For this month’s Centre Ice Podcast, we sat down with Calgary Northstars General Manager Jesse Hale to discuss how their association gives back to the community throughout the season, and especially during the holidays.
RED DEER – This season, Hockey Alberta is announcing two coaches per month who are deserving of the recognition of Coach of the Month, presented by Players Bench Team Apparel.
Coaches of the Month for November are Jen Lockridge of Sturgeon County and Jay Many Grey Horses of Cardston.
Jen Lockridge’s coaching journey began 16 years ago when she was approached to coach a U18 team. After taking a break from coaching to start a family, Lockridge returned to coach when her two daughters started to play.
Lockridge is now coaching in her eighth season, as the head coach for the Sturgeon Fillies U15 Female team and an assistant coach with the Sturgeon Mustangs U13.
“My coaching philosophy is to create a team first environment that also encourages players to learn, develop and thrive on and off the ice. Every player has unique strengths and weaknesses and it’s my job to figure out how to coach them to build their confidence and rise to their potential,” said Lockridge. “I want to strengthen their abilities to handle adversity they face on and off the ice while instilling the importance of work ethic and teamwork. Most importantly, I want to see them enjoying their season and not wanting it to end.”
In the story of her coaching career thus far, Lockridge has bookmarked her most memorable coaching moment five years ago with a novice team. After the final game of the year, she noticed kids looked upset and started to cry during her post-game speech. Immediately thinking she missed something, she asked why everyone was upset.
“One kid stood up and said it was the best season he’s ever had and was just so upset it was over. Everyone around the room nodded,” recalled Lockridge. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of memorable moments as a coach but the team unity I felt in that moment was unforgettable. It goes to show that hockey is so much more than winning trophies and championships. Having a full team after seven months of hockey being that upset it was over for the year, was the biggest win I’ve experienced.”
Lockridge’s passion for the game extends beyond coaching. She volunteers as coach director for the Sturgeon Minor Hockey Association and is working to expand the female division from one female team to three next season.
Jay Many Grey Horses
When Jay Many Grey Horses started in coaching, his goal was to help the youth and share his knowledge of the game.
But after seven years, coaching is much more than that for Many Grey Horses.
“My goal is to make sure that every kid who puts on a jersey for me improves, works hard and knows their role on the team,” said Many Grey Horses. “The joy on a kid’s face when they learn a new skill is priceless.”
Many Grey Horses is a busy guy behind the bench. He is currently with the Cardston Thunder U13 and Fort Macleod Mustangs Senior AA team.
“I’m a strong believer that the hard work and determination it takes to be part of a team sets kids up to be confident, respectful and successful in anything they do,” said Many Grey Horses. “It’s my job to foster love and respect for the game of hockey and build up each player’s belief in themselves.”
His influence on his players is noticed off the ice but, for Many Grey Horses, his favourite coaching memory is winning a U18 gold medal at the Alberta Treaty Hockey Championships.
During the hockey season, Many Grey Horses can often be found at the rink, but when he’s not there he can be found on the golf course or at a rodeo.
Throughout 2022, the hockey community has rallied together. This holiday season, teams from across the province have committed good deeds in their communities. Hockey Alberta is featuring some of those teams who have given back this season.
Red Deer U15 AAA Rebels
Red Deer U15 AAA Rebels held a food drive at their game on November 26 against the Calgary Northstars, generating an impressive food donation to the Red Deer Food Bank and a $265 cash donation.
Red Deer U13 A APLS Chiefs
The Red Deer Minor Hockey U13 A APLS Chiefs collected and assembled over 50 hygiene kits for at-risk youth. Items were donated by organizations in the Red Deer area and are being donated to the Red Deer High Risk Youth Coalition. Kits include soap, towels, dental health, deodorant and a card filled out by each player with a message of kindness, hope and inspiration.
