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Maltreatment signage making a difference in Alberta rinks

RED DEER – As part of the second annual Maltreatment Awareness Day (11.4 Day), Hockey Alberta is continuing an initiative that began last season.

Starting last year on November 4 (11.4 Day), Hockey Alberta partnered with 17 AAA and AA programs around the province to circulate ‘These Don’t Belong’ banners.

“Our goal is to nurture a positive hockey culture throughout Alberta,” said Darcy Smith, Manager, Hockey Alberta Foundation, and one of the people who spearheaded the signage project. “We need to eliminate maltreatment in our game in order to achieve this.”

The banners highlight that hockey is a game for everyone and racism, discrimination, sexual mistreatment or harassment, as well as emotional, physical and verbal abuse will not be tolerated. The campaign expanded to sending 1,172 Maltreatment Awareness posters to every hockey facility in Alberta. The final step was completed when each Hockey Alberta Provincial Championship host, as well as 16 other associations, was provided with banners to display at their tournaments.

The initiative was started to create awareness around Section 11 (Maltreatment), and more specifically Rule 11.4 (Discrimination) of Hockey Canada’s rule book, while directly connecting Hockey Alberta’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee to the campaign. This was done to show the steps Hockey Alberta is taking as an organization to educate on maltreatment in the game, where it exists and how to identify and report it.

The campaign has had positive feedback thus far on the messaging and impact these banners have had to create awareness.

“This is a great campaign. We welcome it here and will help out wherever we can,” said a member of Fort Saskatchewan Minor Hockey Association.

Due to the positive reviews, Hockey Alberta is continuing the campaign to remind everyone that this type of negative behaviour doesn’t belong in the game of hockey and that everyone belongs in the sport.

Maltreatment Awareness Banner Request Form >


Bates, Gagnon, Vira return to Hockey Alberta Board

Hockey Alberta News

Michael Bates

Hockey Alberta News

Francois Gagnon

Hockey Alberta News

Al-Amin Vira

RED DEER - Three incumbent directors were re-elected to Hockey Alberta’s Board of Directors during the 116th Annual General Meeting held virtually on November 30.

Al-Amin Vira of Heritage Pointe, Francois Gagnon of Fort McMurray and Michael Bates of Cochrane were elected to three-year terms by the Member organizations in attendance at the AGM.

Biographies and short videos for Vira, Gagnon and Bates can be found on the Hockey Alberta website. They join returning directors Karen Lee, Bill Gourlay, Kirstan Jewell, Danielle Paradis, Allan Mowbray and Len Samletzki (Chair).

In his remarks to the Members, Samletzki recognized the recent announcement of a new Hockey Alberta Life Member - Rob Virgil (Edmonton). A video tribute on Virgil’s career as a hockey volunteer can be found by clicking the link below or going to Hockey Alberta’s YouTube channel.

Team Alberta

Arctic Winter Games Selection Camp set to get underway

RED DEER – Selection Camps for the 2024 Arctic Winter Games are being held over the next two weekends.

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

The U15 Male Selection Camp takes place November 24-26 in Peace River. The camp includes players born in 2009-2010 who are not playing AAA hockey this season. The Junior Female Selection Camp is in Manning from December 1-3. Females playing at any level born in the range of 2005-2010 are eligible.

Athletes must reside north of the 55th parallel to be eligible for Team Alberta North.

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.


Five Provincial Championship tournaments in need of hosting sites

RED DEER - Five Hockey Alberta Provincial Championship tournaments need hosts, or they are at risk of being cancelled.

The deadline for host bid submissions was November 15. After the initial review, these five championships were still in need of hosts:

  • U13 Tier 1 Female (March 21-24)
  • U15 Tier 1 NBC (March 21-24)
  • U18 Tier 2 Female (March 21-24)
  • U15 Tier 2 Female (March 28-31)
  • U18 Tier 1 NBC (March 28-31)

Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships are some of the most exciting and high-profile events each season, bringing together the top teams from across the province in each category. The thrill of playing in this exciting event makes hosting a Hockey Alberta Provincial Championship tournament a unique and special opportunity.

December 15 is the deadline to submit bid applications for these five events. All bids must follow the Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships bid guidelines.

Bids should be emailed to Michelle Skilnick, Manager, Events & Community Engagement for Hockey Alberta.

