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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.