Lacombe Minor Hockey Association
Lacombe MInor Hockey Association has launched the "Rockets Give Back" program, in partnership with the Broom Tree, an organization that focuses on serving women in Central Alberta facing a variety of challenges. U5 - U18 teams can choose a way to give back to the Broom Tree through donating for their Blessing Bags, the Noel Family Project, purchases in their cafe, volunteering, donating money or goods. Launching on November 15, the Rockets Give Back has raised the equivalent to $1,200 so far.
Hockey Edmonton’s NE401 Crush has dedicated their time to giving back this season. The U11 HADP team has collected food to donate to the Veterans Food Bank in Edmonton, where they met veterans and heard their stories. They stocked shelves and created family hampers for families in need. On December 28, the team will be volunteering at the Junior C Tyler Palmowski Memorial Game to help raise money for DIPG research.
St. Albert Sting
The St. Albert U15 A Sting have filled six boxes for children in need for Operation Christmas Child. Each box is filled with love in hopes to make a child smile this holiday season.
Junior Oilers U18 AAA
The Junior Oilers are supported the fourth annual Ty’s Toy Drive. When the Junior Oilers Orange faced off against the Junior Oilers Blue on November 30, the AEHL U18 AAA teams collected two overflowing boxes of toys and a $280 cash donation for the drive.
Calgary Buffaloes U17 AAA Bulls
On December 11, the Calgary Buffaloes U17 AAA Bulls will be hosting the Veterans Food Bank Drive and Teddy Bear Toss in support of the Women’s Centre at the Cardel Rec Centre.
Calgary Buffaloes U15 AA Hawks
The Calgary Buffaloes U15 AA Hawks volunteered with the Magic of Christmas on December 8. The Magic of Christmas collects donations to gift presents to families in need throughout Calgary. A list of families was given to the Hawks and they selected gifts for each member of the family to open on Christmas.
Knights of Columbus U16 AA Spurs
Together with the Canadian Athletics Club, the Knights of Columbus U16 AA Spurs collected food and monetary donations for the Edmonton Food Bank. In total they filled five large boxes to drop off at the local fire hall.
U17 AAA AEHL Showcase
The U17 AAA Alberta Elite Hockey League Showcase collected food to donate to the local food bank.
Red Deer Cambridge Hotel U11 A Chiefs
The Red Deer Cambridge Hotel Chiefs volunteered at the Red Deer and District Food Bank to build food boxes for families, loaded pallets and sorted inventory. Combined, thee team donated 270 lbs of food as well.
Simons Valley Hockey Association U7 Junior Team 2 White
Simons Valley Hockey Association U7 Junior Team 2 White spread cheer to their local senior community centre by creating 95 cards for each senior!
U11 SU403 Sturgeon Mustangs
The U11 SU403 Sturgeon Mustangs conducted a "friends and family" equipment drive as part of their community initiative. Players worked for almost a month collecting and donating as much equipment as they could find in the Morinville, Legal and surrounding areas. The equipment they collected was donated to Sport Central to help kids less fortunate get into sport!
Calgary U13 AA Northstars Green
In support of the Calgary Drop-in Centre’s Fill a Sock program, the Calgary U13 AA Northstars Green collected donations of various basic needs items. In total, the team stuffed 20 socks filled with soap, razors, shampoo, gloves and toques to donate to those in need in Calgary.
Red Deer Motors U13 A+ & U18 AA Elks
The Red Deer Motors U13 A+ and U18 AA Elks have teamed up to spread Christmas cheer around Red Deer by visiting over 200 homes to deliver Christmas cards and collect donations for the Red Deer Food Bank. The players were able to fill an entire truck box with donated food items.
NWCAA U18 AA Bruins
The NWCAA U18 AA Bruins have dedicated their time to giving back off the ice this season. In October, they partnered with Street Sisters Society, an organization that helps vulnerable women and girls in need, to make lunches. In early December, the team supported the Airdrie Lightning U18 AA team in their food drive and provided a donation to support Ryan Couling’s family, a Lightning alumni who lost his battle with cancer. Most recently, the team joined forces with the Calgary Firefighters Toy Association to stuff goodie bags and wrap presents for kids in need. The Bruins are busy delivering a little holiday magic this year!
