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H.A. Leadership Weekend Wraps Up 

Providing Hockey Alberta’s volunteers with a professional development experience is the purpose of Hockey Alberta’s Leadership Weekend that concluded Sunday in Sylvan Lake. Members of Hockey Alberta’s Board of Directors, zone teams, councils and committees were among this year’s attendees.

“The theme of this year’s event was TEAM,” said Hockey Alberta’s General Manager, Rob Litwinski. We wanted to let everyone know they are a part of the bigger Hockey Alberta team and everyone’s individual role is extremely important to the success of our business.”

The Leadership Weekend was a chance for volunteers to take part in professional development sessions while engaging and sharing ideas with hockey peers. The event kicked off Friday evening at the Best Western Hotel with a “State of the Game” address by President, Rob Virgil, and General Manager, Rob Litwinski, focusing on the importance of core volunteer and staff leadership to advance the game. Hockey Canada Chairman, Mike Bruni, also addressed the group on the six major priorities for Hockey Canada for the upcoming season:

  • To spirit the attitude and create mechanisms in player movement to facilitate flexibility within the game reflecting the needs of the modern player and family.
  • To service sport schools and create a positive and flexible infrastructure that meets the needs of this Hockey Canada customer.
  • To address and create the opportunity for flexible seasons, allowing players and families to participate in both hockey and other activities comfortably.
  • To recognize and enhance exciting non-contact streams and to encourage and spirit more non-contact streams as a viable and credible participatory program.
  • To encourage and embark upon relationships and partnerships with entrepreneurs/private hockey programs and work together to provide the best development programs for the player.
  • To proactively work with Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), recognizing it as a critical part of a vision of the Canadian student/athlete alternative, with particular focus on female hockey. 

The evening concluded with a presentation and discussion by the Governance Committee on potential changes to the organizational structure of Hockey Alberta which would effect the decision making process at the board level.

Saturday continued with a series of workshops on topics including: creating organizational culture, Hockey Alberta’s new website launch, effective meeting strategies, and administration process and training. The day concluded with staff business unit presentations for the upcoming year, which included items such as Hockey Alberta’s regional centre expansion strategy to Edmonton, Calgary and Northeast Alberta, and details surrounding Hockey Alberta’s new website launch in October.

On Sunday, a presentation was given to the core volunteers on the new head contact rule. Hockey Alberta staff will be working hard to ensure the necessary information and resources are available to the entire membership to support the implementation of the new rule.

“We have lots of exciting change ahead,” added Litwinski. “The leadership weekend reinforces the solid support system we have at Hockey Alberta and energizes staff and volunteers for the exciting hockey season ahead.”


Head Contact Rule Info 

Hockey Alberta would like to remind all of its members and participants that the new Head Contact Rule is in effect immediately for the 2011-12 hockey season.

"Safety of participants is always our number one priority and we feel the implementation of the Head Contact Rule will minimize the risk on the ice and help reduce the number of concussions and other serious injuries caused by head contact,” said Hockey Alberta General Manager, Rob Litwinski

The new rule is a zero tolerance measure for all head contact in minor, female, junior and senior hockey. The rule is as follows:

Minor and Female Hockey

•    A minor penalty shall be assessed for all accidental hits to the head, while a double minor penalty, or a major and game misconduct at the discretion of the referee based on the degree of violence of impact, shall be assessed for any intentional contact to the head.

Junior and Senior Hockey

•    A minor penalty and misconduct or a major penalty and a game misconduct shall be assessed for all checks to the head, at the discretion of the referee. A major penalty and a game misconduct, or match penalty, shall be assessed to any player who injures an opponent under this rule.

“This rule makes it clear that head contact is unacceptable and it is the responsibility of the referee to penalize a player who contacts an opponent above the shoulders,” said Hockey Alberta’s Referee-in-Chief, Curtis Nichols. “Anytime there’s a significant rule change, there is always a transition period while people adapt to the rule. We are asking coaches, fans, parents and players to fully support and embrace this rule during its implementation and understand its purpose is to create a safer environment on the ice for all participants.”   

The new Head Contact Rule was approved by Hockey Canada’s Board of Directors at the national governing body’s Annual General Meeting which was held in May in Calgary.


Take Your Seat At New Winsport Facility 

The rink boards are up. The ice is flooded. Now "Please Take Your Seat."