Team Alberta

Team Alberta North U15 Male Roster announced for 2024 Arctic Winter Games

RED DEER – Seventeen athletes will be representing Team Alberta North in the U15 Male division at the 2024 Arctic Winter Games in Matanuska-Susitna Borough (Mat-Su), Alaska, March 10-16.

The final roster was determined after selection camp November 24-26 in Peace River. The camp was open to players born in 2009-2010 who are not playing AAA hockey this season.

The team will consist of two goaltenders, six defence and nine forwards, including four members who competed in the 2023 Prospects Cup.Goaltender Bracken Larocque and forward Ryan Sieker played for Team North Blue while goaltender James Reed and forward Kayton Reinders suited up for Team North Grey.


To be eligible for the Arctic Winter Games, athletes must reside north of the 55th parallel to be eligible for Team Alberta North.

Team Alberta North U15 Male participates in a round-robin tournament to determine seeding for the medal-round pairings in hopes of qualifying for the playoffs to compete for the gold ulu.

In 2023, Alberta’s Wood Buffalo Region hosted the Games with the U15 Male team claiming silver at the event.

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

Hockey Alberta Foundation

Hockey Alberta giving an assist for GivingTuesday

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is once again partaking in the GivingTuesday initiative, which takes place every year on the Tuesday following American Thanksgiving.

Created in 2012 and brought to Canada in 2013, GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that, according to its website, “encourages people to do good. The idea… has grown around the world, inspiring hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.”

Hockey Alberta believes everybody should have the opportunity to play hockey. The Hockey Alberta Foundation raised or donated more than $1.8 million that was used to support over 80 communities and programs across the province for the 2022-23 season. These programs included: the 11.4 Maltreatment Campaign, school programs, Female Hockey Day, Every Kid Every Community (EKEC) grants, Future Leaders, Hockey Alberta Member Grant, Who’s Hockey and volunteer recognition.

Funding from the Hockey Alberta Foundation allows communities to get kids on the ice, enhance coach education opportunities, and host female, para and Indigenous hockey programs.

For more information, or if you are interested in becoming a teammate with the Foundation to support ensuring all kids have access to hockey in our province, check the following links:



The Hockey Alberta Foundation also supports and partners with organizations that continue to make hockey accessible for everyone:

  • Jump Start – Community development and individual child grants available.
  • Calgary Flames Sports Bank – helps kids and families across southern Alberta access equipment at no cost.
  • Calgary Flames Community Grant – removes barriers in hockey and help alleviate barriers associated with financial resources, equipment and time.
  • KidSport – grants to help cover the registration costs for sport, allowing all kids to play.
  • Hockey Canada Assist Fund – enables youth to experience the power of play through Canada’s game.

Due to the efforts of the Hockey Alberta Foundation and its partners, thousands of kids can experience the game of hockey in the province of Alberta.

GivingTuesday is not just about donating funds – it is also about volunteers working hard to carry out good deeds and give back to their community.

In the spirit of GivingTuesday, Hockey Alberta is launching Hockey Gives Back for another season. Throughout the holidays, Hockey Alberta will feature teams and associations who are taking the time to help those in need. Whether it’s a food drive, shoveling snow or donating toys, teams and associations are giving back to their communities and Hockey Alberta wants to share it.

To share how your team or association is giving back this season, complete the following form:


For any inquiries or to send pictures, please contact Troy Durrell, Coordinator, Content Generation.


Rob Virgil receives Life Member recognition

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is proud to announce that Rob Virgil of Edmonton has been recognized with Life Membership status for his decades of service to minor hockey.

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.

"Rob Virgil has been a dedicated hockey volunteer in Alberta for almost four decades, serving at almost every level of the sport, and he continues to give his time as chair of the Nominations Committee for the Board of Directors,” said Fran Zinger, Chair of the Life Member committee. “We are pleased to be able to recognize his commitment to hockey for life in Alberta.”

Virgil got involved in minor hockey originally coaching his son’s team in the Carlisle area in Edmonton. He eventually became involved at the executive level as a division director, league director and president, district president and chair of the Edmonton Federation Hockey Council and Edmonton AA Hockey Council. He also started a non-contact recreational program in the Edmonton area and played until 2003.

