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Team Alberta

Team Alberta Male Summer Camp set to get underway on Canada Day

RED DEER – Eighty athletes are in Red Deer for the 2024 Team Alberta Male Under-16 Summer Camp.

The camp takes place July 1-7 at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre.

Eight goalies, 24 defence and 48 forwards born in 2009 were invited to attend the camp. Athletes invited are vying for a spot on the roster that will be competing in the 2024 WHL Cup.


Selections were determined based on the Team Alberta scouting process throughout the 2023-24 season and the 2024 Alberta Cup. From summer camp, a short list will be set, and those players will be scouted with their club teams until the 20 player-roster is named.

Ice Times Newsletter

Hockey Alberta Foundation

The Outreach Centre and the Hockey Alberta Foundation Announce Pickleball Fundraiser

(RED DEER, AB) – The Outreach Centre and the Hockey Alberta Foundation are excited to announce the first annual Pickleball Fundraiser Corporate Charity Challenge, presented by IG Private Wealth Management Nathan Giesbrecht & Associates. The tournament will take place on Friday, January 24, 2025 at Westerner Park.

The pickleball challenge will be a day filled with fun and friendly competition, all for a great cause. Teams from local businesses and organizations are invited to participate in the tournament, which aims to raise funds for the programs and services provided by The Outreach Centre and the Hockey Alberta Foundation.

The Outreach Centre serves individuals and families in central Alberta, supporting them in their pursuit of healthy relationships, mental health wellbeing, housing stability and self-sufficiency. The Hockey Alberta Foundation raises funds to foster and support access to youth hockey in Alberta, with a goal of ensuring that every child throughout Alberta has the opportunity to play hockey.

“This tournament will be a fantastic way to engage with our colleagues in a day of fun and healthy competition, while raising funds for 2 local non-profit organizations”, says Nathan Giesbrecht, Executive Financial Consultant for IG Private Wealth Management Nathan Giesbrecht & Associates. “As a company, we believe in giving back to the communities where we live and work, so we are thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of this event.”

Registration for the Pickleball Fundraiser Corporate Charity Challenge is now open. Participants will enjoy a day of pickleball action, kicking off at 8:30 a.m. with an optional Learn to Play session hosted by the Red Deer Pickleball Club. The official tournament will begin at 10:00 a.m. Registration includes lunch and transportation to an After Party event held at Bo’s Bar & Stage.

For information about registration and sponsorship opportunities, contact Dustin Moore with The Outreach Centre at [email protected] or 403.347.2480. Interested participants are encouraged to register early, as space is limited.


Home Ice Feature

Hockey Alberta’s partnership with Indigenous Sport Council Alberta providing youth with opportunities to play

In recognition of National Indigenous Peoples Day, Hockey Alberta is proud to share stories from across the province’s hockey community.

When Hockey Alberta partnered up with Indigenous Sport Council Alberta (ISCA) in 2019, the goal behind the partnership was to provide improved and enhanced opportunities for Indigenous hockey participants across the province.

ISCA is the provincial sports body for Indigenous youth in Alberta, who provides funding, opportunities and engagement with the First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across the province.

Nearly four and a half years later, the two sides have seen growth and development of the sport of hockey in Indigenous communities across Alberta which includes representing Team Alberta at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship (NAHC).

Al Blackwater, a board member for ISCA since 2018, says the partnership they’ve built with Hockey Alberta has been beneficial for both parties.

“I’m enjoying this relationship that we’ve built with Hockey Alberta, giving Indigenous youth the opportunity to further their skills and seeing how they can compete at elite level hockey,” Blackwater said. “All the minor hockey associations across Alberta, sort of flows through Hockey Alberta and they’re the main channel of the sport in this province. So, it was kind of a no brainer for us to get that assistance and guidance from Hockey Alberta.”

