensure that all athletes across the province will be able to access on ice training and arena facilities prior to attending a Team Alberta High Performance Camp.

What is the process that will be used for camp invitations?

Hockey Alberta is not extending any camp invitations to athletes at this time. Hockey Canada, Hockey Alberta, and the other Member Branches are reviewing the situation and its potential impact to previously scheduled Regional/National competitions. As more information becomes available, we will work with our Member Associations, Leagues and Club Teams to ensure Team Alberta camps will not conflict with team schedules so athletes are able to participate. Once dates are set, Hockey Alberta will solicit input from coaches, scouts, and other personnel within our scouting network to determine a short list of players. Invitations will then be issued from the Hockey Alberta office.

Will the U18 Female and U16 Male High Performance Camps be the same structures as previous years?

No, each camp will have a reduced number of participants.

Will the WHL Cup and U18 Nationals be hosted in their original time frame?

Hockey Canada, Hockey Alberta, and the other Member Branches are currently reviewing the situation. An update to this FAQ document will be provided once more information is provided.


If you have any questions regarding the Team Alberta High Performance Programs, please contact either Mike Kraichy, Manager of Team Alberta ([email protected]) or Kendall Newell, Manager of Female Hockey ([email protected]).

Hockey at Home

Hockey at Home With Crash Conditioning - Featuring Jordan Eberle, Jake Neighbours, and Ozzy & Oasiz Wiesblatt

Doug ’Crash’ Crashley of Crash Conditioning Ltd is back with a new, trimmed-down version of Hockey at Home with Crash Conditioning!

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep us all at home, it’s important to maintain strength, conditioning and proper nutrition as much as possible. Follow along with Crash each week as he takes us through a routine to help everyone become a ’Crashlete’ at home!

Episode six features Team Alberta alumni Jordan Eberle (New York Islanders), Jake Neighbours (Edmonton Oil Kings), Ozzy Wiesblatt (Prince Albert Raiders) and Oasiz Wiesblatt (Medicine Hat Tigers).


Hockey at Home Series >

Ice Times Newsletter

ICE TIMES: Edition 20:09

Hockey Alberta Newsletter

HOCKEY CANADA’S OPEN LETTER TO CANADIANS

First, and most importantly, to the front-line and essential workers who have gone above and beyond around the clock to keep Canadians safe – a simple thank you is not nearly enough for what you have done over the last three months. Second, to our Members, partners, local hockey associations, volunteers and fans across Canada, thank you for keeping the spirit of hockey alive. Unprecedented times have called for unprecedented efforts at every level of the game. FULL LETTER >


HOCKEY ALBERTA AWARDS ANNOUNCED

Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the recipients of the annual Hockey Alberta Awards. These Awards allow Hockey Alberta and the Alberta hockey community to recognize outstanding individuals and teams for their hard work and accomplishments in making a positive difference for our participants in the game of hockey during the 2019-20 season. RECIPIENTS >


Hockey Alberta Newsletter

AHHF INDUCTION GALA POSTPONED UNTIL 2021

The induction gala for the 2020 Class of the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally scheduled for July 19 in Canmore, the celebration event for the Class of 2020 will be held in July 2021. INFO >


Hockey Alberta Newsletter

MINOR LEAGUES TO IMPLEMENT U15 NON-CHECKING/BODY CONTACT ONLY FOR TIERS 4-6

Hockey Alberta’s Minor Leagues Committee, represented by Alberta’s six (6) tiered Minor Hockey Leagues (CAHL, NAI, NEAHL, All Peace, Edmonton Federation & Hockey Calgary) have unanimously supported the implementation of non-checking/body contact only hockey at the Tiers 4 – 6 categories of the U15 division for the 2020-2021 season. INFO >


AFHL FAQs FOR THE 2020-21 SEASON

While there is some uncertainty regarding the 2020-21 season, the AFHL is remaining optimistic that the hockey season will begin as scheduled, and is working to stay as prepared as possible for when a decision is made by Hockey Canada’s Board of Directors, in conjunction with public health officials. FAQ >


Hockey Alberta Newsletter

HOCKEY AT HOME - CONDITIONING, SKILL DEVELOPMENT, AND GOALIE TRAINING

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep us all at home, it’s important to keep active, eat healthy, and even work on some hockey skills. Hockey Alberta is working with Crash Conditioning, Ali Stead (@never2late2learn.hky), and various goalie and Team Alberta resources to bring you weekly tips on how to stay ready for hockey’s return. HOCKEY AT HOME VIDEOS >


Hockey Alberta Newsletter


Hockey Alberta Newsletter

Hockey at Home

Hockey at Home with Ali Stead: Edge Work

Hockey Alberta is excited to work with Ali Stead (@never2late2learn.hky) to bring you weekly off-ice skills drills, as part of the Hockey at Home Series.

Ali Stead is a hockey player and social media influencer. Having only started playing hockey a few years ago, she developed her skills quickly, and is now passionate about sharing her love and knowledge for the game. Be sure to check back every Thursday for the latest drill!


Edge Work


Summer is the perfect time to have fun with edge work! Not only is inline a great way to work strength and stride, it can also help with ankle mobility and balance.

Tight Turn

  • Do not cross hands
  • Lead with your eyes, body will follow
  • Crossover when exiting the turn

Eagle Turn

  • Lean slightly forward
  • Keep hands away from body
  • Slip/move the puck into areas

For more Hockey at Home videos, go to hockeyalberta.ca/hockey-home