At the provincial level, Virgil first joined Hockey Alberta’s Board of Directors as the Zone 8 Director for the Edmonton area, chairing several Board committees. In 2007, he moved to the executive level, serving as Vice President Operations and Vice President Development, before being elected Hockey Alberta President in 2011. He served as Past Chair from 2013-2019 and he currently is chair of the Board’s nominations committee.

Virgil’s decades of work to improve hockey in Alberta have been recognized locally, provincially and nationally:

  • 2001, President’s Award from the Edmonton Federation Hockey Council
  • 2007, Hockey Alberta Centennial Award
  • 2010, Life Member with the Edmonton Federation Hockey Council
  • 2012, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and
  • 2014, Hockey Canada’s Order of Merit award, as “an individual who has served amateur hockey faithfully.”

Ice Times Newsletter

Hockey Alberta Foundation

Female Hockey Day Grant applications now open

RED DEER – Grant applications for Female Hockey Day are now open for Minor Hockey Associations across Alberta.

Female Hockey Day is a Hockey Alberta initiative aimed at bringing female players, parents, coaches, and supporters together for the development, growth, and celebration of the game. This initiative began in 2018 and had since made stops in Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, and Calgary, with one being held virtually due to COVID-19. Fort McMurray will be the host site for this year’s event which is taking place on January 27 at the Frank Lacroix Arena.

"The Female Hockey Day Grants provided by the Hockey Alberta Foundation is a great way to bolster girls hockey within your association," said Morgen Kidney, Hockey Alberta’s Female Hockey Coordinator. "Whether you have concrete registration numbers and want to celebrate this, or are looking to host player or goalie ’try’ sessions to increase your programs; this is a fantastic opportunity to get some financial support to do so."

The Hockey Alberta Foundation is giving up to 10 $1,000 community grants for associations to hold their own Female Hockey Day in conjunction with the main event in Fort McMurray.

Applications close December 15th.



In Memoriam - Mike Klass

RED DEER – Mike Klass passed away on Sunday, November 5 at the age of 51.

Mike was a staff member at Hockey Alberta for more than nine years, and his passing leaves an indelible mark on the organization.

“I was lucky and honoured to know Mike as a colleague and close friend. It’s not what was on his job description that defined Mike, it’s the heart and soul that he brought to our organization and every group that he was part of. Mike was one of those people who did so much more than what he was asked. He truly defined our vision, Hockey for Life, and I will miss our day-to-day interactions greatly,” said Rob Litwinski, CEO of Hockey Alberta.

Mike showcased his pride in Hockey Alberta and his dedication to leave the game in a better place in everything he did.

He joined Hockey Alberta in August 2014 as Manager of Internal Alignment. A year later he shifted to Senior Manager, Business Operations, and then progressed to Director, Business Operations in 2018. Recently, he had transitioned to Director, Corporate Services.

During his time at Hockey Alberta, Mike worked closely with the CEO and the Board as part of the executive leadership team. He assisted in the organization’s revised business plan, participated in rebuilding the Hockey Alberta Foundation business plan, and recruited and maintained sponsors and partners over the past five years. He oversaw the financial services, risk management and human resources areas of the organization.

Mike also led a number of projects that had significant impact on the hockey community throughout the province. Those projects included the implementation of renewals of Respect in Sport certification for parents, background screening for on-ice officials, and Hockey Alberta’s move to its current offices in the Gary W. Harris Centre.

But it was as a co-worker and friend that Mike will be best remembered. Whether it was delivering a bag of children’s clothing to a co-worker with young kids, providing advice on how to deal with a difficult situation, or helping organize social activities, Mike cared about his colleagues at Hockey Alberta.


Outside of Hockey Alberta, Mike had a lifelong passion for sports that permeated everything in his life, from his work to his volunteer and community involvement. He was a player, teammate, and coach, as well as a mentor, volunteer, and community leader. He was particularly interested in providing sport and community involvement opportunities in the central Alberta region.

Prior to joining Hockey Alberta, Mike worked for eight years as the Executive Director for the Alberta Sport Development Centre – Central.

He had a key role, starting in 2012, on the Board of Directors of the Bid Host group that brought the 2019 Canada Winter Games to Red Deer. After Red Deer was named the host in 2014, Mike continued as part of the transition team, leading to the creation of the board of directors for the Games. The building of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre was a significant part of the Games legacy in the community.

