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Image: Hockey Alberta coaches and players

Professional Development Coach Speaker Series Scheduled for this Fall

RED DEER – The 2023-24 season is here and Hockey Alberta is offering a professional development speaker series to coaches.

Targeted for Alberta’s elite coaches, presenters include Kyle McLaughlin, Topher Scott and Ryan Aasman. Each presentation is designed to aid coaches in planning and developing their season, to help set the team up for a year of success.

Presentations take place on September 25, October 16, 23 and November 13 at 7 P.M., register for each session below.

Creating a Comprehensive Seasonal Plan – Kyle McLaughlin

September 25

McLaughlin captained St. Cloud State University of the NCAA Division I, before dedicating his time to coaching. For over a decade, he has coached minor hockey teams in the Canmore Minor Hockey Association and Bow Valley Minor Hockey Association, while working with the Canmore Eagles of the AJHL as an assistant coach and director of skill development. In 2018, he was recognized as Hockey Alberta’s Coach of the Year.

Register >

Creating a Culture Conducive for Player Development – Topher Scott

October 16

Scott is the Director of Hockey Operations at the University of Michigan of the NCAA. A former player and coach at Cornell University, Scott has worked in a variety of different roles and levels of hockey, specifically on leadership and building culture. A founder of The Hockey Think Tank, he collaborates with coaches and leaders in the game across North America.

Register >

Player Habits that Translate to Junior Hockey – Ryan Aasman

Aasman is an assistant coach with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Working multiple years in grassroots hockey, at the Alberta Elite Hockey League and now in the WHL, Aasman brings his player and coaching experience to the forefront when discussing Player Habits that Translate to Junior Hockey.

October 23

Register >

Designing Development Focused Practices – Kyle McLaughlin

McLaughlin returns to discuss Designing Development Focused Practices, combining his experience in the minor and junior ranks to get the most out of practice time.

November 13

Register >

The presentations will be recorded and posted on Hockey Alberta’s Youtube channel following the conclusion of the series.


National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Each year, September 30 marks the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The day honours the children who never returned home and survivors of residential schools, as well as 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.

Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30.

Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family and community inter-generational impacts of residential schools, and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”. The orange shirt is a symbol of the stripping away of culture, freedom and self-esteem experienced by Indigenous children over generations.

On September 30, we encourage all Canadians to wear orange to honour the thousands of Survivors of residential schools.



Image: Gatorade logo with female Team Alberta player

Team Alberta Fall Camp set for Edmonton

EDMONTON – Twenty-eight athletes are attending the Team Alberta Female Fall Camp, September 22-24 in Edmonton.

Three goaltenders, nine defence and 16 forwards are coming to camp with the goal of earning a sport on the team that is competing at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship.

Team Alberta Under-18 Female Fall Camp Invites >

Fall Camp allows the athletes to be evaluated in on and off-ice sessions and includes games against three USports women’s teams.

Game one is scheduled for Friday at 7 pm the Downtown Community Arena against MacEwan University Gryphons. Games two and three are at the Clare Drake Arena. On Saturday at 2 pm, the University of Alberta Pandas provide the opposition, and on Sunday at 12:30 pm, the team faces the University of Calgary Dinos.

Following the camp, athletes continue to be evaluated with their club teams.

Team Alberta Female, fuelled by Gatorade, takes the ice at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship in Dawson Creek, BC, November 5-11.


Image: Brett Kramers on far left

When Connection Meets Opportunity

One might say the coaching career of Brett Kramers has been fast-tracked. But his dedication to the game, hard work and willingness to learn would say otherwise.

Growing up as a goaltender with South Side Athletic Club, it was a natural transition for Kramers when he started his coaching journey at 18 as a goaltender coach with the club.

Just five seasons later, Kramers is preparing for his first season as the head coach of the U17 AAA Fort Saskatchewan South Fort Chev Rangers in the Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL).

“The short time I’ve been involved in the AEHL has been amazing, and I expect nothing less in the coming month,” said Kramers. “The resources that the coaches have at their fingertips is crazy to me. There’s not enough time in the day to list all the resources we have as coaches and all the connections that I’ve already made.”

The 23-year-old university student, is joining the league as the youngest bench boss in the AEHL.

“I’ve always looked at my age as more of a strength than a weakness,” said Kramers. “I know what the players are going through, not just in hockey, but in school and life, so it’s given me the unique ability to connect with them.”