Blackwater added that the biggest area of growth that he’s noticed has been regarding the NAHC tournament. NAHC is an annual event that provides a forum for elite U18 Indigenous male and female youth and attracts participation from First Nation, Inuit, and Métis across the 13 provinces and territories.

Both Alberta’s male and female teams have seen consistent improvements with the female team winning two medals in the four-year span and the male team proving they can compete with any of the other provinces.

“The Indigenous Sport Council Alberta has always been the lead when it comes to the NAHC tournament, but over the years it’s really lacked,” Blackwater said. “I can honestly say there wasn’t really any dollars being put towards it and there wasn’t really any kind of proper structure. It was getting to the point where it was a question of ‘who wants to run Team Alberta?’ With Hockey Alberta and the relationship we’ve built now, it’s been fantastic. I find that one of the best things to come from it has been that Indigenous athletes are looking at Hockey Alberta. Looking at all the different programs Hockey Alberta has … it’s a lot of good opportunities for our athletes, fair opportunities and it’s made life at ISCA a lot easier.”

On top of there being more structure and funding pushed into the Team Alberta NAHC program, Blackwater said it’s also given athletes the opportunity to compete and showcase their skills.

“Kids from the South weren’t really getting looked at and now those doors have opened up for them as well as other kids who maybe weren’t getting their chance,” he said. “There are some elite athletes across Alberta that are now participating in these tryout camps and tournaments, so I think it’s great that we’re trying to make sure we don’t leave anybody out and the youth know they have that opportunity.”

While that area has improved since the partnership, Blackwater says that inclusion and outside financial factors are still things that Indigenous communities face in sports.

“I think when you play that elite sport, it comes down to that financial aspect. I grew up right from the reserve and I had parents that worked hard and allowed me to participate in sports and make it to a higher level. But sometimes there are kids that don’t get that opportunity because it comes down to the money,” Blackwater said. “Hockey is the biggest sport in Canada, but if you want to make it to the elite level, you’ve got to have money and I think that hurts some communities. We get a lot of donations through KidSport or through the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and if we can provide some funding for our athletes that can help assist them to that next level, then we will. But it’s certainly a challenge for some kids and hopefully we can get to a spot where if you’re good enough, you’ll have all the opportunity to make it.”

The ISCA provides grant opportunities for Indigenous athletes, including the ISCA Elite Athlete Grant Application.


Selection camps for the 2025 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships will take place August 8-11, in Red Deer at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. The championship tournament will be held May 5-10, 2025, in Kamloops, British Columbia.


Team Alberta

Forty-six athletes invited to Team Alberta Female U18 Summer Camp

RED DEER – Forty-six athletes are gathering in Red Deer for the 2024 Team Alberta Female U18 Summer Camp, July 16-20.

The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre welcomes six goaltenders, 16 defence, and 24 forwards who were evaluated throughout the season. Athletes are being evaluated and shortlisted for Fall Camp, in hopes of securing a position on Team Alberta to compete at the national event.


“We’ve had the opportunity to watch and evaluate these players at various events and have watched them develop over the years,” said Mike Kraichy, Hockey Alberta’s Manager, High Performance. “We are confident that the talent that is going to be showcased at camp represents a bright future for Team Alberta and the Female U18 program.”

Camp features on and off-ice sessions, as well as games. The groups are evenly split into Team Blue and Team Yellow with the first of 10 skill sessions begins with Team Blue on Tuesday, July 16 at 4 P.M. Team Yellow has its first skill session at 5:30 P.M. that same day. The two teams are then scheduled to play the first of three contests against one another on Thursday, July 18 at 7 P.M.

Team Alberta’s U18 Female team finished fourth at the 2023 National Women’s U18 Championship in Dawson Creek, B.C., losing a tight battle to Team B.C. in the bronze medal game.

The 2024 edition of the event is scheduled to take place November 3-9 in Quispamsis, New Brunswick.

Team Alberta

Player Registration for National Aboriginal Hockey Championship Selection Camp now open

RED DEER – Player registration is now open for the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC) Selection Camp.