Mike also was a founding board member and treasurer for Coach Alberta (2010-11), and a founding board member of the Sport Council of Red Deer.

Mike was born in Edmonton before moving to Strasbourg, Saskatchewan as a boy. He attended SIAST – Kelsey Campus in Saskatoon where he completed his Diploma in Recreation and Leisure Studies in 1992. He remained in Saskatoon for several years, where he met and married his wife, Cheryl. Mike and Cheryl moved to Hay River, Northwest Territories, for two years before settling in Red Deer in 2002.

Together they had two sons, Kai and Parker. Mike shared his love of sport with his boys. Often coaching or watching them play the sports they loved, watching a game on TV together or doing an activity with them. Mike loved his family and had a “Dad joke” for everything.

Mike is remembered by his wife Cheryl; sons Kai and Parker; mother Heather Schaeffer; sister, Melanie Loroff; brother-in-law, Corey Loroff; nieces Jaden and Erika Loroff; brother, Scott Klass (Gabrielle), nieces Myelle and Cambrie; fur baby Archie; and numerous cousins, uncles, aunts, in-laws, and friends.

A celebration of Mike’s life was held on Tuesday, November 14 at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at Red Deer Polytechnic, in the Fas Gas – On The Run Gymnasium. To honour Mike, the congregation wore their favourite sports jersey. If you were unable to attend in person, the service was livestreamed via YouTube:

Celebration of Life Livestream >

Memorial donations may be made directly to:

Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed at


Team Alberta

Image: Team Alberta player Molly Hamilton (left) fist bumps Team Alberta Goaltender Alyssa Barrette (right) after a goal

Team Alberta finishes fourth at National Women’s U18 Championship

RED DEER – Team Alberta’s U18 Female squad had a strong showing at the National Women’s U18 Championship November 5-11 in Dawson Creek, B.C., but fell just short of reaching the podium after a 3-1 loss to Team British Columbia in the bronze medal game.

Team Alberta overcame some early tournament adversity – losing their tournament opener, 4-1, to the eventual silver medalists from Quebec - to be one of the final four teams standing.

After the opening day loss, Team Alberta defeated Team Atlantic 6-3, thanks to two-point efforts from Keira Grant (Dunmore), Rylee McLeod (Grande Prairie) and Makayla Watson (Rocky View County). Taya Christie (Medicine Hat) made 28 saves in goal.

Team Alberta then clinched second place in Group B and a quarter-final berth, with a win in their final preliminary round game over Team Saskatchewan. Jordan Blouin (Calgary) scored Alberta’s only goal late in the second period and Christie kicked aside 28 shots for her first shutout of the tournament.

The win over Saskatchewan placed Alberta in the quarterfinals against Team Ontario Blue (1-1-1), who finished third in Group A. Alberta once again rode the hot hand of their goaltending, as Alyssa Barrette (Calgary) earned her first win and shutout of the tournament with 29 saves in a 1-0 victory. April Klarenbach (Cochrane) scored the only goal of the contest after she showed a great burst of speed, split the defence and beat the Ontario Blue goaltender with a forehand, backhand deke to punch Alberta’s ticket to the semi-finals.

In the semis, Alberta lost 4-0 to the eventual tournament champion Ontario Red. Ontario Red scored two goals in the first, one in the second and one in the third to push their way into the gold medal match. Alyssa Barrette made 22 saves in the loss.

The semi-final loss put Alberta in the bronze medal game against British Columbia. Claire Carruthers (Crossfield) potted her second goal of the tournament and Christie made 26 saves in the loss.

Even though the result was disappointing, Team Alberta defenceman Jayde Sansregret (Red Deer) said the U18 tournament was a great way to match herself up against the best players from across the country.

“It’s a great compete level,” Sansregret said. “It pushes you to your limits and it’s really great hockey and great competition to play against.”

McLeod and Watson led Alberta’s scoring with three points each in six games. Grant and Raedyn Spademan (Cochrane) each had two points. Christie and Barrette shared the net throughout the tournament, each appearing in three games. Christie finished with a 2.03 goals-against-average, a .932 save percentage and one shutout. Barrette ended the tournament with a 2.67 goals-against-average, a .904 save percentage and one shutout.