Kramers has surrounded himself with a support system of coaches who are looking to help him grow.

“I’ve been fortunate to coach with some really helpful people. Especially when I was just starting out, I had people show me what it means to be a coach and show me the sides of the game that I didn’t know,” said Kramers. “Now, one of the things I’ve learned with Hockey Alberta is the best coaches are the best thieves in a sense where you’re always taking pieces that you like from other coaches to do it your way.”

Derrick Martin, an assistant coach with Team Alberta Male, and Zenith Komarniski, a former pro turned coach in Fort Saskatchewan, are two fellow Spring Showcase coaches who Kramers now calls mentors.

“Derrick and Zenith have been so helpful to me and in different ways,” said Kramer. “Derrick is one of the people who has given me the inspiration to take coaching seriously. The work he puts in is truly second to none and it’s inspired me to have the same work ethic and the same compete level when it comes to being a better coach and person for the kids.”

The connection to Komarniski developed through the 2022 Prospects Cup, when Kramers debuted in the Spring Showcase program as an assistant coach.

“Not only has Zenith shared what he’s learned as a coach, but also what he’s experienced as a professional, and to someone like me who aspires to be at that level someday, it’s something I keep close to my heart,” said Kramers.

In 2023, Kramers returned as an assistant coach at the Alberta Cup, once again along side Komarniski on the bench.

“I’ve been able to take so many key tools from the Showcase and the events I’ve done with Hockey Alberta and translate them to my winter season,” said Kramers. “It’s different from short-term to long-term competition. The short-term, you’re looking for the team that’s going to come together super quick, build trust, have vulnerability and build connections right away and that’s one of the biggest things I’ve taken back to my winter team.”

As Kramers moves through his career, he credits Hockey Alberta programming and connections as a pivotal part of his growth.

“Hockey Alberta has done so much for me in just the two years I’ve been involved in the program. I wouldn’t be where I am without the programs they’ve offered,” said Kramers. “I’ve been able to see a lot of things at such a young age. Every time I go to a Hockey Alberta event, I feel like I’m the youngest guy there and I leave with a notepad full of new things to try or new philosophies.”

Through his opportunities with Hockey Alberta, lived coaching experience, mentors, podcasts and professional development he participates in, Kramers has started to craft his own coaching philosophy.

“It’s the messages and values I’ve been able to take from all the connections I’ve made whether it be through the South Side Athletic Club, my time with Fort Saskatchewan now or through the events I’ve done with Hockey Alberta,” said Kramers. “It’s finding the character kids – kids who are going to work for you on the ice and work for themselves most importantly. But what’s really important to me is to be able to see that a kid is going to be just as good of a person away from the rink and represent themselves with class, as much as they are going to bring the same mindset into the rink.”

Like any coach, his philosophy is ever-evolving as Kramers continues to learn.

“The biggest thing that keeps me coming back to Hockey Alberta events is seeing the success that other coaches have had,” said Kramers. “To see the progression that Hockey Alberta is able to make whether it’s to Hockey Canada, to junior or to the NHL. The more I come back, the more I learn, I’m putting myself in the right direction as a coach of where I want to go in the future.”

Hockey Alberta’s Spring Showcase events - Alberta Cup, Alberta Challenge and Prospects Cup - serve as identification and development programs for the top coaches, players, medical personnel and administrators in the Hockey Alberta system. Coach, Director of Operations and Trainer applications for all three events open October 2 on the Hockey Alberta and Spring Showcase websites. All interested candidates are encouraged to apply.


Image: four female Hockey Alberta coaches

Female Coach Development Network

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is excited to launch the Female Coach Development Network in the 2023-24 season.

The new pilot program is for female coaches across the province to connect and learn from each other. The network is free to join and open to coaches at all levels and ages that are currently coaching or coached in the 2022-23 season.

Coaches who join the network have access to mentors and resources to learn and help navigate their seasons. One call is scheduled each month, from October-February, with professional development and the opportunity to discuss situations coaches are going through.

“Hockey Alberta is prioritizing supporting women in the game,” said Danielle Wheeler, Hockey Alberta’s Female Hockey Mentor. “We recognize we need to support our female coaches throughout the season and the Female Coach Development Network gives those coaches a safe space to share what they’re going through, learn and network with other coaches.”

To ensure everyone’s voice is heard, the network is divided by two groups – North and South. Ally Bendfeld is leading the South group, while Wheeler leads the North.