The camp is taking place August 8-11, in Red Deer at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Male and female athletes born in 2007 – 2010, who are of Indigenous heritage (First Nations, Métis or Inuit) and registered with a Hockey Alberta or a Hockey Canada sanctioned minor hockey association are eligible to try out.

The camp costs $259 plus GST and includes a jersey, warm-up shirt and shorts, on-ice practices and games for each participant.

In partnership with the Indigenous Sport Council – Alberta, Hockey Alberta sends a U18 Male Team and U18 Female Team to compete at the championship.

The Aboriginal Sport Circle established the NAHC in 2002 as the premiere competition for young Aboriginal hockey players in Canada. The 2025 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships takes place May 4-11, 2025, in Kamloops, B.C.

The annual event provides a forum for elite U18 aged Indigenous male and female youth and attracts participation from First Nations, Métis and Inuit across the 13 provinces and territories. This annual event helps foster cultural unity and pride to celebrate Indigenous athletes and sport.

Deadline to register is Tuesday, July 16.

For any questions, please contact Mike Applegate, Manager, Development Programs and Team Alberta NAHC at [email protected].




Hockey Canada Seeking Hlinka Gretzky Cup Volunteers

The top under-18 hockey players in the world are coming to Edmonton this summer for the 2024 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and Hockey Canada wants you to be part of the action!

Join Hockey Canada for the annual invitation-only tournament Aug. 5-10 at Rogers Place and be there when future stars emerge. The Hlinka Gretzky Cup is the premier, best-on-best competition where fans and scouts alike get a chance to see the top NHL Draft prospects showcase their elite skill on the international stage ahead of the 2024-25 season, and we need volunteers like you to make it all happen.

Hockey Canada is currently looking for volunteers for the following committees:

  • Scout & Media Services
  • Medical
  • Off-Ice Officials
  • Team Services
  • Transportation
  • Volunteer Operations

Selected volunteers will receive a uniform, meals, transit passes, and a chance to win great Hlinka Gretzky Cup prizes.


Home Ice Feature

Pride Month – CIHA creating an inclusive and safe environment to try hockey

In celebration of Pride Month, Hockey Alberta is proud to share stories from across the province’s hockey community.

If you can play, you can play.

The Calgary Inclusive Hockey Association was formed to create a local hockey organization and social environment with a focus on LGBTQ equality in sport.

The Calgary Pioneers have been playing in the WinSport Hockey Canada League (WHCL) since 2015. They added a second team, the Villagers, in 2017 and are now CIHA’s beginners’ team.

“It’s a space primarily for 2SLGBTQIA+ people to be part of a hockey organization where they can be themselves and be celebrated for that and feel comfortable being who they are in the dressing room, on the ice and around the rink without that fear of discrimination,” said Jason Finnan, President of the Calgary Inclusive Hockey Association. “We create that safe space for them, where they can be exactly who they are, and we’ll support them and create a space for them to enjoy hockey because it’s our national sport and so many Canadians love it.”

Finnan said the association has seen a big uptick in new players over the last year and a half.

“We’ve seen more people join. Specifically trans players, that didn’t feel like they had a space to go and play hockey,” Finnan said. “They didn’t feel like a men’s league was right for them, didn’t feel like a women’s league was right for them either. So, we happily accepted them into our group and are making sure they feel welcome and safe.”

The growth over the past two years is a microcosm of what the association has seen in registration since it began nearly a decade ago. For the first time, CIHA was able to ice a third team last season.

“We’ve bumped up from 20 members to 40 and over the last couple years we’ve been right at the cut off to get a third team, which we were finally able to get last year and have our first season with three teams,” Finnan said. “We have two teams that are beginner and intermediate, and then we have the Pioneers which is our longest standing team and is a little more advanced. We’re currently sitting at 70 members, and we split them between the three teams. We’ve grown a lot in diversity, and I think we’re stronger because of that.”

