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News

Alignment of Elite Hockey in Alberta, beginning in 2024-25 Season

Hockey Alberta is excited to announce several changes to Elite Hockey in Alberta, in an effort to align elite hockey across the province, starting in the 2024-25 season.

To unify the Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL), Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL) and AA Hockey, Hockey Alberta has formed an Elite Hockey Executive.

The Executive’s focus is to deliver a premier Elite Development pathway for families in Alberta, to continue to grow the profile of Elite Hockey in Alberta and ensure aligned operations between AA, AAA as well as both male and female hockey leagues.

The executive includes:

  • Elite Commissioner, Aaron Rawlake
  • AEHL Chair, Devin Selte
  • AEHL Vice Chair, Lee Hellyer
  • AFHL Chair, Jody Forbes
  • AFHL Vice Chair, Lise Cote
  • AA Hockey Chair, Trevor Hittel

In addition to the Elite Hockey Executive, Hockey Alberta has announced the following expansion plans for the 2024-25 season:

  • U13, U15, U16 and U18 AA Hockey in Alberta operated by the AEHL, overseen by AA Hockey Chair, Trevor Hittel, and AEHL Commissioner, Aaron Rawlake.
  • A U13 AAA Pilot in Northern Alberta, operated by the AEHL.
  • The Alberta U11 AA Hockey League, operated by Hockey Alberta, culminating in awarding a Provincial Champion.

AEHL Expansion to AA Hockey

Hockey Alberta has been working alongside Minor Hockey Associations in the province, the Northern Alberta Hockey League, South Central Alberta Hockey League, Hockey Calgary AA League, and the AEHL over the last several months to unify the three pre-existing AA leagues under the AEHL.

“The expansion of the AEHL to include AA in the elite model is due to the collaboration and engagement of associations and members in the Hockey Alberta system,” Rawlake said. The AEHL is excited to welcome the AA stakeholders and players to the AEHL with a commitment to exceptional service. Hockey Alberta will continue to provide the premier destination for all levels of elite hockey in the province and we look forward to continuing work with our innovative partners to continue to grow our game.”

The AEHL is being led by Aaron Rawlake, Commissioner, Elite Hockey (AEHL and AFHL), with AA Division Operations being overseen by Trevor Hittel, Chair, AA hockey.

“Unifying AA hockey under the AEHL has been a priority of mine for years,” Hittel said. “We are thrilled to take these next steps to standardize AA league operations and work more closely with AAA divisions to continue to develop and promote AA players to AAA hockey.”

U13 AAA Pilot

The U13 AAA Pilot is being launched for the 2024-2025 season in Northern Alberta. This Pilot will provide valuable insight to Hockey Alberta in identifying the ideal structure required to provide this level of hockey to families across the entire province in the 2025-26 season. MHAs currently committed to participate in the Pilot are Hockey Edmonton (4 teams), Bonnyville, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Leduc, Lloydminster, Sherwood Park, and St. Albert.

Teams will compete within the structure of the AEHL, which includes access to livestreaming and video analytics to enhance the player development experience at this level of hockey.

Families registered with an MHA that is hosting a U13 AAA team are to access tryouts with that team. Athletes registered outside of an MHA hosting a U13 AAA team are permitted to pursue a U13 AAA tryout with an MHA that is accepting tryout players. Once families have found an Association that is accepting tryout players, athletes from outside the Host MHA will need a ‘Notification to Tryout’ form.

For more information on individual programs and tryouts, please contact the Host Associations for more details.

U11 AA

For the past two seasons, Hockey Alberta has worked with our Minor Hockey Leagues to operate the U11 HADP within Alberta. Hockey Alberta has decided to create the category of U11 AA, officially, for 2024-25 and beyond.

Teams within the U11 AA will play in the newly formed Alberta U11 AA Hockey League. The inaugural season of U11 AA will begin in October and the 48 participating teams will compete in regional play throughout the season with the season culminating in playoffs and a Provincial Tournament.