Home Ice Feature

Image: Hockey Alberta logo in black and white and red poppy

Alberta’s Minor Hockey Associations paying their respects for Remembrance Day

RED DEER – More than 40 tournaments are scheduled across Alberta this weekend, and hosts are ensuring participants have the opportunity to pay their respects on Remembrance Day, and throughout the weekend.

Many tournament hosts are ensuring that poppy stickers are placed on each player’s helmet for the duration of the tournament as well as a moment of silence taking place at 11 am on Saturday, November 11.

Olds Minor Hockey is hosting its U13 Ice Showdown Tournament, and the organizing committee is collaborating with the local Royal Canadian Legion as part of the commitment to honouring the veterans.

“In support of the Legion’s cause, poppy sales are being facilitated on their behalf. A poignant tribute is planned for November 11th, where a moment of silence will be observed across all ice surfaces, accompanied by the solemn notes of the Last Post,” said Heather Boone, Olds Minor Hockey U13 Coordinator. “Additionally, special recognition of the veterans is included in our programs, which will be distributed to more than 190 players and their families, emphasizing the significance of remembrance and gratitude for the sacrifices made. This commemorative event stands as a heartfelt tribute to our Canadian veterans, honouring their courage, sacrifices, and unwavering commitment to our country.”

Strathmore Minor Hockey is also hosting a U13 tournament with games in Strathmore, Standard and Gleichen.

“We are lucky to have the support of the Strathmore Legion, who graciously donated over 400 poppy stickers for each player to wear on their helmets through the tournament and beyond,” said Kendra Milne, tournament coordinator for Strathmore Minor Hockey Association Tournament Coordinator.

In addition to the poppy stickers and a moment of silence, the U13 Indus Hurricanes are going the extra mile to honour the veterans.

“We’re holding a Veterans food bank challenge,” said Jayme McHattie, Manager of the U13 club. “The team that brings the most items of food will win a prize for the team.”

Tournaments in Millet and High Country will have poems read once their moment of silence concludes. In High Country, there will be a bagpiper performing a traditional song.

In Taber, in addition to honouring Remembrance Day, teams will partake in a Memorial tournament for Rowan Beckie, a U13 player who passed away in February.

“We are having a moment of silence after the Act of Remembrance is read for Remembrance Day,” said Melanie Jespersen, Taber tournament organizer. “We want to show our respect for our veterans and all they have done for our country. We are balancing that with honouring our lost teammate and friend. So we have two very focuses and we will do our best to honour them both.”

In honour of Remembrance Day, please check out previous stories:

Honouring the Human Behind the Uniform

Lest We Forget


2023 Annual General Meeting - Final Notice

Hockey Alberta is hosting its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, November 30. The meeting will be held virtually, using Zoom, starting at 7:00 PM (MST). The agenda and a package of supporting documents for the AGM can be found on the 2023 AGM page on the Hockey Alberta website.


It is important for Executive Members of Member organizations (MHAs, Recreational/ Pond Hockey Programs, Para/ Sledge Hockey Programs, Accredited Schools, Junior Leagues and Senior Leagues) to attend the AGM to exercise your right to vote in the elections and for Notices of Motion. It is also important for sanctioned Minor Hockey Leagues to attend to obtain valuable information.

The Annual Meeting of Hockey Alberta is held within six (6) months of the conclusion of the fiscal year. Hockey Alberta’s fiscal year runs August 1 to July 31. In addition to any other business that may be transacted, the following business shall be conducted this year:

  • The election of three (3) Director positions, each for a three-year term;
  • The presentation of the audited financial statements and report of the auditor;
  • The appointment of the auditor for the ensuing fiscal year; and
  • The report of the Directors, if any.


Hockey Alberta is committed to providing its Members with accurate and current information for review prior to the AGM. The independent auditor’s report and financial statements are posted to the 2023 AGM webpage for review. These documents will be reviewed, and any questions answered as part of the AGM.


Please note that any overdue accounts must be paid in full for Members to be eligible to vote at the Annual General Meeting. Please refer to Article 4, 4.7 and 4.8 of the Hockey Alberta Bylaws for information about voting privileges/ procedures.

For the purposes of this online meeting, voting will be conducted using the Sport Law’s Simply Voting platform. Only registered Voting Members who complete and submit the online AGM Registration will be included in the voting list and entitled to vote. Please ensure your Member organization’s President/ General Manager has completed the registration process, identifying your voting delegate prior to the Monday, November 20 registration deadline.