Elk Island U15 Wild
At their last game, Elk Island’s U15 Wild held a "Fill the Net" campaign. They invited all those attending to donate toys for children and toiletries for seniors for Christmas. They collected over 150 items and $150 in cash donations. All donations are going to be distributed throughout Lamont County.
Knights of Columbus U17 AAA Centennials
The U17 AAA Centennials are giving back this season by participating in community events. As a team, the Centennials volunteered at the St. Jerome Family Christmas Evening where they helped with Christmas crafts, serving snacks, snapping photos and selling raffle tickets. The following week, the spent the evening helping out at the Edmonton Food Bank.
Hockey Alberta Staff
Members of the Hockey Alberta staff spread some holiday cheer at the Ronald McDonald House in Red Deer by volunteering to cook dinner for the families staying there.
Barrhead U15-2 Bruins
The Barrhead U15-2 Bruins hosted a donation drive for the seniors at the Hillcrest Lodge. When they dropped off the donations, the team sang Christmas carols while the seniors ate supper.
Coaldale Cobras U13
The U13 Coaldale Cobras sponsored a family via the Coaldale Food Bank this holiday season. The players, coaches and families donated time and money and went on a shopping spree. Their good deed lead to a challenge, where they challenged the rest of Coaldale Minor Hockey to do the same.
U7/U9/U11 Coaldale Cobras
Accepting the challenge from the U13 Coaldale Cobras, the U7, U9 and U11 Coaldale Cobras each sponsored a family to ensure they had food and presents under the tree this year.
Coaldale U11 Cobras
In addition to sponsoring a family, the Coaldale U11 Cobras ran a food drive at their tournament in support of the local food bank!
U13 Knights 2 White
The U13 Knights 2 White organized a Skate-a-Thon and hot chocolate for their community. The players and their families raised over $1,800 towards Hockey Fights Cancer!
Warburg Sharks U9-1
With the frightful weather outside, the Warburg Sharks decided to give back to their small town by shovelling snow off sidewalks throughout the community and at the local seniors lodge.
To share how your team or association is giving back this season, complete the following form:
For any questions or to send pictures, please contact Kara Spady, Marketing and Communications Coordinator.
RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the host communities for the 2023 Provincial Championships, presented by ATB.
A total of 34 provincial champions are slated to be crowned during March and April, including 30 weekend championship tournaments. The remaining four provincial champions are determined through league playoffs.
Championship tournaments are being hosted in locations across the province – from La Crete in the northwest, to Cold Lake in the east, and Lethbridge in the south.
ATB is returning as the presenting sponsor of the 2023 Provincial Sponsorships.
“The Provincial Championships are an exciting time and opportunity that each team strives for from the beginning of the season,” said Kris Noble, Senior Manager, Sponsorship and Community Investment. "We are excited to be back as the Presenting Sponsor of the Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships and look forward to making these events a special experience for everyone involved.”
Participating teams for the provincial championship tournaments are determined through league playoffs.
Most Minor Tiered and Minor Female events will feature eight teams – the host, a wild card, and the champions from each division’s respective leagues: Hockey Calgary, Edmonton Federation Hockey League, Central Alberta Hockey League, Northern Alberta Interlock, All Peace Hockey League, North Eastern Alberta Hockey League, Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League, and East Central Female Hockey League.
Week one (March 23-26) is the busiest weekend, with the following tournaments on the schedule: U18 Female AAA, U16 AA, U15 AAA, U15 AA, U15 Female AA, U15 Tier 1, U15 Tier 2, U15 Tier 3, U15 Tier 4, U15 Female A, U15 Female B, U13 Tier 1, U13 Tier 2, U13 Tier 3, U13 Tier 4, and U13 Female B.
Week two (March 30-April 2) features: Junior C, U18 Female AA, U18 AA, U18 Tier 1, U18 Tier 2, U18 Tier 3, U18 Female A, U18 Female B, and U13 AA.
