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2016 National Women’s U18 Championship begins in Regina

REGINA - The quest for gold for Team Alberta’s U18 Female team starts now, as the 2016 National Women’s U18 Championship kicks off in Regina.

Team Alberta opens play today (Wednesday) at noon against Team Quebec, followed by back-to-back 9 a.m. match-ups on Thursday and Friday against Team Manitoba and Team B.C., respectively, to close out round-robin play. Semi-final and consolation round games are set for Saturday, with the gold and bronze medal games to be played on Sunday.

Team Alberta U18 Roster >

The five-day tournament sees eight teams - Alberta, host Saskatchewan, Atlantic, British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario Blue, and reigning champs, Ontario Red - go head-to-head for national supremacy.

All preliminary-round games, placement games, semifinals, and the bronze-medal game will be streamed live online at, while TSN will broadcast the gold-medal game Sunday, Nov. 13 starting at 5 pm Mountain Time.

For a full schedule, and more information on the U18 Nationals, click here.


Two more Alberta officials assigned to World Junior A Challenge

RED DEER - A total of five officials from Alberta will now be representing their province at the World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville, as two more have been assigned to work the event.

Referee Fraser Lawrence (Edmonton) and Linesman Chad Huseby (Red Deer) will join previously-assigned Referee Cody Rude (Edmonton), and Linesmen Deion Foster (Edmonton) and Jared Mackey (Calgary) at the annual international Junior A challenge.

Hockey Alberta and its Provincial Officials Committee congratulate all five officials for having their hard work rewarded with a chance to represent Alberta at the World Junior A Challenge.


Photo: Hockey Canada Images

Alberta beats Saskatchewan, finishes fifth at U18 Nationals

REGINA - Team Alberta defeated Saskatchewan 6-4 Saturday afternoon to finish the National Women’s U18 Championship in fifth place.

Alberta took a 2-1 lead out of the first period thanks to goals from Chloé Puddifant and Courtney Kollman,and led 4-2 heading into the third after Taylor Sawka and Tyra Meropoulis scored in the second period. Saskatchewan made tied the game with goals just 15 seconds apart early in the third, before Dara Greig put Alberta ahead for good six minutes later. Kollman later netted her second goal of the game with an empty Saskatchewan net. Sawka was named Team Alberta’s Player of the Game.

In her second start for Alberta, goaltender Camryn Drever made 33 saves to earn her first win of the tournament. Both Drever and Amanda Zeglen finished the tournament with a 1-1 record in net.

Team Alberta Roster > | Box Score > | Game One Results: Quebec 6, Alberta 2 > | Game Two Results: Alberta 2, Manitoba 1 > | Game Three Results: B.C. 3, Alberta 1 >

The fifth place finish is a notable improvement on last year’s eight place finish for Team Alberta, while Saskatchewan moved up one spot from last year’s results, from seventh to sixth.

For stats, a full schedule, and more information on the U18 Nationals, click here.

Home Ice Feature

(From left) Team Alberta Head Coach Carla Macleod, Goalie/Video Coach Amanda Tapp, and Assistant Coach Cassea Schols.

All roads lead back to (Team) Alberta

REGINA - This year’s National Women’s U18 Championships will be a blast from the past for a trio of Team Alberta coaches.

Head Coach Carla MacLeod, Assistant Coach Cassea Schols, and Goalie/Video Coach Amanda Tapp come into the tournament sharing the same distinction - coaching the team they once suited up for.

Having represented Team Alberta twice at the Canada Winter Games in 1995 (as a 12 year-old) and in 1999, MacLeod says it’s an honour to return to her roots.

“It’s pretty awesome, actually,” she said. “You know, you look back on your ‘good old days,’ and obviously, having an opportunity to play for Team Alberta was a major step in my career when I was a younger player, and memorable. So, to fast forward here and to have the opportunity to work with the young players here in Alberta and to be a part of Team Alberta again, it’s very special.”

Along with her Team Alberta experience, MacLeod brings a winning pedigree to the program, with numerous international medals to her name as a member of Team Canada, most notably back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2006 and 2010.

“I think what you learn from sports, regardless of what level you play, is that the values of sport are what matter, and that’s making sure you’re a good teammate and taking care of the people around you,” MacLeod said. “Of course these girls have dreams about winning Nationals, and we’re going to do everything we can to help them reach those dreams, without a doubt, but I think ensuring that the experience we provide them is a positive one is what’s most critical.”

For Tapp, 2016 will mark her fourth year as part of the Team Alberta staff, and the second straight year coaching alongside MacLeod, her teammate at the 1999 Canada Winter Games.

Tapp says, whether it’s on the ice or behind the bench, representing her province never gets old.