Please refer to Information Bulletin 23-11 for more information regarding the alignment and league operations.

Bulletin 23-11 >

News

Hockey Alberta honours 2024 membership award recipients

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta recognized several groups and individuals on July 20 through the Hockey Alberta Membership Awards Program presented by ATB for the work they did during the 2023-24 season.

Awards handed out on Saturday included Volunteer of the Year, Coach of the Year, Minor Hockey Association of the Year, Official of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, Provincial Championship Exceptional Host Site Award and Order of Merit.

All award winners made outstanding contributions to amateur hockey throughout the year and went over and above the minimum guidelines and standards set out by Hockey Alberta.

Volunteer of the Year

Geoff Stewart (Okotoks) is this year’s recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award. Stewart has served on the board of directors in Okotoks for the past 10 years, most recently as the president, a role he’s held for the past seven and a half seasons. As the president of one of Hockey Alberta’s largest members, he has prioritized the player experience within Okotoks Minor Hockey and has led with integrity when faced with challenging situations. His passion to give back to hockey is evident in that he is not only the president of Okotoks Minor Hockey, but he also coaches the U16 AA team. Stewart is actively engaged with Hockey Alberta, ensuring Okotoks is not only aligned with provincial and national standards, but are often one of the MHA’s leading the way.

Coach of the Year

Darren Gnam (Fairview) of the Fairview U15 Falcons has been named Hockey Alberta’s Coach of the Year. Gnam had a significant positive impact on his players, taking the time to teach them the skills necessary to become comfortable, capable and confident with their transition into body contact. Gnam structures practices to ensure everyone has fun while learning the skills of the game, which created an environment that kept athletes involved in the sport.

Minor Hockey Association of the Year

Canmore Minor Hockey Association is being recognized as the Minor Hockey Association of the Year. Canmore’s desire to provide a fun and positive environment for children is directly aligned with the vision and mission of Hockey Alberta. They have established strong policies, procedures and is known for providing clear direction, training and support to their volunteers, allowing a fun, safe and positive environment to evolve. Canmore has also been active in seeking out grants to support player and coach development and have been proactive in offering flexible program options for families and working with neighbouring communities to provide opportunities for players outside of Canmore’s boundaries to access minor hockey.

Official of the Year

Hayley Butz (Duffield) is Hockey Alberta’s Official of the Year. Overcoming a broken leg, an injury suffered while playing rugby, Butz had a banner season on both the provincial and national level. She attended Hockey Alberta’s officiating summer development camp as well as Hockey Canada’s officiating program of excellence camp. Butz was selected to officiate the 2023 Canada Winter Games and the 2023 Women’s U18 National Championships, where she was picked to officiate the gold medal game at both events. In February, Butz was selected by Hockey Canada to be certified as a National High Performance Official – the highest ranking possible for an official within Hockey Canada’s program. On top of her two national events earlier in the year, she also officiated the Women’s USports Nationals in Saskatoon. When available, she also spends time giving back to officiating through coaching and supervision of other officials.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The inaugural recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award is Debbie Northcott (Caroline). Northcott exemplifies the core values of Hockey Alberta through her interactions with players, parents, teams, associations, volunteers and staff. She has contributed to growing and developing amateur hockey in the province through her various volunteer roles with Hockey Alberta, which dates back two decades. Her involvement in the sport came well before she formally joined Hockey Alberta as the Zone 4 Minor Council Representative in 2005, holding the position for eight years while playing a key role in changing the player movement regulations and enhancing the Provincial Championship structure. She shifted her focus to registration and served on Hockey Alberta’s Minor Administration Committee for five years, four of which were as the Chair of the committee. Northcutt lobbied for changes that would not only benefit the players, but also ensure hockey would continue to grow and thrive in rural communities. She is currently part of Hockey Alberta’s Appeals Committee.