Attendance and Voting Instructions will be sent by Hockey Alberta to properly registered voting delegates once the registration deadline has passed. If a voting delegate has not received this email from Hockey Alberta by Monday, November 27, please contact Kevin Macrae so the issue can be resolved.


Hockey Alberta’s Board of Director positions are elected by the members of Hockey Alberta at the AGM. Three (3) Director positions are up for election at this year’s AGM. Each successful candidate will serve a term of three (3) years. Per Hockey Alberta Bylaw 5.2, the final date for nominations to be accepted for Board of Directors elections was October 31, 2023 and therefore the nomination process is now closed.

Per the Hockey Alberta Bylaws, the following recommended candidates will be presented for election as Directors to the Board of Directors at the 2023 Hockey Alberta AGM on Thursday, November 30:

Michael Bates Cochrane
Francois Gagnon Fort McMurray
Al-Amin Vira Heritage Pointe

An introductory video of each candidate can be viewed by clicking on each candidate’s name above, or on the 2023 AGM webpage.

AGM documents available for review on the 2023 AGM webpage:

  1. 2023 Annual General Meeting Agenda
  2. 2022 AGM Minutes
  3. 2022-23 Audited Financial Statements
  4. Nominations Report

PDF version of Information Bulletin 23-03.


Glencross Invitational breaks the $2 million mark

RED DEER – The 10th anniversary of the Curtis Glencross Charity Event achieved an impressive goal - breaking the $2 million mark in funds raised for the Hockey Alberta Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities® Alberta.

“It’s unbelievable,” Glencross said of the event which has been ongoing for a decade in one iteration or another. “We had the rodeo for the first few years and have now transferred over to the charity hockey tournament. It’s been a hit; everyone loves it, and it keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.”

This is the second consecutive year the event hit the ice as four teams battled for the Glencross Charity Camp Championship at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in Red Deer. Each of the four teams was led by a celebrity coach, featured 15 skaters as well as a goalie and was manned with five celebrity players per team. The team coached by former Calgary Flame Joel Otto took home the win in the tournament final.

“It’s exciting for a lot of the non-NHL guys to be able to come here and play with guys who played at that level,” Otto said of the atmosphere on the ice during the tournament. “Troy Brouwer, Jamie Macoun, Kyle Brodziak, to have the skill they do at the age that they are, I think it’s surreal for them to lace up the skates and play a game with them. It’s an awesome event, a lot of fun and it’s truly a great time.”

Glencross echoed that sentiment of having former NHLers mixed in with people of all skill levels.

“It’s great, it makes it fun. For us alumni, it’s great because we can get out there and chirp back and forth with each other,” Glencross said.

“But at the same time, it’s good humour. We get chirped all the time too. We’ve got a really good group of sponsors and when you have a good group of sponsors, it turns into a good group of people out on the ice.”

The evening was wrapped up with the 10th annual Glencross Invitational Charity Poker Event at Western Park. Kurt Bensmiller took home the trophy buckle as the event winner.

“Red Deer as a whole is such a generous community and we’re so fortunate to have the Calgary Flames Foundation and ATB,” Glencross said. “ATB has been great with us since day one and have been our title sponsor for eight years now so to have the two of them and get the generosity from all our sponsors here in Red Deer is unbelievable.”

About the Hockey Alberta Foundation (HAF)

The Hockey Alberta Foundation’s goal is to raise funds to provide EVERY KID in EVERY COMMUNITY the opportunity to play hockey in Alberta. We work in collaboration with partners to fund those who need us, invest in those who will lead us and honour those before us. For more information on the HAF or to make a donation, visit

For more information from Hockey Alberta Foundation contact:

Tim Leer
[email protected]

About the Ronald McDonald House Charities® Alberta

RMHC Alberta helps keep families together when they need it most. Our Houses in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, and Medicine Hat provide a home-away-from-home to over 1,200 families each year who must travel for their child’s vital medical treatment. By enabling families to stay together, in close proximity to a hospital, Ronald McDonald House vastly improves the quality and experience of the care of the child and the wellbeing of the family, while reducing the family’s stress, sense of isolation, and financial burden.