Bendfeld works as an assistant coach with the Olds College Broncos (ACAC). In 2023, she travelled to the Canada Winter Games as an assistant coach with Team Alberta Female. Over the years she’s been involved in many Team Alberta programs, including as an assistant coach with the gold medal winning 2019 Canada Winter Games team and a Coach Mentor at the Alberta Challenge.

Wheeler is a former professional player and played NCAA Division I for Mercyhurst University. Coupled with her work with Hockey Alberta, she has coached in the Alberta Challenge and at her local minor levels. A lifelong student of the game, she is currently coaching Male U15 AA.

For any questions about the Female Coach Development Network, Wheeler can be reached at [email protected].

Join the Female Coach Development Network >


Hockey Alberta is hosting female-only coach clinics in Edmonton and Calgary this season.

Edmonton is hosting a Coach 2 course on October 28. Registration is now open.

Register >

Calgary is hosting three clinics. Coach 1 is scheduled for October 15, Coach 2 on October 22 and Checking Skills on October 29. Watch for registration to open.

Female-only coach clinics provide an inclusive environment to all females to learn the game and become certified in the necessary clinics.

For information on the Edmonton clinic, contact Danielle Wheeler ([email protected]) and for information on the Calgary clinics, contact Darcy Steen ([email protected]).

Team Alberta

Image: Team Alberta hockey player holding hockey stick

Team Alberta Male Announced for 2024 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta, in partnership with the Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta, has selected 21 male athletes to Team Alberta competing at the 2024 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC).

2024 NAHC Team Alberta Male >

“We are very excited to be working with such a great group of athletes from across Alberta,” said Darren Reid, Head Coach of Team Alberta Male. “The team looks to have more offence and got bigger in size. The boys are stronger this year and we have a great core.”

Tryouts were held in Red Deer at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Aug. 3-6. Males born in 2006-2009 of Indigenous heritage (First Nation, Métis or Inuit) were eligible to try out.

The 2024 championships are coming to Alberta for the first time ever. Grande Prairie is host to NAHC May 6-12, where Team Alberta Male looks to claim their first gold medal.

The Aboriginal Sport Circle established NAHC in 2002 to serve as the premiere competition for Under-18 aged Indigenous athletes. The annual event garners participation from First Nation, Métis and Inuit athletes across the 13 provinces and territories. The event helps foster cultural unity and pride to celebrate the athletic abilities of Indigenous players.

Since its inception, Alberta has medalled five times with three silvers (2015, 2013 and 2012) and two bronze (2014 and 2008).


Hockey Alberta’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The past two years have seen Hockey Alberta undertake several initiatives and engage numerous individuals to help us better understand the challenges faced by participants in our sport related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Hockey Alberta hosted an Indigenous Hockey Summit in August 2021, and then created and hosted the inaugural 11.4 Awareness Day in 2022 with a focus on maltreatment and Hockey Canada’s new rule 11.4.

A key part of the work undertaken by Hockey Alberta has been through the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. This committee is comprised of diverse individuals with a wide range of life and athletic experiences. Members of the committee attended the Hockey Alberta Member Summit in June 2022, where they discussed the findings of the organization’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion survey.


The information gathered through these various forums has included examples of behaviors that have no place in hockey. We have heard real examples and collected data that shows that we have Equity, Diversity and Inclusion issues in hockey. It has reinforced that we have work to do to provide a safe environment and ensure that all participants have a positive experience in our sport.


The next stage in the process starts today with Hockey Alberta’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion:

Hockey Alberta’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Hockey Alberta acknowledges there are systemic challenges in our sport involving equity, diversity, and inclusion. All forms of discrimination and maltreatment are unacceptable and must be removed.

Hockey Alberta is committed to removing the challenges to ensure we are:

  • Creating a safe sport environment free of racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying for all participants.

  • Acting decisively to improve equity, diversity and inclusion so that our sport is accessible to all.

  • Nurturing a positive hockey culture where inclusiveness and belonging are expectations, not options.

This statement provides the framework for Hockey Alberta to address Equity, Diversity and Inclusion issues in our sport. Hockey Alberta will ensure sanctioned activities are accessible, inclusive and safe for participants of all abilities, backgrounds, and interests, and Hockey Alberta will eliminate maltreatment, bullying and harassment from the game.

Specifically, our commitments are shown in our actions. In 2023-24, Hockey Alberta will add new staff resources to our operational team to support our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee, activate on our objectives, and support our Members, as Hockey Alberta works to nurture a positive hockey culture.

