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Photo Credit: Rob Wallator

Team Alberta U18 Female announces 2023 Canada Winter Games coaching staff

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the coaching staff that will be behind the bench for Team Alberta U18 Female at the 2023 Canada Winter Games.

Leading the group is Brett Wold (Red Deer), who will be joined by Assistant Coaches Ally Bendfeld (Innisfail) and Evan Vossen (Medicine Hat), along with Video Coach Jessie Olfert (Edmonton), Goaltending Coach Marlène Boissonnault (Calgary), and Apprentice Coach Shanya Shwetz (Edmonton).

“As we head towards the 2023 Canada Winter Games in P.E.I., we are thrilled to have put together such a great coaching staff," said Kendall Newell, Manager, Female Hockey for Hockey Alberta. “The group has a lot of experience in the Team Alberta program, and we are looking forward to starting the evaluation process."

Other members of the staff for Team Alberta U18 Female include: Athletic Therapist Paige Shannon (Calgary), Equipment Manager Dave Campbell (Grande Prairie), and Director of Operations Kendall Newell (Red Deer).

Director of Hockey Operations Kendall Newell Red Deer
Head Coach Brett Wold Red Deer
Assistant Coach Ally Bendfeld Innisfail
Assistant Coach Evan Vossen Medicine Hat
Video Coach Jessie Olfert Edmonton
Goalie Coach Marlène Boissonnault Calgary
Canada Games Apprentice Coach Shanya Shwetz Edmonton
Athletic Therapist Paige Shannon Calgary
Equipment Manager Dave Campbell Grande Prairie

Wold has spent the last two seasons as the Head Coach of the U18 AAA Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs, where he was named 2021-22 Coach of the Year for the Alberta Female Hockey League. In the Team Alberta program, Wold joined the 2019 U18 Women’s National Championship team as an Assistant Coach.

Bendfeld works as an Assistant Coach with the Olds College Broncos of the ACAC. She has also been involved in many events with the Team Alberta program, including as an Assistant Coach with the gold medal winning 2019 Canada Winter Games team. Most recently, she was a Coach Mentor for South White at the 2022 Alberta Challenge.

Vossen is the current head coach of South Alberta Hockey Academy Female U18 Prep. At the 2022 Alberta Challenge he was part of the championship team, South Black, as an Assistant Coach. Aside from the Challenge, the Canada Winter Games will mark his debut behind the bench for Team Alberta.

Olfert spent 2021-22 as the head coach of the U15 AA North Central Impact. She has been involved in the Alberta Challenge and Alberta Winter Games as both an assistant and head coach. Recently, the head coach for North Blue at the 2022 Alberta Challenge.

Boissonnault joined the Team Alberta U18 team as the goaltender coach at the 2021 Western Regional Championships, where they earned silver. She is a Canada Winter Games Alumni, then a goaltender for Team New Brunswick in 2015.

Shwetz spent the past season as an assistant coach with the provincial champions, the U18 AAA Edmonton Pandas. She has also been involved with the Alberta Challenge, Alberta Winter Games, and with the U18 Provincial Team as a Video Coach (2019) and Assistant Coach (2021). At the 2022 Alberta Challenge, she stepped behind the bench as head coach of North Yellow.

Canada Games Apprentice Coach Information

Canada Games Apprentice Coach Program

The 2023 Canada Winter Games run February 18 - March 5 in Prince Edward Island. For more information on Team Alberta, please visit or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Home Ice Feature

Officiating a family affair for the Woods’

LETHBRIDGE – For Brent, Ryan, and Levi Woods, a life in the game of hockey has come in the form of officiating.

Growing up in small town British Columbia, Brent Woods was recruited to become an official from a family friend around the age of 14 or 15. When he moved to Alberta for university, he debated whether to continue with officiating, and ultimately opted to stick with it as it was a good way to make some extra money and spend his spare time.

He would eventually begin a role with the South Region Officials Committee as the lead of the mentoring and supervision program, which would continue with for many years. Along with that role, Brent also took on a role as an assigner. After taking a break from the Board, he is now back on as the Vice-Chair and lead of their grassroots program, which is aimed at recruiting more officials, particularly in rural areas.

With such a prominent role on the officials committee, it was only natural that his two sons, Ryan and Levi, would step in and join their father. Ryan has now been an official for six seasons, claiming that his love for the game was the reason for getting into it. When he stopped playing hockey, it was a great way for him to still be involved.