Provincial Championship Exceptional Host Site Award

Stettler Minor Hockey Association and the U18 Tier 1 Provincial Championship are this year’s winners of the Provincial Championship Exceptional Host Site Award. Stettler’s minor hockey program, the Town of Stettler and the community all played key roles in the event, including pre-event promotion and the opening ceremonies. Each team had a designated dressing room and equipment storage for the tournament and there was a banquet for the players and families. To leave a legacy for minor hockey, the host committee distributed a portion of the profits from the tournament to support local coach and officiating development programs.

Order of Merit - Officiating (Ernie Boruk Award)

Dominic St. Amand (Vermilion) has won the Ernie Boruk Award for the 2023-24 season. St. Amand’s passion for Hockey Alberta officiating has laid a strong foundation that will benefit the program for many years to come. As the Chair of the Northeast Official’s Sub-Committee, he facilitated a thriving officiating program that includes a robust grassroots program, annual summer camps for elite officials, as well as a officiating coaching initiative. He has spent countless hours on the road, away from his family to showcase and learn about development standards being implemented in his region and ensure that officials have the support they need.

Order of Merit - Officiating (Dave Ganley Award)

Brad Campbell (Calgary) has won the Dave Ganley Award. He has been a member of the Central Region Official’s Sub-Committee for over 10 years, focusing his efforts on grassroots development. Still an active official himself, Campbell has a keen eye for development and has impacted countless officials while being instrumental in developing the next generation of officiating talent in the Calgary area.

Order of Merit - Administration

Connie Anderson (Sundre) has been volunteering with Hockey Alberta since 2011 as the Zone 6 Minor Discipline Coordinator, a role that Anderson held for seven years. Anderson transitioned to the role of Chair, Minor Discipline in 2018 where he helped align Hockey Alberta’s investigation and suspension process while also contributing to national and provincial regulation changes that establish more consistency in discipline procedures.

Order of Merit - Administration

Neil Robertson (Calgary) has volunteered for more than three decades in minor hockey, including 17 years with Hockey Alberta. Robertson was part of the U18 executive for more than 20 years where he played a key role in creating Hockey Alberta’s ‘Alberta Development Model’ (ADM) for AAA hockey. He represented AAA hockey by serving on the ADM committee for 13 years. While on the committee, he helped establish Hockey Alberta’s Elite Male Hockey Model. In 2020 he accepted the position of Chair for Elite Male Hockey and has continued to help enhance the model, including the creation of the Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL).

Order of Merit - Development

Doug Crashley (Calgary) has been invested in the development of hockey players in the province for decades. He has owned and operated ‘Crash Conditioning’ since 2004, providing strength and conditioning, mindset, nutrition, recovery and injury rehabilitation services to athletes. His involvement with Hockey Alberta started more than 15 years ago through the Team Pacific U17 program. He has been active with the U16 Male Team Alberta program since the introduction of the WHL Cup in 2009 and still attends the U16 camp each summer. He also has presented to players and coaches at various Hockey Alberta events and seminars. To help keep players motivated and active during the pandemic, Crashley partnered with Hockey Alberta’s ‘Hockey at Home’ initiative, developing training videos to engage and inform athletes.

To view previous recipients of the Hockey Alberta Membership Awards presented by ATB, click here.

Hockey Alberta Foundation

Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Gala kicking off Hockey Alberta Foundation Golf Classic

Hockey Alberta and the Foundation are gearing up for the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Gala on July 20 in Red Deer and the Hockey Alberta Foundation Golf Classic in Canmore on July 22 and 23.

On Saturday night at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, the hockey community celebrates the Class of 2024. Six individuals and one team are joining the previous esteemed Classes in the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame (AHHF), and the recipient of the Robert Clark Legacy Award is being announced.

On Monday and Tuesday, the festivities shift to Canmore as teams hit the links for the Hockey Alberta Foundation Golf Classic at the Stewart Creek Golf and Country Club as well as Silvertip Golf Resort.