Actions for 2023-24 include:

  • Engaging in a pilot with minor hockey teams that educates and brings awareness about maltreatment.
  • Continuing the education process of Hockey Alberta’s Staff, Volunteers and Board of Directors.
  • Creating a new EDI Grant for Member initiatives for advancing the game through a focus on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,
  • Identifying and implementing Safe Sport/ EDI standards, tools and resources for use by our Members,

To review the complete plan, click on the website link below:


As well, on August 16, Hockey Canada released its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Path Forward document, and asked its branches across Canada to be involved and have stake in the Path Forward. Simply put, Hockey Alberta is in – with a commitment to working at the local, provincial and national levels to ensure a safe environment and a positive experience for all participants.

For more information, please contact Hockey Alberta:

Email: [email protected]

Team Alberta

Image: Team Alberta Female Hockey Player holding a hockey stick

Team Alberta Female selected for 2024 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships

RED DEER – Twenty-two female athletes are suiting up in the blue and white to represent Hockey Alberta, in partnership with the Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta, at the 2024 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC).

2024 NAHC Team Alberta Female >

“Our coaching staff and management group is very excited about the group of athletes that we have selected to represent Team Alberta at these championships,” said Jason Mercier, Head Coach of Team Alberta Female. “We have 11 returning players that were a huge part of our bronze medal team in Winnipeg, and we have an excellent group of new players that will play key roles in our success.”

Tryouts were held in Red Deer at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Aug. 3-6. Females born in 2006-2009 of Indigenous heritage (First Nation, Métis or Inuit) were eligible to try out.

The 2024 edition of the NAHC is being hosted in Alberta for the first time ever - May 6-12 in Grande Prairie.

“Having the 2024 NAHC on home soil in Grande Prairie for the first time in its history is going to add to the story that these girls are going to write for themselves, the memories will last a lifetime,” said Mercier.

The Aboriginal Sport Circle established NAHC in 2002 to serve as the premiere competition for Under-18 aged Indigenous athletes. The annual event garners participation from First Nation, Métis and Inuit athletes across the 13 provinces and territories. The event helps foster cultural unity and pride to celebrate the athletic abilities of Indigenous players.

Team Alberta

Image: three Team Alberta hockey players

Arctic Winter Games Athlete Registration open

RED DEER – Player registration is open for the 2024 Arctic Winter Games Selection Camps.

Team Alberta North is sending a Junior Female and U15 Male team to the 2024 games in Matanuska-Susitna Borough (Mat-Su), Alaska, March 10-16.

The U15 Male Selection Camp is in Peace River, Nov. 24-26. Male athletes born in 2009-2010 and who are not playing at the AAA-level in the 2023-24 season are eligible to try out.

A week later, the Junior Female Selection Camp is scheduled in Manning, Dec. 1-3. Females born in 2005-2010, playing at any level, are eligible to try out.

All athletes must reside north of the 55th parallel to be eligible to try out.

Eligible communities >

Male Selection Camp Registration >

Female Selection Camp Registration >

The Arctic Winter Games are the world’s largest northern multi-sport and cultural event. The Games are a celebration of athletic competition, culture, friendship and cooperation between north contingents. Teams that regularly participate in ice hockey include Alaska, Yukon, Alberta North, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

In 2023, Alberta’s Wood Buffalo Region hosted the Arctic Winter Games with Alberta’s Junior Female squad winning the gold medal, and the U15 Male team claiming silver.

For more information on the Arctic Winter Games, visit


Image: Hockey Alberta Coach teaching Para Hockey

Para Hockey Gliding into Red Deer

RED DEER – Para hockey is gliding into the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in Red Deer, September 9-10.

The Para Hockey Player Development Camp is a one-day camp designed to accommodate players of all ages and skill levels. The camp is taking place on Saturday and features on-ice skill development and game play. Equipment (sledge and sticks) are being provided to new players to use at the camp.

There are two ice sessions scheduled for Saturday, with a drop-in session available on Sunday morning from 9-10.

Following Sunday’s ice session, a para hockey-specific coaching clinic is scheduled. The clinic includes basic skills, the importance of having players develop confidence, self-esteem and a love for the game. Coaches who complete this session will leave with the in-person portion of Coach 2 qualification, knowledge and resources specific to coaching para hockey. Full Coach 2 certification is required of all para hockey head coaches.