Levi just completed his first season as an official, which he says had some bumps in the road, but he continued to progress and get more comfortable with every game that he was a part of. He says that he would lean on his Father and Brother for advice throughout the year.

The trio were able to work a few games as crew, something that they said was a fun and unique experience.

“It makes it easier when we’re out there,” said Ryan. “When I’m refereeing a game and I know that my two linesmen are my dad and my brother, it’s easier for me because I know them personally, and I know I can have good communication between them.”

As a mentor, Brent’s best advice to a young official is to just go out and try it, and if you see a penalty, call it. Whether it’s the right or wrong call, if you saw it, trust your judgement, and make the call. That advice is something that both of his sons echo as younger officials.

“This is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” said Brent. “It gives me comfortability and confidence when I can be out there with them, and make sure they are getting respect from the coaches, fans, and players.”

Hockey Alberta Foundation

Glencross Invitational Stepping on the Ice in 2022

RED DEER - The Glencross Invitational is back! The Glencross Invitational Charity Camp and Poker Event will return to Red Deer, October 19 or 20 (pending the NHL schedule), 2022. Teams will hit the ice at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre before putting it all on the table at the Westerner Park.

Previously the Glencross Invitational Bronc Riding, the committee chose to send the broncs to pasture and instead feature a charity hockey camp. Four teams will face-off for the Glencross Charity Camp Championship, with players lining up next to some of the best to ever play the game. Spots on the team are available for purchase. With only 15 skaters and one (1) goalie per team, spots are limited. Tickets to watch the action unfold are also available.

Following the tournament, the cards will be shuffled and the chips ready as sponsors and celebrities take their seat at the table for the 9th annual Glencross Celebrity Charity Poker Event. All proceeds from the Glencross Invitational Charity Camp and Poker Event will be donated to the Hockey Alberta Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta.

“We’re happy to be back to host an event in partnership with the Hockey Alberta Foundation in support of charities across Alberta,” said Curtis Glencross. “After a two year hiatus, we chose to transition to a charity hockey camp to give sponsors an opportunity to participate in the event and play alongside some of their hockey idols, while making an impact on kids throughout the province.”

Positions in the event are limited. More information on the partnership opportunities are available in the Sponsorship Package below. Tickets to watch the tournament are available online.

2022 Glencross Sponsorship Package >

Glencross Invitational Charity Camp and Poker Event Tickets >


Hockey Alberta hosts successful 2022 Summit

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta would like to thank the sponsors, presenters, attendees, and staff who all contributed to a successful organizational summit.

The 2022 Hockey Alberta Summit presented by Sprung Arenas, Stantec and CANA took place in Red Deer, at the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre, June 10-12. The summit brought the leaders of our sport together for a weekend of Community, Collaboration & Innovation. Focusing on member appreciation and education, the Summit consisted of presentations, workshop sessions, expert panels and social engagement. Through these various forums, we explored both the challenges and opportunities facing our sport and our members that deliver it.

The summit began on Friday, June 10 with a powerful keynote presentation from Dr. Jody Carrington of Olds. Carrington told the approximately 200 people in attendance that society is facing a looming mental health crisis that is immense, and that our children are suffering from uncertainty, fear and “emotional dysregulation”. She noted that one in four children between the ages of 12 and 18 years have a plan to end their lives.

Moving into Saturday, the summit included presentation streams for both presidents and administrators, as well as development leaders. A wide variety of topics were covered by numerous speakers and the day was capped off with a member appreciation night at Bo’s Bar and Stage.

The final day featured more presentations in the morning, and a visit from Hockey Canada President & C.O.O, Scott Smith.

Hockey Alberta is asking for your feedback on the summit, whether you attended or not. Please take the time to fill out our survey below so we can better serve our members in the future.




Hockey coaches - you could save a life

RED DEER – Minor hockey coaches are not only life-changers, but they could be life-savers, for their players.

That powerful message was delivered by Dr. Jody Carrington, a clinical psychologist from Olds, to kick off the 2022 Hockey Alberta Summit presented by Sprung Arenas, Stantec and CANA. The Summit runs until Sunday at the Cambridge Hotel and Conference Centre.

“You are going to change a life this season, and probably save it,” said Carrington during her keynote address on Friday night.

Carrington told the approximately 200 people in attendance that society is facing a looming mental health crisis that is immense, and that our children are suffering from uncertainty, fear and “emotional dysregulation”. She noted that one in four children between the ages of 12 and 18 years have a plan to end their lives.