Proceeds from the three events go towards the Every Kid Every Community program, to help provide every child in Alberta the opportunity to play hockey and experience the game.

Because of events like the Hall of Fame Gala and Golf Classic, the Hockey Alberta Foundation offers scholarships to the Future Leaders program and support organizations such as:

  • Sports Central, an organization that provides sports equipment to kids in need at no cost. Based in Edmonton, volunteers also accept gently used equipment by donation.
  • Calgary Flames Sports Bank, who helps kids and families across southern Alberta access equipment at no cost. The organization works with KidSport Calgary to breakdown the cost of fees and equipment to ensure every child has an opportunity to play sports. The Calgary Flames Sports Bank operates with the help of volunteers and donations.
  • Free Play for Kids Inc., who provides programs and spaces free of charge that are accessible and inclusive to encourage youth to keep playing.
  • HEROS Hockey, who uses hockey to teach life-skills and empower marginalized youth. The organization provides free hockey programming for at risk children and youth, offering a safe and stable environment for them to grow, connect and succeed.
  • The Ladd Foundation, who gives youth access to resources that support their health and well-being. Targeted to youth hockey players, parents and coaches, the foundation promotes healthy development and mental health.

Thank you to the partners who make these events possible:

Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Gala:

Calgary Flames Foundation

Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation

Red Deer Resort and Casino

Prism Flow Products

Beyond Insurance

New Harvest Media

Pattison Media (Big 105.5 and 106.7 Rewind)

Calgary Flames Alumni

Spirit of Red Deer

Bo’s Bar & Stage, The Hideout, Troubled Monk

Fortis Alberta

AJHL

Golfzone

Hockey Alberta Foundation Golf Classic:

ATB Wealth

Q2 Artificial Lift Services

ATB

Alstar Oilfield

Vada Capital

Goal Line Partners

Troubled Monk, Bo’s Bar and Stage, The Hideout

The House of Leaders

Cat Creek Consulting Ltd.

Silvertip Resort

Red Deer Discount Golf

Birchcliff Energy

Legacy Branding Co.

Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation

Friends of Ken King

Calgary Flames Foundation

McCaw’s Blasting & Drilling

Hockey Alberta

RSM Canada

Beyond Insurance

Respect Group

Cochrane Minor Hockey

Prism Flow Products

Western Hockey League

Team Alberta

Thirty-five athletes named to Team Alberta Under-16 Male Shortlist

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is one step closer to naming the roster for Team Alberta’s Under-16 Male team that is representing the province at the WHL Cup in October.

Thirty-five athletes are in contention to make the final roster, with four goaltenders, 12 defence, and 19 forwards included on the shortlist.

TEAM ALBERTA UNDER-16 MALE SHORTLIST >

Athletes were selected to the shortlist based on their overall play throughout the Team Alberta scouting process, past Team Alberta programs, and at the Under-16 Summer Camp in Red Deer, July 2-7. Eighty players were invited to Red Deer and worked through high intensity on-ice sessions, as well as off-ice training and classroom sessions.

“There are a lot of talented players in this age group. We saw it at Alberta Cup, and we saw it at summer camp,” said Derrick Martin, Head Coach of Team Alberta’s Under-16 Male team. “We’re constructing a team that can compete at an elite level in short-term competition. The decisions don’t get easier and now it’s up to these 35 players to show us why they belong on the roster.”

Team Alberta, fueled by Gatorade, is slated to compete at the WHL Cup in Red Deer against Team B.C., Team Saskatchewan and Team Manitoba.

Team Alberta

Team Alberta Under-18 Female Summer Camp Kick Off

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

Six goaltenders, 16 defence and 24 forwards are attending the Under-18 camp. Athletes are going to be evaluated and shortlisted for Fall Camp, with hopes of securing a position on Team Alberta to compete at the 2024 National Women’s Under-18 Championship in Quispamsis, New Brunswick Nov. 3-9.

