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Elite Draw Zone Changes Announced

As part of an ongoing review of the Male Alberta Development Model (ADM) by Hockey Alberta’s Elite Development Committee, a number of changes have been approved by Hockey Alberta to Elite Draw Zones for the 2015-16 season.

The changes reflect proposals for draw zone changes that were submitted by member Minor Hockey Associations (MHAs) during the past year. The changes include:

  • Red Deer Draw Zone to reduce to hosting one (1) Bantam AAA team;
  • Slave Lake MHA moved from the St. Albert Draw Zone to the Grande Prairie Draw Zone;
  • Bashaw MHA moved from the Leduc Draw Zone to the Sherwood Park/Camrose Draw Zone;
  • New Sarepta MHA moved from the Sherwood Park/Camrose Draw Zone to the Leduc Draw Zone;
  • 3C’s MHA (formerly Castor, Coronation and Consort) added to the Medicine Hat Draw Zone; 
  • CR MHA (formerly Calahoo and Rivière Qui Barre) added to the St. Albert Draw Zone; and
  • Enoch Cree Hockey Association (new member) added to the St. Albert Draw Zone. 

The ADM was developed in 2007 to enable the province’s top hockey athletes to compete at the highest level in a fair and equitable manner. The goal is to ensure that the needs of players and teams are considered with regard to player opportunity and movement.

Elite Draw Zones have been established to facilitate feeder systems into Bantam AAA, Minor Midget AAA and Midget AAA programs. There are 12 Elite Draw Zones across the province, with each zone having at least one team in each of the AAA divisions. These AAA teams comprise the three provincial Elite leagues – Alberta Midget Hockey League (AMHL), Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League (AMMHL), and Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League (AMBHL).

Elite Draw Zone host centres include: Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Airdrie/Okotoks, Leduc, Fort Saskatchewan, Sherwood Park/Camrose, St. Albert/Spruce Grove, Lloydminster, Grande Prairie, Calgary and Edmonton.

During the upcoming season, additional work planned by the Elite committee includes each Draw Zone hosting a meeting of its area MHAs to discuss the curate state of AAA hockey in the zone and the province, and initiate discussion on future options.


Tim Leer

Hockey Alberta Foundation Welcomes New Executive Director

Tim Leer has been named the new Executive Director of the Hockey Alberta Foundation.

Leer has spent the past 18 years with Hockey Alberta, having held positions in clinic and program development, and most recently at the Senior Manager level overseeing Team Alberta Programs and Hockey Development for the past 11 years.

In addition to a track record of successful leadership roles within the Hockey Alberta organization, Leer is a well-respected member of Alberta’s hockey community, with 20 years of volunteer coaching experience throughout the province and numerous volunteer roles with Hockey Canada, such as a member of the Hockey Development Committee, Team Canada’s U17 Program, and various team host and leader positions within Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence.

“I’m excited about the opportunity and challenges ahead as the new Executive Director of the Hockey Alberta Foundation,” said Leer. “I look forward to working with the Board of Directors, Hockey Alberta, our partners and our donors in continuing to build on the work already established as we move forward in our goal to support and grow the hockey community in Alberta.”

Leer joins the Hockey Alberta Foundation as only the third Executive Director in the organization’s 13-year history. He succeeds Scott Robinson, who recently started as the Chief Executive Officer of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

“Tim comes to the Foundation with extensive experience and connections in the hockey community. As a Board, we are very happy to have him on our team to utilize his network and continue to grow the Foundation,” said John Windwick, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Hockey Alberta Foundation.

As Leer begins his new chapter with the Hockey Alberta Foundation, Hockey Alberta will not lose Leer as he will continue to be a valued member of the Hockey Alberta Management team.

“Tim has shown excellent leadership in making Hockey Alberta’s Team Alberta program the finest in Canada,” said Rob Litwinski, Executive Director of Hockey Alberta. “But Tim did a tremendous job of proving to the selection committee that he wants to take on a new challenge using his experience in programming, events, administration and leadership to fulfill the goals of Hockey Alberta Foundation as its Executive Director.”

Leer assumes his new role with the Hockey Alberta Foundation on September 15.


Initiation Program: Guidelines, Resources Unveiled

Hockey Alberta has finalized the operational guidelines for its Initiation Program for the 2015-16 season.

The guidelines outline the goals and expectations of Local Minor Hockey Associations (LMHAs), administrators, instructors, players and parents in implementing hockey programming for five and six-year-olds across the province.

The guidelines, along with information for instructors and parents, can be reviewed and downloaded from the Initiation section of the Hockey Alberta website.

As was outlined to LMHAs at the Spring Zone meetings in late April, and discussed at the Annual General Meeting and Hockey Conference in Calgary in June, Hockey Alberta’s Initiation Program is the formal structure for the operation of hockey for players six years and under in Alberta. The program is based on a combination of guidelines from Hockey Canada and Hockey Quebec, with specific modifications to reflect Hockey Alberta’s player first approach.

Hockey Alberta’s Initiation Program is based on Hockey Canada’s Long Term Player Development (LTPD) model. The ultimate goal is to make the first impression of hockey a positive one for all players and parents. There are three main objectives:

  1. Create a safe and positive environment for players six years and younger to experience the sport.
  2. Incorporate physical literacy, fair play, cooperation and FUN into the sport.
  3. Teach basic hockey skills so players can enjoy the sport.

Key elements of the guidelines include:

  • All practices and games are played cross-ice, half-ice or third-ice of the regulation playing surface.
  • The blue four-ounce puck is recommended, along with other items such as tennis balls, soccer balls etc.
  • No offside or icing called, nor timekeepers, scorekeepers or goal judges used. Officials are optional, since coaches should be on the ice for all sessions.
  • No goalie equipment, other than a goalie stick.

For information on Hockey Alberta’s Initiation Program for 2015-16, and to access the guidelines and other information documents, go to the Initation Program page.