Weeks away from the puck drop to officially open WinSport Canada’s impressive international arena in the Athletic and Ice Complex at Canada Olympic Park, WinSport teamed up with Hockey Canada to launch a unique fundraising initiative coined, ‘Please Take Your Seat’ on Wednesday.
The creative campaign will give Canadians the opportunity to sponsor one of the 3,000 seats in the world-leading international arena, which will be the new home to Hockey Canada. Each personalized seat carries a donation price tag of $5,000. Tax receipts will be issued to each donor.
The funds generated from the seats will go towards completing construction of the state-of-the-art High-Performance Training Centre, which is the final piece of WinSport’s $220-million Athletic and Ice Complex and the core component to the organization’s vision of centralizing resources with construction of the Canadian Sport Institute. The Institute will allow athletes to access all of the resources needed to be fully prepared to win.
"We recognize not everyone can afford to invest millions of dollars in our goal of completing the Canadian Sport Institute, but we believe this gives more Canadians the opportunity to be directly connected to the home of Hockey Canada, while supporting the journey to the podium for all Canadian winter sport athletes," said Dan O’Neill, president and chief executive officer, WinSport Canada, who made the announcement while overlooking the new rink. "I am kicking off this campaign by personally sponsoring the first five seats, and I challenge other corporate Canadians to put their name on a seat and back our athletes too."
It took little time for O’Neill’s challenge to be heard. Three-time Olympic medallist, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, immediately responded by sponsoring two seats of her own while emcee’ing the media conference on the morning of WinSport’s 2011 Annual General Meeting.
"To have a permanent home where our national teams can train as a group, but more importantly in a environment surrounded by elite athletes in all sports, is a huge competitive advantage," said Campbell-Pascall. "The pursuit of excellence and medal performances at all levels is a common goal in sport. This facility will create more winners for Canada, and this fundraising initiative is a brilliant way to engage Canadians in the journey to the podium. I am proud to invest in our nation’s athletes."
In addition to having all contributors showcased with a name plaque on one of the seats in the new international rink, donors also will receive first opportunity to purchase tickets for all events at the arena, and will be honoured at a private event during the 2011-12 World Junior Hockey Championships.
"I think this campaign is a great example of how centralizing services can have a direct impact on the success of all athletes, while also bringing Canadians closer to our sports," said Bob Nicholson, president, Hockey Canada. "We are proud to be working with WinSport on this initiative to raise the additional funding required to complete the High-Performance Training Centre, and are extremely excited to move into our new home this fall."
About WinSport Canada

The Canadian Winter Sport Institute provides world-class sport facilities where Canadian athletes can discover, develop and excel. WinSport Canada owns and operates Canada Olympic Park, the Bill Warren Training Centre in Canmore, the Beckie Scott High Performance Training Centre on Haig Glacier, and funds two-thirds of the operating costs of the Olympic Oval in Calgary. A not-for-profit organization, WinSport Canada supports national sport organizations, encourages educational opportunities and subsidizes the operation of unique training and recreational facilities used by the nation’s top athletes and the general public. For more information on WinSport Canada, please


RDC Kings Hoping For A Return To ACAC

The puck has dropped, and Red Deer College is skating full speed ahead with its plans to create a sustainable men’s hockey team. RDC officials are committed to bringing back Kings Hockey, and are committed to beginning the application process to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

“We listened when you asked for a return of the Kings Hockey team to RDC. Through the support of our community and creation of the College’s Athletics Leadership Fund, the Kings Hockey team is just one example of RDC’s commitment to creating a sustainable future for Athletics where our student-athletes can continue to participate and deliver on their tradition of excellence in sport,” says Joel Ward, President & CEO.

The Athletics Leadership Fund was announced earlier this year as part of RDC’s long-term fund development strategy. This Fund augments base budget dollars invested by the College in Athletics programming, serving as a means of community investment in RDC’s Kings and Queens student-athletes.

Funds raised through the Athletics Leadership Fund will support all existing RDC Athletics teams and athletes, in addition to RDC Kings Hockey, should the College’s application to re-establish this team be successful.

RDC is proud to offer student-athletes the opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education while competing in a strong Athletics program. The College has more than 175 student-athletes competing in 11 sports. Since opening its doors, RDC has racked up 137 Conference (ACAC) team titles, 28 Conference (ACAC) individual titles, and 16 National (Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association) titles, in addition to countless individual honours bestowed on student-athletes and coaches for both academic and sporting achievement.

The ACAC Men’s Hockey League has grown over the years, with more opportunities for a future Kings Hockey team to play other collegiate-level teams than before the College’s men’s hockey team was disbanded in 2004. Currently, eight men’s hockey teams exist at Alberta’s other colleges and technical institutes.

“Through the Athletics Leadership Fund, we’re excited about future growth potential for RDC Athletics, such as a revitalized Kings Hockey Team,” says Keith Hansen, Athletics Director. “We’re hopeful that the ACAC reviews our application for a men’s hockey team and recognizes what this new RDC team can contribute to the league, and that opportunities would exist for our student-athletes to hone their skills and compete in a vibrant league filled with many talented individuals across the province.”

Hansen and his team are working now to submit the application for creation of an RDC Kings Hockey team. The deadline is November 15, 2011. If the application is successful, the RDC Kings Hockey team would hit the ice as early as September, 2013.