Congratulations to Ashley Shrode and Allyson Bendfeld on being named Alberta’s 2021 BFL Female Coaches of the Year by Hockey Canada. Through the BFL Female Coach of the Year, Hockey Canada’s mission is to recognize coaches who are leaders in hockey and leaders in life, both in community and high performance leagues.
2021 Alberta BFL Female Coach of the Year – Community
Shrode has coached with the Barrhead Minor Hockey Association for nine years, currently with the U9 program. She embodies sportsmanship and fair play by ensuring players receive equal playing time and are treated with respect, and she provides a positive experience to players, officials and parents. Shrode is committed to the development of players on and off the ice, as she works with minor hockey associations and mentors coaches through her through her company called GAS’D, an acronym for Goals and Attitude Skills Development.
“Being selected for this award is a great accomplishment and a great reminder that it does matter,” said Shrode. “I don’t coach for the recognition, I coach to be a part of the athletes milestone in achieving their goals. Being able to help with their core fundamentals in skill development is so rewarding.”
Whether it is through coaching with Barrhead, Team Alberta, Whitecourt Minor Hockey or her company, Shrode is dedicated to the sport of hockey, to the players and to making the sport grow.
2021 Alberta BFL Female Coach of the Year – High Performance
Bendfeld is a 15-year veteran behind the bench who currently works with the Olds College Broncos of the ACAC. Her coaching philosophy emphasizes what can be controlled and reacting to situations on and off the ice. She believes that within the game of hockey, everyone is working to be the best versions of themselves and that mistakes will always occur no matter how you are involved in the game.
“I am extremely honoured to be nominated and then to be selected (for this award). Coaching has always been something that I do to have fun and give back to the game that I love so much,” said Bendfeld. “It is always nice to be recognized for the time, hard work and dedication that it takes to coach, I hope it inspires others to do the same.”
As a former student-athlete, Bendfeld can relate to the pressure her players feel when trying to balance academics and athletics. Her connection to the players underscores the importance of the development of each player by focusing on a foundation of well-being, making her an excellent role model for the young adults with whom she works.
BFL Female Coach of the Year
Coaches from coast to coast were nominated for Hockey Canada’s BFL Female Coach of the Year award. A selection committee chose the provincial and territorial winners for each category based on fair play and sportsmanship, emphasis on emotional and physical well-being of players, and commitment to developing every player and dedication to the game on and off the ice.
The selection committee consisted of Olympic gold medalists, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Gina Kingsbury and Caroline Ouellette; Steve Lacoste vice-president of sports and leisure with BFL; and Teal Gove, manager of hockey development with Hockey Canada.
Each provincial and territorial winner receives a $1,000 bursary. A national winner from each category will be announced in June.