“It has been an absolute privilege every single time I’ve been asked to represent Team Alberta,” Tapp said. “I still remember the first time I had the honour of putting on the (Team Alberta) jersey and taking to the ice alongside the very best players in our province. For most of us, the U-18 National Championships was our first taste of high performance hockey at its best, both on and off the ice. Hockey Alberta has given me many opportunities to study the sport and receive mentorship from the best in the game. I will forever be in debt to Hockey Alberta for all it has done for me, both as a player and coach. ”

A member of Team Alberta at the 2007 Canada Winter Games, Schols is set to make her coaching debut for the program she attributes a large part of her success to.

“To give back to the program that helped me grow into the person that I am and the hockey player that I was has been the greatest honour,” Schols said. “Hockey Alberta and all of the coaches that have come through the program devote so much of their time and energy to each and every player to make sure they achieve their best, and after coming up through the program, I wanted to be a coach that gave the same time and devotion that was given to me.”

While the entire Team Alberta staff brings a wealth of knowledge from all sides of the game, MacLeod says the trio of Team Alberta alumnae can bring their personal experience to the program.

“Our whole staff is awesome, and really dedicated, and certainly for Amanda, Cassea and myself, we get to relive our glory days a little more - we keep bringing them up anyways. We all thought we were hot stuff back in the day, so it makes for some good laughs,” MacLeod said. “There’s an ownership to the program, in a sense, because we took pride in it as a player, and certainly as a coach, you want to do right by Hockey Alberta and Team Alberta, and what that program has done for us. I think for the three of us, it’s a unique opportunity; it’s a special occasion for us. It’s not the main focus, by any means, but every once in a while we take the time to appreciate where we’re at and the opportunity we’ve been given.”

Team Alberta opens the National Women’s U18 Championships Wednesday at noon against Team Quebec. For a full schedule, and more information on the U18 Nationals, click here.

Home Ice Feature stories will focus on interesting stories about the individuals and groups who make a difference within the hockey community in Alberta. If you have a suggestion for a Home Ice Feature story, email [email protected].


Team Alberta alumnus and World U17 Hockey Challenge All-Star Ty Smith (left) celebrates a goal with his Team Canada Black teammate. (Photo courtesy of Hockey Canada)

Team Alberta alumni earn silver medals at 4 Nations Cup and World U17 Hockey Challenge

JARVENPAA, FINLAND - Former Team Alberta goaltender Emerance Maschmeyer earned yet another medal in international competition on Sunday, bringing home silver with Team Canada at the 4 Nations Cup following a 5-3 loss to the United States.

It’s the second silver medal in as many years for Maschmeyer and Team Canada, having narrowly missed out on gold last year against the U.S..

SAULT STE. MARIE, ONTARIO - Four skaters from the 2015 gold medal-winning Team Alberta U16 squad came away with a silver medal at the World U17 Hockey Challenge after a narrow 2-1 loss to Sweden.

Ty Smith, Eric Florchuk, Sean Comrie and Chase Wouters all helped Team Canada Black reach the final game of the tournament, and came up just one goal short of earning a second straight gold medal for Canada. With two goals and two assists in six games, Smith was named one of the tournament’s All-Star defencemen.

In total, nine Team Alberta alumni suited up for the World U17 Hockey Challenge: Jonathan Tychonick, Elijah Brown and Tristen Nielsen finished in fourth place with Team Canada White, while Carl Stankowski and Josh Tarzwell finished right behind in fifth place with Team Canada Red.


On-ice study: smaller ice surfaces and skating development

In August 2016, Hockey Alberta partnered with Powerscout Hockey and St. Albert Minor Hockey to conduct a study on the effectiveness of smaller ice surfaces in skill development. The study featured 40 Initiation-aged players (five- and six-year-olds) who participated in a series of tests to collect data on a number of game and practice scenarios.

Hockey Alberta has worked with Minor Hockey Association Development Directors over the past couple of years to implement the Initiation guidelines. As part of that process, Hockey Alberta has received feedback that asks whether the smaller surface limits skating development, rather than enhancing it.

With regard to skating development, specific data for skating speed and acceleration was collected from the following scenarios:

• 200-foot sprints
• cross-ice games
• half-ice games, and
• a full ice game.

Overall, an analysis of the data and observation of the on-ice sessions reinforce that using a smaller ice surface at the Initiation level helps in the overall positive development of skating skills and skating acceleration for our youngest players, thereby better preparing them for when they are old enough to move to higher levels of hockey.

To read more about the findings from this study, click here.


Three Alberta officials selected for the World Junior A Challenge

RED DEER - Three Alberta officials will have the opportunity to represent their province on home soil at the 2016 World Junior A Challenge in Bonnyville.

Referee Cody Rude (Edmonton), along with Linesmen Deion Foster (Edmonton) and Jared Mackey (Calgary) have received the assignment to officiate the annual international Junior A challenge.

Hockey Alberta and its Provincial Officials Committee congratulate all three officials for having their hard work rewarded with a chance to represent Alberta at the World Junior A Challenge.