TEAM ALBERTA FEMALE U18 SUMMER CAMP INVITES >

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 beginning 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.

Hockey Alberta Foundation

Celebrate the 2000-01 Memorial Cup champion Red Deer Rebels at Bo’s Bar and Stage July 19

RED DEER – Mix and mingle with members of the 2001 Memorial Cup championship winning Red Deer Rebels in a special one night only event at Bo’s Bar and Stage on July 19.

The event which is presented by the Hockey Alberta Foundation, Bo’s Bar and Stage and the Red Deer Rebels Foundation is a night of never-before-heard-stories from players and staff members of that championship run in a hot stove style format.

Also included in the evening is a silent auction and live entertainment. The $10 cover charge at the door is in support of The Hockey Alberta Foundation’s Every Kid Every Community initiative.

The Rebels went 54-12-3-3 over the course of the regular season, leading the Canadian Hockey League. They advanced through the Western Hockey League playoffs by dispatching the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Calgary Hitmen and Swift Current Broncos before defeating the Portland Winterhawks in the league final. Red Deer qualified for the 2001 Memorial Cup in Regina, Saskatchewan where they went 2-1 in the round robin after wins over Val d’Or and Ottawa and a loss to Regina. Their record was good enough to earn an automatic berth into the Memorial Cup final where they once again defeated Val d’Or in a come-from-behind 6-5 overtime victory.

The event kicks off at 6:30 P.M. For more information, visit Bo’s Bar and Stage Facebook page.

The 2000-01 Red Deer Rebels Memorial Cup Champions are being inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame on Saturday, July 20, at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in Red Deer.

News

WESTERN CANADIAN JUNIOR HOCKEY PILOT TO LAUNCH IN 2024-25 SEASON

CALGARY, Alberta – Hockey Canada has announced that its board of directors has approved a Western Canadian Development Model (WCDM) pilot project for the 2024-25 season, following an extensive proposal submitted in collaboration from its four Western Members, their respective Junior A hockey leagues and the Western Hockey League (WHL).

The WCDM pilot project focuses on strengthening the delivery of sanctioned junior hockey to participants across Western Canada and will create unprecedented choice and flexibility for players and their families in a system that prioritizes their unique needs on and off the ice, while evolving the opportunities offered to athletes to develop at a level that is reflective of their ability.

“The unity between Hockey Canada and the 10 organizations that led the development of the pilot project has never been stronger, and we are grateful for the tremendous work by the Members and leagues that led to today’s announcement,” said Pat McLaughlin, chief operating officer and executive vice-president of strategy for Hockey Canada. “We all must continue to evolve to meet the needs of Canadians looking to participate in our National Winter Sport in a system that operates with an athlete-centred approach and ensures their development and safety on and off the ice is at the forefront of everything we do.

“By increasing flexibility for junior hockey players and families in Western Canada, we anticipate that we will see higher quality competition on the ice, all the way up to the National Team level when Canada is competing internationally in the years to come.”

The WCDM working group consists of representatives from BC Hockey, the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, the Pacific Junior Hockey League, Hockey Alberta, the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Hockey Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, Hockey Manitoba, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and the WHL.

  1. Standard of play and rules

By streamlining the application of Playing Rules for the same age group, athletes, coaches and officials participating in sanctioned Western Junior A leagues will gain experience and develop in a similar environment to the WHL.