The final weekend of 2023 provincial play wraps up April 6-9, as the tournaments showcase Senior AA, Junior B, and U17 AAA.
Senior AAA, Junior A, Junior Female, and U18 AAA provincial champions are decided through league playoffs.
Hockey Alberta is still accepting applications for the U18 Tier 4 and U13 Female A events. Interested hosts should contact Michelle Skilnick, Manager, Member Services ([email protected]) as soon as possible.
RED DEER – This season, Hockey Alberta is announcing two coaches per month who are deserving of the recognition of Coach of the Month, presented by Players Bench Team Apparel.
October’s Coaches of the Month are Stephanie Carlson of Bluffton and Bryan Ritten of Lacombe.
Stephanie Carlson has volunteered her time as a coach for the past five years, including this season with the Rimbey Motive X Excavation U9 Renegades.
“I love seeing the smiles on the kids faces when they show up ready to learn and eager to play,” said Carlson. “The joy they feel when they finally master a skill or when a drill works its way into a game and everything just clicks. The hard work they put in is rewarded and, for me, that’s the payout.”
Her goal as a coach is to create quality humans both on and off the ice.
“Respect, work ethic and teamwork will move mountains in one’s life,” said Carlson. “Respect for yourself, respect for the game and respect for others playing and officiating it. I also believe in fueling a strong work ethic to show up, do the work and develop. If you want to improve or win, you have to do with work. And teamwork is crucial in sport. Work as a team, succeed as a team.”
Instilling those attributes in her players paid off last year when her U11 team went from an underdog position to the final game of their playoffs. The improvement showed by the team made it her most memorable hockey moment to date.
“My hockey role model was a coach that had no kids on the team…. He taught me more life skills than anything really which is where my philosophy comes from. Be a good human first, then a good hockey player,” said Carlson.
When Carlson is not at the rink, she works as a Registered Veterinary Technician at the Rimbey Vet Clinic. She also works on her family farm with cattle, chickens and ducks, and coaches baseball in the summer.
Bryan Ritten is in his fourth year behind the bench, after getting started coaching hockey because his son’s novice team needed a head coach.
“The energy and enthusiasm the players bring to the hockey rink is refreshing and inspires me,” said Ritten. “Helping enable a young person experience being part of a team and recognize how their effort can contribute to their individual and team’s success is incredibly rewarding.”
Now coaching with the Lacombe Rysco Corrosion U13C Rockets, Ritten aims to show each player they can accomplish great things if they are willing to put in the effort and keep a positive attitude.
“Seeing a player or team I coach have moments of success on the ice is incredible, but the most memorable moments are the team building events outside the rink,” said Ritten. “The entire group of players having fun together at the hotel during an away tournament or sitting together to watch a local hockey team play is really special.”
Ritten’s employer, TELUS, recognizes the importance of volunteering in the community and enables him to continue to do so. In the summer, he coaches soccer and is a mentor for his daughter’s high school robotics team. Away from the rink, Ritten enjoys skiing, golfing, fly fishing, camping and traveling.
RED DEER – Over the weekend, Team Alberta hosted the December Development Camp.
Both the Male U16 and Female U18 teams gathered in Red Deer for three days of preparation ahead of the Canada Winter Games. Sessions included team bonding, on and off ice development sessions and two exhibition games apiece.
The camp was the only time the Team Alberta squads will gather between the roster announcements in November and at the Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island. The male hockey competition runs February 18-25, while the female competitions is February 27-March 5.
On the weekend, Team Alberta U18 Female faced off against Alberta Elite Hockey League’s U15 AAA division teams. On Friday, Team Alberta fell 7-1 to the Okotoks Oilers. On Sunday, Team Alberta skated to a 3-1 over the Leduc Oil Kings. To prepare for tournament conditions, each game featured a five-minute overtime and a shootout.
