This morning, Hockey Canada’s Tom Renney, chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, issued a statement on the return-to-hockey process in Canada. The statement included the following announcement:
“After ongoing discussions with the board of directors, our chief medical officer, the 13 Members and public health authorities across the country, it has been determined that the best approach for a return to hockey in Canada is to allow each Member the opportunity to work with authorities in their respective regions to determine when it is safe to return to the ice in areas that fall under their jurisdiction. We expect the timing of each Member’s return to hockey will be different, but will be based on the advice of their government and public health authority.”
For Hockey Alberta, this statement means that when arenas reopen as part of the government of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy, our Members may resume on-ice, sanctioned activities – subject to compliance with current health and safety standards in Alberta and Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey plan. The reopening of arenas in Alberta is still slated to occur in Phase 3 of the province’s Relaunch strategy. Hockey Alberta is participating in information sessions with the government, and if we can assist with the plan to reopen arenas, we will.
Hockey Alberta continues to work with Hockey Canada, other provincial branches, and Provincial Sport Organizations in Alberta to develop a Return to Hockey Plan for this province. The plan will include safety and risk guidelines and requirements, along with a phased-in approach on the ice. Hockey Alberta has identified a group of Member representatives who will review the proposal, and we are committed to circulating a formal draft to all Members by June 15. Throughout the process, we expect several revisions as circumstances change and feedback is received.
In the meantime, the statement by Hockey Canada means that sanctioned, off-ice hockey-related activities may be held, as long as they are operated in accordance with current health and safety standards in Alberta. Off-ice training consists of any activity organized by a Hockey Alberta Member or sanctioned organization that takes place off-ice and meets specified criteria as outlined by Hockey Canada.
It there are questions pertaining to the Hockey Canada announcement or Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey plan, please submit via email to: [email protected].
The Return to Hockey Plan incorporates the current requirements outlined in Stage 2 of the Government of Alberta’s Relaunch Plan, health and safety guidelines from Hockey Canada, and programming, registration and sanctioning for Hockey Alberta.
The health and safety of all participants in the sport is of paramount importance in all activities outlined in the Return to Hockey Plan. The threats and challenges posed by COVID-19 require specific steps to be taken to allow hockey back on the ice, and this plan addresses those requirements.
“It is important for our Members and families to know that there is a plan for hockey in Alberta for the coming season. Our players will be able to have fun, socialize with teammates and peers, and enjoy positive experiences in our game,” said Rob Litwinski, CEO of Hockey Alberta. “The Plan includes options to group players according to skill levels and engage in competition as they continue to develop their skills in preparation for returning to regular season play.”
The Return to Hockey Plan has three components:
Off-Season Skill Development
The Development components provide direction on types of hockey activities that can be offered utilizing Physical Distancing or Cohorting; requirements for organizations in determining who is eligible to participate; estimated timelines for each component; travel and other limitations; and registration and sanctioning requirements.
The Return to Hockey Plan – including the timelines included within it - is subject to change, as new guidelines and requirements are put in place by the Government of Alberta.
RED DEER – With the ever-changing landscape and an elevated focus on athlete and participant safety, Hockey Alberta is excited to announce a new partnership with Vereburn Medical Supply.
The partnership sees Vereburn Medical Supply provide Hockey Alberta members with a reduced rate on complete medical kits and supplies.
“Vereburn Medical Supply is honored and excited to partner with Hockey Alberta to provide members with access to exclusive medical kits as well as extended discounts on their required sports medicine supplies” said Matt Veres, President Vereburn Medical Supply.
Vereburn, based in Calgary, is Canada’s leading wholesale manufacturer and distributor of products and equipment focusing on the sports medicine, emergency medical, healthcare and first aid markets. Current partners include the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association and U Sports, and Vereburn was an All-Star Contributor to the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
“Hockey Alberta is pleased to be able to partner with Vereburn Medical Supply in a way that ensures the safety of our participants is front of mind and provides a service to our members. When our members start preparing for a safe return to hockey, we hope the partnership with Vereburn is utilized getting the necessary medical first aid supplies in place,” said Mike Klass, Director of Business Operations for Hockey Alberta.