Both the on-ice sessions and coach clinic will be taught by National Women’s Para Hockey Team Head Coach, Tara Chisholm. Chisholm has worked in the para game for nearly two decades with experience at all levels.

Para hockey is open to both male and female able-bodied and disabled players of all ages. Played in a sit-down sledge, with two sticks, it is a game that everyone can play.

For those interested in trying/participating in para hockey this season, can reach out to a program near you.

Para Hockey Programs >


Join Our Team!

Hockey Alberta is now accepting applications for the position of Senior Manager, Finance and Risk. This role focuses onleading the day-to-day operations for Hockey Alberta and Hockey Alberta Foundation’s financial processes and enterprise risk management. As a full time position, the Senior Manager position includes, but is not limited to:

  • Responsible for the delivery of organizational Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) as assigned.
  • Manage and lead all functions, staff and volunteers, within Finance & Risk, including the performance management of all employees within your defined area.
  • Engage all employees to provide input into the development of the organization’s capital and operating budget and to activate on business plan objectives as assigned.
  • Provide oversight on all activities and functions implemented and/or delivered under the leadership of Finance & Risk.
  • Act as a liaison to Hockey Canada on any relevant topics, as necessary.

This position leads all processes for budgeting, forecasting, reporting, audits, payables, receivables, fund management as well as processes for risk identification and management. Leading staff in establishing and implementing financial and risk processes, this position is responsible for identifying efficiencies and ensuring organizational accountability is in place.

Job Posting >

The deadline to apply for this position is Sunday, September 24.


Image: Hockey Alberta Coach

Coach Clinics open for Registration

With the new season around the corner, coach clinics are taking place throughout the province.

Coaching is a great way to give back to and get involved with the game. Clinics are being held virtually and in-person. A list of coach requirements needed for each division, is available on

Coach Requirements >

This season, the Coach 1 – Intro to Coach clinic is being offered at a discounted rate of $22 (plus GST) thanks to the Hockey Alberta Foundation and their partnership with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and Calgary Flames Foundation.

All coaching requirements need to be completed by November 15.


In an effort to provide an inclusive space, Hockey Alberta is also hosting female-only National Coach Certification Program (NCCP) Coach 2 courses. The courses are scheduled for this fall in Edmonton on Oct. 28 and dates are expected to be added in Calgary.


Instructional Stream 1 and 2 clinics for goaltending coaches are now available. Contact Matt Weninger ([email protected]), Regional Manager South of Elite Hockey Development, for dates.


Coaches are required to complete the Respect in Sport program. The Respect in Sport Activity Leader/Coach Program educates coaches and activity leaders to recognize, understand and respond to issues of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.

Respect in Sport Coach >


Hockey Alberta is committed to providing a positive experience for everyone in the game and believes that coach education plays a pivotal role in creating a positive environment. Coaches are encouraged to participate in courses beyond the requirements. Professional Coach Development opportunities are listed on

Register for a Coach Clinic >

Professional Coach Development Clinics >

Online Coach Professional Development >

For any questions, or for more information, the Hockey Alberta Regional Manager in your area.

Ice Times Newsletter

Centre Ice Podcast

Image: Hockey Alberta Centre Ice Podcast logo

Centre Ice Podcast - Episode 31 - 2023/24 Season Puck Drop with Hockey Alberta CEO Rob Litwinski

Host Kara Spady sits down with Hockey Alberta’s Chief Executive Officer, Rob Litwinski, as they dive into the thrilling anticipation of the 2023-2024 season. Tune in to catch up on the highlights from the previous season and get a sneak peek at the upcoming improvements and innovative initiatives set to make this season unforgettable. Don’t miss out on the latest hockey buzz as the puck drop for the 2023/24 season approaches!


Image: hockey puck drop and face off

2023-24 Season Puck Drop

The puck is about to drop on the 2023-24 season!

Hockey Alberta has been working to ensure the game gives everyone a positive experience this season. The 2023-24 Season Puck Drop is here to share the changes coming this season, and information you need to know as you sharpen your skates for the new season.

On the webpage you can find what’s new in 2023, learn about Hockey Alberta’s refocused strategic direction, how to play, coach and official clinics, information on Team Alberta programs, grants and funding and important dates.

2023-24 Season Puck Drop >

Good luck this season! And remember, hockey is supposed to be fun. Let’s give everyone a positive experience in 2023-24.