Team Alberta U16 Male defeated Red Deer U18 AAA Optimus Chiefs 14-3 on Saturday in a modified game that focused on special teams and in-game situations. On Sunday, Team Alberta lost 3-2 to the St. Albert U18 AAA Nektar Raiders.
RED DEER – The road to the 2023 Canada Winter Games continues on December 16-18, as the Team Alberta U16 Male and Female teams gather for their December Camp. The teams will gather at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in Red Deer in preparation for the short-term competition taking place February 18 - March 5 in Prince Edward Island.
The camp offers a chance to see each team in action, as they will both play two exhibition games against U15 and U18 AAA club teams. The weekend camp will be the first and only time that the teams will be assembling in full before departing for the event in February.
All games will be held at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre and are free for the public to attend. The games will also be broadcast live on HockeyTV.
Team Alberta Female
The puck will drop on the Female squad’s first game at 7:00 P.M. on Friday, December 16 against the U15 AAA Okotoks Oilers. On Sunday, the team will face-off versus the Leduc LJAC U15 AAA Oil Kings at 3:00 P.M.
Athletes born in 2005-07, playing with a Hockey Canada sanctioned club team were eligible for Team Alberta Female. The selection process for the Canada Winter Games began in the 2021-22 season, where athletes were evaluated. In July, Hockey Alberta invited 72 athletes to the U18 Summer Camp, where 28 players were shortlisted and invited to the U18 Fall Selection Camp. Following the selection camp, athletes continued to be scouted with their club teams through the fall.
Team Alberta U16 Male
The U16 Male team will play their first game at 4:30 P.M. on Saturday, December 17 against the U18 AAA Red Deer Optimist Chiefs. They will cap off their weekend with a game against the U18 AAA St. Albert Nektar Raiders on Sunday, December 18 at 12:00 P.M.
Athletes born in 2007, playing with a Hockey Canada sanctioned program were eligible for the Canada Winter Games. To be selected to the Team Alberta U16 Male roster, athletes where evaluated based on their overall play throughout the Team Alberta scouting process. The process includes past Team Alberta programs, the U16 Summer Camp and play with their club teams through the fall. Eighty players were invited to the U16 Summer Camp, with 33 shortlisted and evaluated through the fall.
Hockey Alberta has set up an online store to purchase additional Team Alberta apparel. Please feel free to share the link with family and friends who wish to cheer on Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games. There are a number of items to choose from, but jerseys are not available for purchase. The store is open until January 3. Orders will be shipped by February 1.
Any questions related to merchandise can be directed to – [email protected].
Hockey Alberta has selected the 111 volunteers who will lead teams at the 2023 Spring Showcase. Each team will consist of a director of operations, coach mentor, head coach and two assistant coaches. Teams at the Alberta Cup and Alberta Challenge will include a trainer. Staff for each Alberta Challenge team also includes an apprentice coach.
RED DEER - Hockey Alberta has selected the 111 volunteers who will lead teams at the 2023 Spring Showcase.
Each team will consist of a director of operations, coach mentor, head coach and two assistant coaches. Teams at the Alberta Cup and Alberta Challenge will include a trainer. Staff for each Alberta Challenge team also includes an apprentice coach.
Volunteers for each team are listed below. The Prospects Cup is still accepting applications for trainers.
The Spring Showcase features the Alberta Cup, Alberta Challenge and Prospects Cup in back-to-back-to-back weekend action, beginning with the Alberta Cup on April 26. Events take place at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre at Red Deer Polytechnic.
Registration and details regarding regional camps for each event will be released in the new year.
RED DEER – Twenty female athletes will lace ‘em up for Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island.
Two goaltenders, six defence and 12 forwards comprise the Team Alberta lineup playing in the U18 competition in Charlottetown, February 27 – March 5.
Team Alberta’s roster features:
- Two forwards (McDermid, Smith) who played in the 2022 Alberta Challenge.
- Nine athletes (Brokenshire, Davidson, Devlin, Lawrence, Makokis, Perrier, Rizarri, Trudeau and Walker) who represented Team Alberta at the 2021 Western Regional Championship.
