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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.