The CIHA wants people to know that everyone is welcome to join their teams regardless of race or sexual orientation.

“That message of inclusivity goes beyond gender identity or sexual orientation because there are people of other races that may not feel comfortable in the sport, especially if they’re queer as well. It’s a whole other added layer for them” Finnan said. “So, we really try to spread that positive message that everyone is welcome and to feel the best they can in a hockey setting.”

New to the association this past year is the scholarship program. To try and help offset the costs that come with playing hockey, applicants are invited to apply for subsidy between 15 and 50 percent of their yearly hockey fees.

“We got a donation from the NHL when Luke Prokop came out a few years ago,” Finnan said. “So, we used that donation money for our scholarship program to break down that financial barrier for people to get in and play if money is a concern. It’s been a big initiative to take on, but if it gives more people the chance to play our great game, then it is more than worth it.

Prokop, who hails from Edmonton, was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2020 NHL Draft. He made pro sports history becoming the first openly gay player under NHL contract. Prokop has spent parts of the past two seasons in the Predators farm system but has yet to suit up in NHL regular season action. Finnan is hoping that there is soon going to be more representation at the professional level, specifically in the NHL.

“I think when we see professional players speak up about these issues or even come out to be their authentic self, I think that really inspires everyone else to feel more comfortable,” Finnan said. “We haven’t really seen any representation currently in the NHL of any openly gay players so I think that would be a massive change to help bridge that gap of homophobia. Even if they’re just allies, it would be helpful for our community and making people feel a little safer and a little less scared.”

Hockey Alberta Foundation

Sturgeon Hockey Club furthering Officials Development and Female hockey program with help of Hockey Alberta Foundation

With the help of the Hockey Alberta Foundation, the Sturgeon Hockey Club has been able to take a two pronged approach to growing the game in its community.

Fundingfrom Hockey Alberta’s Member Grant Program, supported by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, was used to further the development of both the local officials as well as the female program.

“I simply can’t state enough of how important the continued support of HA, EOCF and the HAF have meant to our small hockey association,” said Gene Connors, president of the Sturgeon association. “The amount of time, effort and money that we were able to put towards our officiating development and retention has been tremendous. We used to struggle year after year with finding officials to take the course and retention as well.  With the proceeds we received this season, we not only increased our official numbers greatly but the amount of advertising, teaching, recognition and clinics we were able to conduct will prove fruitful for years to come.”

The officials’ program had 45 students participate with four volunteers. Those enrolled in the program had six development nights with both classroom and ice time provided. The young officials practiced the art of skating, puck drops, whistle blowing, penalty procedures and a whole lot more.

“We have had numerous people comment on the difference in the Sturgeon officals this season. I am very proud of this group of individuals and what was accomplished throughout the season,” O’Connors said. “It makes you feel good about the time and effort put in behind the scenes to help these officials be successful when you get compliments from even the visiting assiciations that the reffing is noticiably better each time they visit and the refs are very professional, knowledgeable, and easy to deal with even in heated games.”

The funding provided from the Member Grant program also allowed Sturgeon to host a week long female only development camp in December. The female hockey program saw 120 players and 21 volunteers participate to help grow the female game in the community. The camp featured a goalie only session as well, to help further the progress of the position.

Sturgeon also held a Fillies Female Hockey Day in March that included on and off ice activities, including try hockey events. The day resulted in the association bringing out 13 new players interested in joining hockey. That rolled over into the Spring ID Skates, where 120 players registered.

“The impact that this grant had was instrumental in our hockey club being able to continue to grow and improve our female program,” O’Connors said. “We can not thank Hockey Alberta and the Hockey Alberta Foundation enough for your help and support for our Female hockey program.”

The Hockey Alberta Member Grant Program, in partnership with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, allows access to funding for Hockey Alberta members in Northern Alberta. Priority areas for funding are leadership development; introduction to hockey, female, para, and Indigenous hockey programming; and inclusion and diversity initiatives.