- Eighteen athletes who played in the 2020 Alberta Winter Games.
- Nine athletes (Brokenshire, Davidson, Devlin, Holbein, Lawrence, Makokis, Pearce, Rizarri and Walker) who debuted in short-term competition at the 2019 Alberta Challenge.
“These athletes have worked incredible hard through this process and we are excited to announce the roster of athletes who will be competing for Team Alberta in Charlottetown,” said Kendall Newell, Director of Operations for Team Alberta. “The staff is confident that we’ve selected a strong group of athletes and we are excited to get this group together in the coming weeks to begin our final team preparations heading into the competition in February.”
The selection process for the Canada Winter Games began in the 2021-22 season, where athletes were evaluated with their Hockey Canada sanctioned club team. In July, Hockey Alberta invited 72 female athletes born in 2005-07 to the U18 Summer Camp, in Red Deer. Twenty-eight players were shortlisted and invited back to Red Deer in September for the U18 Fall Selection Camp. Following the selection camp, athletes continued to be scouted with their club teams through the fall.
Round robin action begins on February 27 vs Nova Scotia. Other Team Alberta games include: February 28 vs Manitoba and March 1 vs Ontario. Playoffs start March 2 with medal games on March 5.
Team Alberta are the defending champions, after winning gold in 2019 in Red Deer. Historically, Team Alberta has three golds (2019, 2011, 1991) and two bronze medals (2015, 1999).
Female hockey was added to the Canada Winter Games in 1991. The Winter Games brings together thousands of athletes for the largest amateur multi-sport event in the country. They span over 25 different sports and is held every four years.
RED DEER - Len Samletzki of St. Albert was re-elected as chair of the Hockey Alberta Board of Directors during the 115th Annual General Meeting held virtually on December 1.
Also re-elected to the Board of Directors for a three-year term is Calgary’s Allan Mowbray. Joining the Board for her first term is Danielle Paradis of Edmonton after being elected as a new Director.
Paradis will step into a new elected Director position created through the approval of two Bylaw amendments during the AGM. In part, the amendments remove the position of Past Chair, and replace that with an elected director.
Biographies and short videos for Samletzki, Mowbray and Paradis can be found on the Hockey Alberta website. They join returning directors Al-Amin Vira, Karen Lee, Bill Gourlay, Kirstan Jewell and Francois Gagnon.
In his opening remarks, Samletzki thanked everyone who worked hard during the 2021-22 season as hockey returned after the COVID-19 pandemic. He also cited the work undertaken by the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) committee in working to ensure that hockey is free from maltreatment and discrimination.
Samletzki also recognized the recent announcement of a new Hockey Alberta Life Member - Loren Krukowski (Warburg). A video tribute on Krukowski’s career as a hockey volunteer can be found by clicking the link below or going to Hockey Alberta’s YouTube channel.
To conclude the meeting, it was announced that Fran Zinger is stepping down from the Board of Directors. Samletzki thanked Fran for her 16 years of service, and introduced a special tribute video that includes memories and reflections from Zinger, fellow board members and staff at Hockey Alberta.
In addition to the elections, two Notices of Motion were passed by the Members pertaining to amendments of Hockey Alberta’s Bylaws. The Notices of Motion pertain to Article 5 - Nominations, and Articles 1, 5, 7 - Board Positions.
Following the completion of the formal AGM agenda, operational updates were provided to the Members. Dennis Zukiwsky, chair of the Hockey Alberta Foundation, recapped a very busy year for the Foundation. Mike Klass, Director of Business Operations for Hockey Alberta, provided a financial update. And Hockey Alberta’s CEO Rob Litwinski provided a review of the 2021-22 and an update on work undertaken in 2021-22 towards achieving the Objectives and Key Results that are shaping the organization’s strategic priorities between now and 2025.
Fran Zinger receiving her Hockey Alberta jersey from Board Chair Len