For more information on Vereburn Medical Supply, go to vereburn.com.
CALGARY - Ten Albertans are among the 113 players invited to Canada’s National Under-17 Development Camp in July.
Defenceman Keaton Dowhaniuk, along with forwards Nate Danielson, Josh Davies, Jordan Gustafson, Reiger Lorenz, Rylen Roersma, Matthew Savoie, Bowden Singleton, Oasiz Wiesblatt and Koehn Ziemmer will all take part in the virtual camp.
The camp runs July 19-25, with a variety of sessions focusing on player development through online education.
CALGARY - Seven Albertans are among the 109 female athletes invited to the BFL Canada National Women’s Development Team and National Women’s Under-18 team summer camps.
Hockey Canada has announced a pool of 109 of the country’s top young players invited to participate in a pair of virtual camps with Canada’s National Women’s Program.
Goaltender Sophie Lajeunesse (Calgary), blueliner Dayle Ross (Spirit River), and forwards Kyle Perry (Ponoka) and Sarah Wozniewicz (Cochrane) will attend the BFL National Women’s Under-18 Team Summer Camp. Wozniewicz is one of three players who won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2020 IIHF U18 Women’s Championship.
As for the BFL Canada National Women’s Development Team Summer Camp, defender Stephanie Markowski and forwards Kassy Betinol and Danielle Serdachny are among the 59 players invited.
Former Team Alberta coach Howie Draper (Edmonton) is on staff as Head Coach of the U18 team, while Mel Davidson (Oyen) returns as Head Scout for the program.
As the virtual meetings progress through the summer, the athletes will cover topics that include at-home strength and conditioning plans, mental performance plans and check-ins, nutrition, dry-land skills, skating simulations, team-building activities, short-term international competition preparation and meetings with coaches.
The online sessions will take place up to twice weekly, with critical information being communicated to athletes to allow them to continue to evolve as high-performance athletes in this new environment, and will utilize the strengths and experience of Canada’s National Women’s Program leadership to help connect one-on-one, athlete-to-athlete.
RED DEER - The Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL) has unveiled its new logo that will be used for the 2020-21 season and beyond.
"We are incredibly proud of the direction the AFHL has taken elite female hockey in Alberta over the last four seasons," said Kendall Newell, Manager of Female Hockey. "Our new logo represents the bright future that we envision for our league and players."
CALGARY - Eight Albertans are among the 41 players invited to Canada’s virtual National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp.
Sebastian Cossa (Fort McMurray) and Taylor Gauthier (Calgary) are among the five goaltenders invited to the camp. Defencemen Bowen Byram (Lethbridge/Cranbrook), Kaiden Guhle (Sherwood Park) and Matthew Robertson received invites as well, along with forwards Ridly Greig (Lethbridge), Dylan Holloway (Bragg Creek) and Peyton Krebs (Okotoks).
The virtual summer camp runs July 27-31, where players will participate in a variety of sessions with a focus on player development through online education.
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.
In the final video of the series, Team Alberta alumna, University of Calgary Dinos goaltender Dayna Owen shows how to work on agility and hand-eye coordination at the same time. Hockey Alberta would like to send a huge thank you to Dayna for all of her hard work over the last 10 weeks, and for sharing her drills and tips with goalies across the province!
Hockey Alberta is excited to partner with Doug ’Crash’ Crashley of Crash Conditioning Ltd to bring a weekly series to the homes of hockey players across Alberta, focused on strength and conditioning.
In the final episode of the series, Crash welcomes guests Dr James Werner (DC., CSCS , Masters of Sport Medicine), Kurtis Freter (Senior Athletic Performance Coach), Steve Serdachny (B.ED,S.P.E NHL Skating & Skills Coach), Noah Serdachny, and Nicholas Unruh.
Hockey Alberta sends a sincere thank you to Crash, the entire Crash Conditioning team, and all those who made a special guest appearance in the series for their hard work, and for helping us all keep in shape at home!