But hockey, and youth sports in general, can be part of the solution, with coaches playing a key role.

“Some of the most pivotal moments in my life happened in the hockey rink,” said Carrington, who is also a hockey coach. “Coaches, you are woven into their stories. No one forgets a hockey coach.”

Carrington emphasized that every coach will have traumatized kids on their team. That makes the role of coach integral in helping their players deal with the situations they are facing, not only with the team but in their personal lives. She talked about the importance of taking the time to get to know the players. And when they are hurting, the key is to provide genuine acknowledgement of the situation, not just an apology.

“When you’re acknowledged, you rise,” Carrington said. “Feeling seen is the only thing you need moving forward.”

For more on Dr. Jody Carrington, check out her website at

The 2022 Hockey Alberta Summit continues on Saturday with sessions geared towards Administration and Coach/ Player Development – each with a series of presentations, workshop sessions, expert panels and social engagement.


U11 Hockey Alberta Development Pilot Expanding in 2022-23 Season

For the 2022-23 hockey season, Hockey Alberta is expanding the U11 AA Pilot Project province wide and renaming it the U11 Hockey Alberta Development Pilot (U11 HADP). The focus of the U11 HADP is to implement amended hosting structures, player movement rules, league scheduling and Coach and Player Development Standards.

During the 2021-22 hockey season, Hockey Alberta established the U11 AA Pilot Project in conjunction with the Northern Alberta Interlock (NAI). The initial pilot offered scheduling options conducive to league geography, a formal tryout process (similar to that used within the AA Hockey Model) and allowed players to be certain of the level of competition at which they would participate. Feedback was positive and the interest in a predetermined top level of U11 HADP hockey continues to increase, which has resulted in expanding the pilot province wide.

Under the U11 HADP, Hockey Alberta will be working in collaboration with our Minor Hockey Leagues and their member MHAs. The Central Alberta Hockey League, Hockey Calgary, Edmonton Federation Hockey League will host the U11 HADP for their member associations, while the All Peace Hockey League, NAI and North Eastern Alberta Hockey League will work together to host the U11 HADP for their member associations.

The goal of the U11 HADP is to identify the best overall structure for the top level of U11 and to ensure alignment and progression within the entire hockey system. The Principles of Long-Term Athlete Development and Hockey Canada’s U11 Pathway will be followed, as the best philosophy for developing players is to create an environment where similarly skilled players can compete.

If you have any questions regarding the expansion and renaming of the U11 Hockey Alberta Development Pilot, please contact Hockey Alberta.

Please refer to Information Bulletin 21-11 for more information regarding the changes or the U11 HADP webpage.

Info Bulletin 21:11 >

U11 HADP >

Home Ice Feature

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force Listening to Understand

RED DEER – Recognizing the need for change in sport culture, Hockey Alberta set out to understand the extent to which racism and lack of inclusion impacts hockey across the province. The organization formed the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Task Force in October 2021. Over the last seven months, the task force has been working to change the narrative.

June marks the celebration of Pride Month and National Indigenous History Month. Members of the task force include Justin Connelly, who identifies as a gay male, and Devin Buffalo, a member of the Samson Cree Nation.

Connelly sits on the Board of Directors of the Calgary Inclusive Hockey Association (CIHA). Pioneers of LGBTQ+ hockey awareness in Alberta, the CIHA has a spot on the roster for everyone of all skill levels. Connelly’s own hockey experience has allowed him to bring a unique perspective to the EDI Task Force.

“The reason why I joined Hockey Alberta’s EDI Task Force is because I want to be able to give back to the game and sport that have meant so much to me. I have played, volunteered and worked in hockey the majority of my life,” said Connelly. “But at the age of 17, I stopped playing, I felt different. I didn’t feel included in the sport, in the game that I love. At the age of 23, I came out and realized it was okay to be myself. My true and genuine self, be confident, and still play the sport I love. I want to be able to give back and for other people like me to feel the exact same way. I want to make sure that hockey is an inclusive, open and a safe place for them so they can play the sport they love and be who they are without anyone standing in their way.”

Buffalo is a member of the Samson Cree Nation and grew up in Wetaskiwin. Over the course of his minor hockey career, he faced racism. He chose to overcome the remarks by showing what he was capable of on the ice. His goaltending career led him to the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and his performances earned him a scholarship to Dartmouth College. In his third season, he was nominated for the prestigious Hobey Baker Memorial award for the top men’s hockey player in the NCAA.

