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Mel Davidson And Ken Hitchcock Added To Alberta Hockey Summit List Of Guest Speakers

Hockey Alberta, along with its invested stakeholders; Hockey Canada, the Calgary Flames, the Edmonton Oilers and the Western Hockey League, announced on Thursday the additions of Mel Davidson and Ken Hitchcock as guest speakers at the Alberta Hockey Summit August 22-24, 2013 at the Banff Centre in Banff, Alberta.

The purpose of the three day summit is to build a shared vision for the game in Alberta, align key stakeholders around a common purpose and ensure Alberta remains a world leader in Hockey Leadership and Development for years to come.

Mel Davidson is the general manager of Hockey Canada’s National Women’s Team Program. She’s also a two-time gold medal winner as head coach of Team Canada Female in 2012 and 2008.

Ken Hitchcock is a Stanley Cup winning coach and currently the head coach of the St. Louis Blues. He will also serve as an assistant coach of the Team Canada Male team that will compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics. At the conclusion of the 2011-12 NHL season, Hitchcock won the Jack Adams Award for NHL coach of the year.

The two will participate in hot-stove type session on the Friday evening, August 23rd. They will be discussing the unique challenges and opportunities they and their teams will face in a quest for gold at the Sochi Olympic Games.

They join an esteemed list of keynote speakers already confirmed for the Alberta Hockey Summit:

Ken Dryden (Former NHL goalie) - Opening Speaker – The History & Relevance of Hockey to Canadians

Ryan Walter (Former NHLer & current President of Abbotsford Heat) - Leadership in Today’s Game

Dr. Steve Norris (Former Vice-President of WinSport Canada) – Building a Player Development System for Everyone

George Kingston (Former NHL head coach & current coach on Norway’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams) – The Dynamic Future of Hockey

In addition to the keynote and guest speakers, the Summit will also feature a panel made up of members from each of the invested stakeholders. Bob Nicholson (Hockey Canada, President), Patrick LaForge (Edmonton Oilers, CEO) Ron Robison (WHL, Commissioner), Jim Peplinski (Calgary Flames, VP of Business Development), Bob Hartley (Calgary Flames, Head Coach) and Rob Litwinski (Hockey Alberta, Executive Director) will take part in a Q&A to discuss themes and ideas in moving the game forward and what role each stakeholder plays.

“At the rate the game is evolving, especially in the last decade or so, we felt hosting a hockey summit in Alberta was the right thing to do,” said Litwinski. “It gives everyone involved in hockey the opportunity to meet and talk openly on how we can improve the sport in Alberta for years to come.”

Registration for the Alberta Hockey Summit is still open and includes an Opening Reception on the Thursday, Friday Session and Social evening, the full Summit program on Saturday, and six meals.


Seven Themes Emerge From 2013 Alberta Hockey Summit

The 2013 Alberta Hockey Summit, which was attended by over 200 delegates, wrapped up on Saturday afternoon in Banff, Alberta. The summit brought together Alberta’s invested stakeholders in hockey, who were able to identify seven themes providing a sense of clarity and direction towards a shared vision for hockey in Alberta.

The event included a keynote speech from former NHLer and Hockey Hall of Famer, Ken Dryden and presentations from some of hockey’s greatest minds including President of the Abbotsford Heat, Ryan Walter, former Vice-President of Sport with WinSport Canada, Dr. Stephen Norris and Managing Director of the NHL Coaches Association, George Kingston.

The seven themes identified are:

1. Shared Leadership Across Sports

- Stronger advocacy for government

- Promote families registering their children in multiple sports and reducing the cost

- Modifying or removing boundaries to line up opportunities

- Focus efforts on communities that are willing to accept change

2. Train our Future Leaders

- Identify leaders at younger ages and train them to be great volunteers

- Clearly outline what leadership skills we are trying to develop

- Active recruitment of graduating players

- Engage the education system

- Utilize stakeholders like ATB to train hockey leaders under the parameters of their personnel development

3. Strengthen Business Relationships

- Identify businesses with a vested interest who can help

- Use the size of the game to leverage relationships

4. Develop a Model for the Ideal Local Minor Hockey Association (LMHA)

- Built by hockey in Alberta for hockey in Alberta

- Establish metrics of success for programming

- Education of stakeholders within the LMHA on the vision

- Emphasize the principles of Long-Term Athlete Development

- Utilize technology to educate and communicate

5. Reduce System Bias

- Manage the Age of Determination Date to benefit a broader cross section of players

- Pay attention to the next generation

- Remove the one-size-fits-all system that discourages participation

6. Open the Doors to Non-Traditional Participants

- Change the perception of our game – fun, family, friendly, flexible

- Work with ethnic communication groups to speak the ‘best’ language

- Remove the perception of who the game is for

7. Focus on the Player

- FUN – what is it, how do we deliver it

- Development programs designed for player need

- Shrink the game to their size

“These themes are just a starting point because they’ve emerged from raw data,” said Hockey Alberta’s Executive Director, Rob Litwinski. “We have to consolidate the reports, share the presentations and then develop action plans. We gained a lot of knowledge from this summit and we will be doing something with it.”

The delegate group was made up of representatives from varying levels of hockey, including Hockey Canada, the Edmonton Oilers, the Calgary Flames, the Western Hockey League, minor hockey associations, the CIS and ACAC, sports schools and facility operators.