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. This week’s skill is a tight turn.
As the Hockey at Home series comes to an end, Hockey Alberta would like to thank Ali for her contributions over the last 10 weeks, helping everyone keep their skills sharp while at home!
Escapability is very important for all players, practice your tight turning skills with this simple drill.
Although ’follow your dreams’ is a common phrase, few people have taken that advice to heart quite like Kodie Curran.
At age 30, the Calgarian recently signed his first NHL deal with Anaheim Ducks - a two-year, one-way contract, the culmination of years of hard work, perseverance, and a seemingly unmatched love for the game.
After two productive seasons in the Swedish Hockey League, including a league MVP title this past season, the blueliner caught the eye of NHL scouts, and the Ducks announced the signing on June 1.
While Curran’s unorthodox pathway to the NHL isn’t completely unheard of, it’s certainly not the ’cookie cutter’ route that many take to hockey’s highest level.
"I think a lot adversity through my career that I’ve had to battle," said Curran of his journey so far. "Not saying that other guys don’t, but there’s late bloomers, and then there’s really late bloomers, and I was a really late bloomer. I didn’t start playing high-end hockey until maybe I was 20, and then I took a bit of a break, and really got into my element when I was about 25."
Kodie with his wife, Caitlin, and daughter Remi. (Photo courtesy of Kodie Curran)
Curran was certainly no stranger to adversity in his younger hockey days. After playing Bantam AAA with the Calgary Buffaloes organization, he was passed over in the WHL Bantam draft, and went on to play Midget AA (playing forward at the time), while many of his peers and former teammates were playing Midget AAA, and trending towards Major Junior hockey. Although somewhat disappointed at the time, he says it only helped push him harder.
"In Midget AA, you’re thinking ’why am I not on the AAA team, why am I not on the AAA team? Now what happens? Now I’m not going to get drafted," Curran said. "There’s so much doubt in your mind when you play in Midget AA at such a young age, but I think now kids are starting to be molded a little bit earlier to deal with that, which I think is great. I think it’s important just to remember that where ever you’re playing, you’re not the player you’re going to be in the future, down the road, so just really enjoy it, and that’s what I tried to do."
After graduating from minor hockey, Curran enjoyed a successful career in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Calgary Canucks and Spruce Grove Saints, winning an AJHL title with the latter in 2010. Following his junior career, Curran played five seasons for the University of Calgary Dinos, helping the team to the National Championship in 2001, and earning West First All-Star Team honours in 2014 and 2015.
While the end of a post-secondary career could mark the last stop in a hockey player’s journey, Curran decided he wasn’t ready to give up on his dream. He signed a deal with the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack, the New York Rangers’ top affiliate, and split time between the Wolf Pack and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the East Coast Hockey League. After making the difficult decision to play pro hockey in Europe, far away from his family and friends, he played in Denmark and Norway in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively, before landing with RÃ¶gle BK of the Swedish Hockey League.
Curran credits the overwhelming support from his family and friends as a key contributing factor to his success in Europe.
"My family has meant everything to me," he said. "When I think about this moment, and sharing it with them, words aren’t enough to explain what they mean to me. To be that far away from home over in Europe, and to constantly be on FaceTime or getting texts from your family saying ’you’re doing the right thing’, they really solidified for me that I was in the right place in my life, and what I was doing was right."
Curran certainly made the most of his time in Europe, especially his two seasons in Sweden. This past season, he put up staggering numbers for a defenceman (12 goals and 37 points in 48 games), finishing second in the league in scoring, earning the title of league MVP. Curran was the first foreign-born player to be named the SHL’s MVP since current Calgary Flame Derek Ryan, who took a similar path to the NHL, making his league debut at 29 years old.
"Last year was an amazing season," Curran said. "I ended up getting onto a team with young guys, great players, and we got hot, and it was an amazing year, one I’ll never forget."
Despite nothing ever coming easy for him, Curran says his love of the game always got him through, and kept him looking towards the future.