For more information from RMHC Alberta contact:

Suzanne Pescod
[email protected]

Team Alberta

National Women’s U18 Championship brings up fond memories for Bree Kennedy

RED DEER - The opening of the 2023 National Women’s U18 Championship, which dropped the puck on Sunday, November 5 in Dawson Creek, B.C., stirred up memories for Team Alberta alumni Bree Kennedy.

Kennedy was a member of Team Alberta that competed in the 2019 tournament in Morden and Winkler, Manitoba.

“As always, when putting on the Team Alberta logo, I was filled with a sense of pride and deep commitment to represent my province in the best way possible,” Kennedy recalled. “Knowing my role and embracing it was a necessity, as was applying what I had learned before the tournament with unwavering effort and precision. Although we didn’t achieve the results we had strived for, I firmly believe we had the potential to go even further.”

“What’s also amazing is that I had the privilege of sharing this unforgettable experience with so many of my current teammates (at the University of Alberta). I’ve had the pleasure of watching each one of them grow tremendously from our Team Alberta days to now.”

Kennedy is now suiting up in USports with the Pandas and while the result of the tournament didn’t fall in Team Alberta’s favour with a sixth-place finish, she gained the confidence to know she could play at the next level.

“When competing against the top opponents from each province, I was motivated to play as meticulously and gritty as I could. Understanding my role on the team was important, too,” Kennedy said.

“In competing at this elite level where everyone excels, knowing and appreciating why you were chosen to represent your province is important. In this championship, where all players are elite, if you thought you were good before, you may find yourself questioning your abilities. It’s important to play to your strengths to the best of your abilities and control what you can control.”

The 21-year-old forward also highlighted her time with Hockey Alberta as a special experience for her, one that helped her grow both on and off the ice as she went through Hockey Alberta’s Elite Female Pathway.

“The impact these experiences (with Team Alberta) have had on my athletic development and personal growth. Taking part in many of the development camps and being part of various teams enhanced my understanding of the game and bolstered my confidence,” Kennedy said.

“I also gained an appreciation for the concept that winning demands 100% effort from every individual involved in the team. Above all, my experiences with Team Alberta taught me the importance of controlling what you can control, which ultimately means not worrying about what everyone else is doing and focusing on what I can do. Playing for Team Alberta also paved the way for me to play at the university level and fueled my passion for taking the game as far as possible.”


Applications open for Hockey Alberta’s Local Hockey Leaders EDI Grant

RED DEER – Applications are now being accepted from Hockey Alberta member organizations for the Local Hockey Leaders EDI Grant program.

The Local Hockey Leaders EDI Grant program provides up to $5,000 in funding towards general EDI fundamentals training, or for a specific awareness and education project proposed by the Member.

“This exciting new grant opportunity is a key part of Hockey Alberta’s strategic objectives towards working with our local hockey leaders across the province to foster more equitable, diverse and inclusive organizations,” said Rob Litwinski, CEO of Hockey Alberta. “Being able to announce the grant on November 4, as part of Hockey Alberta’s second annual Maltreatment Awareness 11.4 Day is very fitting, as we focus on ensuring we have a safe sport environment - free of racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying for all participants.”

The Local Hockey Leaders EDI Grant program is available through the support of the Hockey Alberta Foundation, Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, NHL Legacy Project, and Rogers.

Application deadline is January 8 with grant recipients being announced by the end of January. Full details, and the application form, are available on the Hockey Alberta website.


Successful applicants will be required to activate and complete their program and utilize their funding by June 30.

Team Alberta

Hayleigh Craig’s journey to USports ran through the National Women’s U18 Championship

Hayleigh Craig of the University of Alberta Pandas is now a three-year veteran on the team and a mainstay on one of the top teams in the country, as the Pandas were listed third in the nation amongst USport teams in the most recent rankings on October 24.

They are looking to end a seven-year drought, and bring home their ninth USports national championship to add to their already record leading eight since the Golden Path Trophy was handed out for the first time in 1998.

But before Craig was tasked with helping the Pandas achieve these goals, she was part of the team selected to represent Alberta at the 2019 National Women’s U18 Championship in Morden and Winkler, Manitoba.

“I remember it went by really fast,” Craig recalls of that tournament in which she played in all four games as Team Alberta finished sixth. “We didn’t do as well as we wanted in that tournament, but we had a great group of girls, so it was a really good learning experience.”

The tournament features the best players from across Canada, something that Craig said really helped her prepare for the university level.