“As an indigenous player playing hockey in Alberta, I faced racism and stereotypes. In particular, during a racial incident in hockey there was a feeling of fear, confusion, I really had no idea what to do in the moment. No one to turn to,” said Buffalo. “Like many players who have faced racism in hockey there was no outlet, or I didn’t feel safe sharing what happened to me at the time. Threatened that my position might get taken away from me, etc.”

After five seasons playing professionally in the East Coast Hockey League, Buffalo returned to Alberta to set his sights on new goals. In 2020, he began Waniska Athletics, named for a Cree word that means “wake up and rise,” Buffalo has delivered hockey camps and virtual school tours to Indigenous youth. He is currently attending law school at the University of Alberta.

“I really do think that this committee is headed in the right direction in Hockey Alberta and it’s very exciting to be a part of that,” said Buffalo. “When I had this opportunity to join this task force I thought maybe it was a good opportunity to have my voice heard and to have an influence in policy making and to make a difference so that no other indigenous hockey player had to deal with that and they had avenues and they had ways and people to support them.”

During the month of June, celebrate Pride and National Indigenous History Month while taking the time to listen to the stories. The EDI Task Force is listening to the experiences to improve the game of hockey for the better. Hockey Alberta encourages everyone to step up and make the game more inclusive for every individual because hockey is for everyone.

Ice Times Newsletter


Registration now open for 2022-23 First Shift program

Do you have a child aged 6-10 years who is ready to fall in love with hockey? Registration is now open for the 2022-23 NHL/NHLPA First Shift program.

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift program is designed to ensure a positive experience for new-to-hockey families by offering a low-cost entry program to hockey.

Register For the First Shift Program Now >

Hockey Alberta News

Hockey Alberta will be running the First Shift Program from Feb. 11 - March 18, 2023. In total, the First Shift will be offered in nine locations across Alberta during the 2022-23 season:

  • Canmore - Fall
  • Calgary (Hockey Calgary) - Fall
  • Chestermere - Winter
  • Edmonton (Edmonton Oilers & Hockey Edmonton) - Fall & Winter
  • Grande Prairie - Fall
  • Red Deer (Hockey Alberta) - Winter
  • Leduc - Fall
  • Ponoka - Winter
  • Peace River - Fall

To register for a First Shift program near you, and for more information, click here.


Non-Body Checking Implemented at U18 Tiers 4-6

Hockey Alberta’s Minor Leagues Committee, which is comprised of Alberta’s six (6) tiered Minor Hockey Leagues (CAHL, NAI, NEAHL, All Peace, EFHL & Hockey Calgary) have unanimously agreed to implement non-body checking/body contact only hockey at the Tier 4-6 categories of the U18 division for the 2022-2023 season.

The decision to extend non-body checking into the U18 division at the Tier 4 – 6 categories comes after having implemented the same changes two season ago at the U15 division prior to the 2020-2021 hockey season.

Minor Hockey Associations in any of the six (6) tiered Minor Hockey Leagues will be required to declare their teams in accordance with the Alberta One Standardized Tiering Grid.

If you have any questions regarding the implementation of non-body checking hockey at the U18 division, please contact either your League President or the Hockey Alberta Office.

Please refer to Information Bulletin 21-10 for more information regarding the changes.

Info Bulletin 21:10 >


Photo Credit: Rob Wallator

D-Op, Coach, and Trainer applications now being accepted for 2023 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is now accepting applications for the positions of Director of Operations, Coach, and Trainer for the 2023 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.

Hockey Alberta, in partnership with the Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta, is overseeing and coordinating the selection process for the players and coaches representing the province at the championships. That process includes recruiting and selecting the Indigenous coaching staff, registration and selection camps for players, team training, and designing the uniforms.

The Aboriginal Sport Circle established the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) in 2002 to serve as the premiere competition for young Aboriginal hockey players in Canada.

The annual event provides a forum for elite U15 and U18 aged Aboriginal male and female youth and attracts participation from First Nation, Inuit and Metis across the 13 provinces and territories. This annual event helps foster cultural unity and pride to celebrate the athletic abilities of Aboriginal athletes from across the country. The NAHC also serves as a focal point for grassroots and regional Aboriginal hockey development.

Details on the the 2023 edition of the NAHC will be released soon. More than 500 elite U15 and U18 Indigenous hockey players from across Canada will compete in male and female divisions in the tournament.




For any questions, please contact Mike Applegate, Regional Manager, Northeast.