"As you go through your career, everyone puts a label on the teams that you should be playing for, and the things that you should be doing, and where you should be at a certain age. I think a lot of kids, and parents especially, get caught up in that, and can put a lot of pressure on their kids. I didn’t have any pressure from my parents, they really just wanted me to love the game of hockey, and I did that. And I think that’s what got me through those tough times, was just my passion for the game. I didn’t do anything that the hockey world says we ’should do’, and here I am. So I think there are other ways to do it, and I hope this shows that there are other ways to get to your dreams."
Although his hockey career has recently taken him all over the world, Curran says his time playing grassroots hockey in Alberta were vital to his development and success.
"I think what’s so great about (grassroots hockey in Alberta), is the development, and all the branch-offs that you can go into to play to have success. I always remember my roots and where I came from, I think Hockey Alberta’s done a great job in developing young kids and making sure there’s enough areas for all types of skills to play."
While he could have walked away from the game with his head held high at any point in his career, and a number of impressive accomplishments under his belt, Curran never gave up on his dream, and hopes his story can help inspire young athletes to chase theirs, and never let anyone, or anything, stop them.
"I didn’t make a single (division) one team, I think ever, I didn’t make AAA, and I was at a crossroads of whether to play forward or defence at 17 years old," he said. "For me, I always just tried to really fall in love with the game of hockey. If you don’t love it, and it’s not for you, then that’s great. But I know there’s a ton of kids out there that love the game of hockey, so let that be your inspiration, and let that be something that pushes you through these tough times, is that you love the game for its purity."
While the work isn’t quite done for Curran, as the task of earning an NHL roster spot with the Ducks still lies ahead, he says he’s looking forward to the challenge, and in the meantime, will enjoy some much-deserved rest and down time with his family.
(Third photo of Kodie with sister Jessica (left) and mom Deborah (right), courtesy of Kodie Curran)
RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is offering another free online seminar for minor hockey coaches on Thursday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m.
The topic of Thursday’s session is ’Player Habits’, and will be delivered by Hockey Alberta Coach Mentor Fran Gow.
This presentation dives into the habits and characteristics that are recommended for players to be successful. These habits can be implemented and taught to all levels of minor hockey players at different stages of age and development.
All sessions are open to Hockey Alberta members at no cost,
Sessions will be hosted on the ZOOM meeting platform.
You will need to sign up for a free ZOOM account prior to joining the session.
You will receive email confirmation with the ZOOM meeting link 24 hours prior to the start of the session.
If you have did not receive the link 24 hours prior to, or you have questions regarding the sessions, please contact Stephen Pattison - [email protected]
Hockey Alberta is excited to partner with Doug ’Crash’ Crashley of Crash Conditioning Ltd to bring a weekly series to the homes of hockey players across Alberta, focused on strength and 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 nine features former Team Alberta Video Coach Alex Mandolidis and Dr James Werner. DC., CSCS , Masters of Sport Medicine, with a focus on mobility and enhancing tissue quality.
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!
Don’t forget about the backhand! Spend some time working on this to become a well-rounded shooter/passer. Being efficient with the backhand can open a variety of shooting and passing lanes you don’t have access to on the forehand.
Bend knees and ankles to get into a low athletic stance
Activate the core for extra power
Start Puck on the back half of the blade
Roll wrists over so blade finishes in a closed position
CALGARY - The following is a statement on behalf of Hockey Canada from Tom Renney, chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer.
“Recent events have amplified the inequality that exists among us, and now is the time to use the Hockey Canada platform to encourage discussion and change.
We know racism exists in the world. It is far too common here in Canada, and people of colour experience racism daily. Unfortunately, racism and inequality have occurred in the hockey community. We recognize that and understand that our organization needs to do more to combat acts of injustice and ensure a safe space for everyone.
Hockey Canada and its 13 Members need to listen and learn, have difficult conversations about our own shortcomings and be open to change if we are going to make progress towards a better future for all participants.
It is easy to talk about being inclusive, welcoming and safe, but now is a time to listen and support those facing racism. We need to do better, be leaders in equality and be part of the solution.”