The Centre Ice Podcast is back for the 2021-22 hockey season, and Episode Fourteen is all about celebrating National Coaches Week (Sept 18-26).
Hockey Alberta’s Senior Manager of Hockey Development, Justin Fesyk, discusses Hockey Alberta’s Coach Development Plan, and the numerous learning opportunities available to coaches at any level across the province.
We’ll then hear a coaching panel with Hockey Alberta’s High Performance Coach Mentor Barry Medori, Mount Royal Cougars Men’s Hockey Assistant Coach and current Team Alberta U16 Assistant Coach Alex Mandolidis, and two-time Olympic gold medalist and 2019 Canada Winter Games gold medal-winning Team Alberta U18 Head Coach Carla MacLeod.
Today marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as declared in June by the Government of Canada.
According to the Government of Canada website, the day honours the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.
“For me, the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, it’s important for Indigenous people as it honours the stolen children that never came home and survivors of residential schools,” said Jordan Courtepatte, President of Enoch Cree Hockey Association. “It also uncovers the dark history of the Canadian government’s treatment of Indigenous people and the atrocities the kids faced while attending the residential schools.”
In May, 215 unmarked graves of Indigenous children were recovered in Kamloops, BC, at the site of a residential school. Since then, hundreds more have been uncovered across Canada. The National Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimates there are thousands yet to be found.
According to a CBC article more than 150,000 First Nation, Metis and Inuit children were forced to attend church-run, government-funded schools between the 1870s and 1997. Children were removed from their families and culture and forced to learn English, embrace Christianity and adopt the customs of the country’s white majority. Survivors often do not talk about their experience at the residential schools due to the physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse they suffered during their time at the schools.
“My Kookum, which is my grandmother, she was in residential school and that had a negative impact on my family. My Dad and all my uncles and aunties, they grew up in day school, foster care and eventually a lot of them were incarcerated, and that played a big impact in my life,” said Courtepatte. “We struggled coming up, but luckily my mother is a great mother and she helped break the cycle for my brother and I. Now we’ve broken the cycle for our kids and we hope to continue that and try to help build a better place for our kids to live in.”
First Nations Elders call September “the crying month” as that was when children would be taken from their homes. Orange Shirt Day – recognized on September 30 each year - is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC in May 2013. As part of the event, Phyllis Webstad told her story about being given a beautiful orange shirt by her grandmother for her first day of residential school. That shirt was taken away from her on her first day and never returned.
Through the power of social media, Orange Shirt Day has grown to be a national movement. This year, it will coincide with National Truth and Reconciliation Day.
“The National Truth and Reconciliation Day is important for everyone. It shows that action is taking place, the building of trust between Indigenous people. It also helps build the relationship between Indigenous people by bringing the dark history to light and creating an open dialogue of conversations that need to happen,” said Courtepatte. “I feel I have an obligation to my kids, and one day their kids, to help create a positive environment for them to live in. We all live in this country together and it’s going to take a collective effort to help make this place better for the present and future for all of us.”
Many members of the Alberta hockey community have their own residential school experience and orange shirt story to tell.
Today, we wear orange to remember the lost children and recognize the survivors of residential schools, their families and communities, acknowledge the truth of the dark history associated with residential schools, and begin conversations of reconciliation.
Based on the recent announcements by the Government of Alberta, Hockey Alberta has updated its 2021-2022 Season Plan that outlines the minimum standards for Hockey Alberta’s Members to undertake hockey activities this season.
The updated plan reflects CMOH Public Health Orders 44-2021 and 45-2021, and the implementation of the Restrictions Exemption Program.
The updated 2021-2022 Season Plan (current as of September 29) is enclosed with this Bulletin. The Plan and its appendices, along with other announcements and documents pertaining to COVID-19 and hockey in Alberta can be reviewed on the Hockey Alberta website: Hockeyalberta.ca/return-hockey/
RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is proud to announce that three long-time volunteers have been recognized with Life Membership status for their decades of service to minor hockey.
George Kallay, Terry Ledingham and Annie Orton are the new Life Members.
Life Membership is the highest honour which may be bestowed by Hockey Alberta, recognizing individuals who have dedicated their time and support to making the game of hockey better in Alberta.
"Our three new Life Members are exceptional individuals who have contributed so much to amateur hockey in their communities and across the province,” said Francois Gagnon, a member of the Hockey Alberta Board of Directors, and chair of the Life Member Selection committee. “It is a great honour to recognize their accomplishments and see Annie, Terry and George join such a distinguished group of people who have dedicated their lives to the game of hockey in Alberta and beyond."
George Kallay, of Drumheller, experienced the game of hockey from every level – as a player, parent, referee, volunteer and executive member with Hockey Alberta, the Hockey Alberta Foundation and Hockey Canada. George was inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame twice - in 2015 as a Builder and again in 2018 as Director of Operations of the 1999 Canada Games gold-medal winning Team Alberta U16 Male squad. George passed away in 2020 at the age of 74.