“I learned a ton. You go from playing AAA or in one of the school leagues, where there’s a little more variety of skill level to playing for your province where it’s best-on-best,” Craig said. “You have to adjust quickly in a tournament like that. You have to play faster, think faster and I think it’s a really good steppingstone for those looking to move onto the next level. A lot of the girls from our team as well as others are now playing in USports or the NCAA and I think a lot of that has to do with all the tips and tricks we learned from that tournament and the coaching we got, and getting shown a professional environment such as living in a hotel for a week and having to come together quickly with a bunch of people from different backgrounds.”

Craig wasn’t the only member from Team Alberta to make her way to the Pandas. Three other members from that 2019 squad - Bree Kennedy, Natalie Keiser and Jaydnn Morden – also are suiting up for the University of Alberta.

“It’s super cool,” Craig said. “At that time, I think Bree and I were the only ones who had committed, but obviously the others followed suit. It’s nice having the familiarity with them and made the adjustment at the university level a bit easier. We played together at the Canada Winter Games too, so I’ve spent a lot of time with them, and it’s been a really great experience.”

Coincidentally, the 2023 version of Team Alberta that will be competing in the National Women’s U18 Championship November 5-11 in Dawson Creek, B.C., took on Craig’s Pandas in an exhibition match to help determine Team Alberta’s final cuts ahead of this year’s tournament.

“This year I noticed they were big and strong. They had some really skilled girls as well, but stepping onto the ice for the first time with them I really noticed how strong they were,” she said. “They were really hard on the puck and sometimes you don’t really find that with 16 or 17-year-old girls. Hopefully they have some success this year and bring a gold medal back to Alberta.”

Team Alberta will begin its tournament against Quebec. The team’s full schedule can be found below:

November 5

Quebec vs Alberta

4:00 pm

November 6

Atlantic vs Alberta

10:00 am

November 7

Alberta vs Saskatchewan

4:00 pm

November 9



November 10



November 11

Bronze Medal Game

2:00 pm

November 11

Gold Medal Game

7:00 pm

Team Alberta

Structure changes made to Alberta Winter Games selection process

RED DEER – The hockey competition at the 2024 Alberta Winter Games will have a slightly different look than previous events.

New for 2024, the competing teams at the Alberta Winter Games will be club teams - U15 AA for the Male competition and U13 AA for the Female competition. The Games take place February 16-19 in Grande Prairie.

In keeping with the Zone format established for the Alberta Winter Games, teams will be selected to represent each of the eight zones.

For the Male competition, U15 AA teams had to declare their interest in representing their zone by October 12. The team in each zone with the highest win percentage in its respective league, as of December 19, will be selected to compete at the Games. Male teams that have declared their interest in participating in the Alberta Winter Games are:

Zone Breakdown for Eligible Male U15 AA Teams

Zone 1 – Sunny South

Foothills, Lethbridge, Taber

Zone 2 – Big Country

Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotoks, Olds

Zone 3 – Calgary

Calgary (12 teams)

Zone 4 – Parkland

Camrose, Lacombe, Sylvan Lake

Zone 5 – Black Gold/Yellowhead

Beaumont, Leduc, Sherwood Park (2 teams), Spruce Grove (2 teams), St. Albert (3 teams), Strathcona, Sturgeon, Whitecourt

Zone 6 – Edmonton

Edmonton (9 teams)

Zone 7 – North Eastern Alberta

Bonnyville, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Wainwright

Zone 8 – Peace Country

Grande Prairie (2 teams), Peace River

For the Female competition, U13 AA teams in the Alberta Female Hockey League will have a different selection process. Zones with more than one team eligible will see those teams face off in a play down tournament, with each winning team earning the right represent its zone at the Games.

Zone Breakdown for Eligible Female U13 AA Teams

Zone 1 – Sunny South


Zone 2 – Big Country

Airdrie, Okotoks

Zone 3 – Calgary

Calgary (3 teams)

Zone 4 – Parkland

Camrose, Red Deer

Zone 5 – Black Gold/Yellowhead

Leduc, Sherwood Park, St. Albert

Zone 6 – Edmonton

Edmonton (2 teams)

Zone 7 – North Eastern Alberta

Bonnyville, Lloydminster

Zone 8 – Peace Country

Grande Prairie