  • All participating Western Junior A leagues will adopt the WHL Rule Book, except for Section 1 – Playing Area, Section 3 – Equipment, Rule 34.6 – Television, Rule 38 – Video Goal Judge and Rule 46.14 – Major Penalty.
  • Fighting in the Western Junior A leagues will continue to follow the existing Hockey Canada Rule 7.10.
  • As part of the pilot, players 18 years of age or older as of December 31 of the current season may choose to wear half-face protection, while those under the age of 18 must continue to wear full-face protection, in line with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Rule 202.
  1. Roster composition

To increase flexibility in the development pathway for 15- and 16-year-old players in Western Canada, a number of changes will be implemented, including:

  • All 15-year-old affiliate players will be eligible to play up to 10 games with their WHL Club, the same as 16-year-old affiliate players.
  • Instead of rostering a maximum of five 15-year-old affiliate players in a season, WHL Clubs will be allowed to name up to nine by January 10.
  • If a WHL Club cannot dress a full roster of 20 players for a game, the team will now be eligible to dress two 15-year-old affiliate players.
  • WHL Clubs will be able to designate one 16-year-old player, who upon being returned to a Junior A, Canadian Sport School Hockey League or U18 team, will be allowed to play up to 15 games in the WHL.
  • If one of the four Members participating in the pilot has granted a 12-, 13- or 14-year-old player special status to play in an advanced age category, any such player must be evaluated to ensure they currently meet and are deemed to continue with special player status in their 15-year-old year to qualify and continue to be eligible to play up to 34 games in the WHL.

“This unprecedented collaboration between the WHL, Junior A leagues and the Western Branches is an unmistakably player-first approach and is one that responds in a substantive way to the evolving demands of players and their families,” commented WHL commissioner Dan Near. “Each of these organizations share a common priority – developing players on and off the ice. The Western Hockey League sits atop the development pyramid for elite players in the West and we will always look for ways to enhance our delivery to players and their families.”

“Establishing this pilot project is a very important part of the exciting steps being taken to evolve our junior hockey pathways in Western Canada, and the initiative will provide our players with even more opportunity and flexibility in their development,” said Cameron Hope, chief executive officer of BC Hockey. “We look forward to the coming season and working together with our Junior A leagues, the WHL and Hockey Canada to ensure the sanctioned junior hockey system continues to strengthen and flourish in our Branch and beyond.”

“This collaboration resets the foundation for developmental opportunities for athletes across Western Canada,” stated AJHL commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk. “As a unified group, we can proactively approach the dynamic nature of our game while adapting and evolving over the duration of this initiative and beyond. We are appreciative of the trust placed in our collective hands and thank the Hockey Canada Board and staff for their support.”

The pilot project will be reviewed on an ongoing basis during the 2024-25 season, and it is anticipated that its scope will expand in future seasons.

News

Hockey Alberta’s Goalie Development program helping young athletes reach the next level

RED DEER – Goaltending is one of the most scrutinized positions in sports. Through the Goalie Development Program, Hockey Alberta is providing young goaltenders the tools to succeed at all levels.

This program, led by Hockey Alberta’s Manager of Goalie Development, Matt Weninger, was designed to ensure Alberta’s goaltenders, and their coaches, are properly equipped to reach the next level of performance. Athletes and coaches are provided goaltender specific skills development, consistent coaching, and mental and physical resources that come with playing the position at a high level.

Goaltenders, Erika Lind and Jackson Unger both credit the program for the foundation of their development.

Lind grew up playing in the Edmonton minor hockey system, spending the final two seasons of her minor hockey career with the Northern Alberta Xtreme U18 Prep team. She had a great two years with the Xtreme, including her final season where she played in 21 games, putting up a .932 save percentage and 2.01 goals-against-average. Her suburb play earned her an opportunity to attend Mercyhurst University to play NCAA Division I hockey, where she made her debut between the pipes in the 2023-24 season as a freshman.

“I learned a lot through the Hockey Alberta stream, not only as a player, but life lessons and skills I’m able to use in my life now,” said Lind. “Throughout my years with Hockey Alberta, I’ve had the privilege of participating in quite a few of the elite (goalie development) camps. It gave me the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of the top-end goalie coaches in Alberta and that was always very beneficial to hear constructive feedback from them and get different perspectives.”

Lind’s time with Hockey Alberta’s Goalie Development Program began in 2019. While she’s reached an elite level of play, her foundation is still built on what she learned from the Hockey Alberta stream.

“By taking every piece of constructive feedback and applying it to my game to help develop my skills, I used that as an opportunity to grow as a goaltender, both physically and mentally,” said Lind. “Seeing my progression from my first year, when I was playing at the Alberta Challenge for North Yellow to now … I’m not sure I would’ve seen the growth in my game that I did, if it wasn’t for my time in the (goaltending) program.”

Unger played his minor hockey in Calgary with the Calgary Bisons and Edge U18 Prep team before moving onto the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors, where he’s spent the last three seasons.

The 2023-24 season marked Unger’s first full season as Moose Jaw’s starter. He went 35-15 with a .908 save percentage in the regular season before going 16-1-2 in 20 playoff games with a .910 save percentage and 2.90 goals-against-average, backstopping Moose Jaw to a WHL Championship and a berth in the Memorial Cup tournament.

Taking part in the Alberta Built Camps as a kid, Unger credits Hockey Alberta’s Goalie Development Program for setting him up for success later in his career.

“There’s nothing (that compares) to the calibre of Hockey Alberta camps, those are the toughest camps I’ve been to,” Unger said. “I’ve been participating in these camps since my U9 or U11 days and they’ve really pushed me the most. Hockey Alberta has the best coaches too. They know what they’re doing, and the program is set up really well to help young goaltenders find success.”

Weninger, who has lead the Goalie Development Program since 2017, first met Unger as a kid at the Hockey Alberta camps. Their relationship has grown throughout the years through Hockey Alberta and Weninger’s position as Moose Jaw’s goaltending coach.

“We’ve known each other for a long time,” Unger said. "I would see him every year through Hockey Alberta camps. Once I got drafted, I started going to his Lethbridge camps that he put on for WHL goalies. He’s developed me a lot and he’s been with me throughout most of my career, so it’s been good.”

Like Lind, Unger credits the Hockey Alberta Goalie Development Program for the development of the foundation of his game.

“One of the things they (Hockey Alberta) taught me was the off-ice mental stuff and all the nutrition,” Unger said. “They went through everything you need to know off the ice as well because that’s equally as important as the on-ice aspects. I still know all the stuff they taught me back then and it’s always in the back of my mind. The big game preparation, having all those tools from those camps is big for sure.”

Unger and Lind are now guest coaches for Hockey Alberta and they are working with Weninger to develop the foundation of the next generation of Alberta goalies.


For more information on the Hockey Alberta Goalie Development Program, visit:

HOCKEY ALBERTA GOALIE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM >

News

Seven Albertans selected in 2024 NHL Draft

RED DEER – Seven Albertans were selected in the 2024 National Hockey League Draft to six different teams during the two-day event in Las Vegas, June 28 and 29.

Calgary’s Carter Yakemchuk was the first Albertan off the board, going seventh overall to the Ottawa Senators while Lethbridge’s Terik Parascak also went in the first round to the Washington Capitals with pick 17.

Five more were drafted in rounds two through seven on Saturday.

In total, four are alumni of the Alberta Elite Hockey League and two, in Harrison Brunicke and Charlie Elick, are Team Alberta alumnus, although Elick was forced to miss the competition with an injury.

A full list of Albertans drafted can be found below.

Pick Player Team Position Hometown

FIRST ROUND

7

Carter Yakemchuk

Ottawa Senators

Defence

Calgary

17

Terik Parascak

Washington Capitals

Forward

Lethbridge

SECOND ROUND

36

Charlie Elick

Columbus Blue Jackets

Defence

Calgary

41

Andrew Basha

Calgary Flames

Forward

Calgary

44

Harrison Brunicke

Pittsburgh Penguins

Defence

Calgary

SIXTH ROUND

177

Eric Jamieson

Calgary Flames

Defence

Calgary

193

Hunter St. Martin

Florida Panthers

Forward

Edmonton