Terry Ledingham, of Bon Accord, has been involved in hockey at the minor hockey, Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada levels. Terry volunteered with Hockey Alberta in a variety of roles including as President of Hockey Alberta. During his term as President, minor hockey coaches were directed to wear helmets during all on-ice practices and the first Regional Development Centre in Grande Prairie was opened. Terry also served for five years as a Vice Chair at Large for Hockey Canada and was inducted to the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016.
Annie Orton, of Blairmore, dedicated more than 30 years to the sport of hockey beginning with Crowsnest Pass Minor Hockey Association before volunteering with Hockey Alberta and eventually becoming President of Hockey Alberta. Within her two-year term, Hockey Alberta partnered with Respect Group to provide access to the Respect in Sport Parent program and examined non-body contact options for players. Annie was the recipient of Hockey Canada’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award in 2013.
Hockey Alberta is celebrating coaches at every level of the sport during National Coaches Week.
As associations and teams across the province prepare for the 2021-22 season, one thing is certain - a coach’s development is never finished. In fact, coaches are the lifeblood of the hockey system. A good coach generally equals a great experience for the players.
In Alberta, development opportunities for hockey coaches are coordinated through Hockey Alberta’s Coaching Pathway, which focuses on philosophies appropriate for every level of player - from grassroots through to the elite level.
“Creating a really comprehensive coach development plan is really important. We have focused on a coaching pathway, and within that pathway, first and foremost, coach development does start at the local level,” said Justin Fesyk, Senior Manager of Hockey Development. “So, we want to create an environment where our associations put the amount of emphasis needed and support mechanisms in place to develop their coaches.”
Hockey Alberta’s Regional Managers – who are located around the province - can aid in the creation of an association’s Coach Development Plan. The Regional Managers also lead the implementation of National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) for hockey in Alberta, which is a requirement for all coaches. A full list of coaching requirements is available on the Hockey Alberta website.
Coach certification clinics are ongoing now across the province. For a current list of clinic dates and locations, go to the Hockey Alberta website.
Registration must be done online through HCR, with one of the requirements being that each coach must have an account in the new HCR 3.0 platform.
For more information about Hockey Alberta’s coaching pathway and the opportunities within the province, check out an interview with Justin Fesyk (below), or tune into Episode 14 of the Centre Ice Podcast, which airs on Thursday, Sept. 22.
CALGARY - In furthering its commitment to being leaders in safety and inclusivity, Hockey Canada has introduced an update to its rulebook to focus on recognizing and reporting incidents of maltreatment.
In a special meeting of the Members held on June 22, 2021, Hockey Canada and its 13 Members unanimously approved the adoption of Section 11 – Maltreatment in the Hockey Canada Rulebook starting this season, which includes bringing all forms of maltreatment under one section of the rulebook and providing guidelines for escalating penalties based on the severity of the inappropriate behaviour from players and team officials.
“Hockey Canada has made a firm commitment to making the game safe and inclusive for all who wish to participate, and the introduction of Section 11 provides our 13 Members, local hockey associations and officials across the country with clearly-defined criteria for enforcing rules related to many different forms of inappropriate conduct,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “We believe this is a great step towards ensuring we limit the number of incidents that occur on and off the ice, and will allow players of all ages to enjoy our game free from abuse, discrimination, racism and all forms of maltreatment.”
As part of the new rules, certain infractions will include an indefinite suspension pending a hearing, as well mandatory hearings for repeat offenders. To read Section 11 of the Hockey Canada Rulebook in its entirety, please CLICK HERE.
In a further effort to eradicate discrimination of all forms from the game, Hockey Canada and its 13 Members also approved a new national reporting system for incidents of discriminatory taunts, insults or intimidation, both on the ice and outside of game play. The new rule and reporting system includes, but is not limited to, discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, skin colour, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.
The national reporting system will allow Hockey Canada and its 13 Members to have a better understanding of where maltreatment incidents occur and their frequency, and will allow the organization to take progressive steps to eliminating incidents through action and education. A number of tools and resources will also be provided to Hockey Canada’s 13 Members and local hockey associations across the country to help educate participants on maltreatment, including a Rule 11 officiating module and coaching resource document.
“The addition of Section 11 to the Hockey Canada Rulebook is a major step towards making the game more inclusive for all, but the reporting system will allow Hockey Canada and its 13 Members to proactively implement change through education and create a better understanding of where issues are occurring,” said Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada. “As we continue to learn and help foster an environment that is diverse, inclusive and safe, we believe the updated playing rule will greatly benefit all participants and allow more young children and adults to enjoy the game.”
From the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, Hockey Alberta has established COVID-related plans for our sport based on the guidance and requirements of the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services. As those mandates have changed, Hockey Alberta Member organizations across the province have worked diligently to adapt and allow participants the opportunity to play our sport.
Within that framework, Hockey Alberta has developed a 2021-2022 Season Plan that outlines the minimum standards for Hockey Alberta’s Members to undertake hockey activities this season.
The 2021-2022 Season Plan is enclosed with this Bulletin. The Plan and its appendices, along with other announcements and documents pertaining to COVID-19 and hockey in Alberta can be reviewed on the Hockey Alberta website: