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Photo credit: Rob Wallator

Four Albertans named to Canada’s National Women’s Development and Under-18 Teams

CALGARY - Four Albertans will suit up for Team Canada this week in Lake Placid, New York, as the National Women’s Team announced its Development Team and Under-18 Team rosters.

Team Alberta alumnus Malia Schneider (Millarville) was named to Canada’s Development Team roster, while 2019 Canada Winter Games gold medalists Jaden Bogden (Edmonton) and Sarah Wozniewicz (Cochrane), along with Taze Thompson (Sherwood Park), will all play for the Under-18 squad.

All three Under-18 players are on Team Alberta’s shortlist roster for the 2019 U18 National Championships in Morden and Winkler, MB.

Both teams will play in a three-game series against the United States, August 14-17.

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Photo credit: LA Media

Ten Albertans to attend Canada’s National U17 Development Camp

CALGARY - Ten Albertans are among the 113 players invited to Canada’s National Under-17 Development Camp in July.

Defenceman Keaton Dowhaniuk, along with forwards Nate Danielson, Josh Davies, Jordan Gustafson, Reiger Lorenz, Rylen Roersma, Matthew Savoie, Bowden Singleton, Oasiz Wiesblatt and Koehn Ziemmer will all take part in the virtual camp.

The camp runs July 19-25, with a variety of sessions focusing on player development through online education.

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Seven Albertans invited to Canada’s National Women’s Program Summer Camps

CALGARY - Seven Albertans are among the 109 female athletes invited to the BFL Canada National Women’s Development Team and National Women’s Under-18 team summer camps.

Hockey Canada has announced a pool of 109 of the country’s top young players invited to participate in a pair of virtual camps with Canada’s National Women’s Program.

Goaltender Sophie Lajeunesse (Calgary), blueliner Dayle Ross (Spirit River), and forwards Kyle Perry (Ponoka) and Sarah Wozniewicz (Cochrane) will attend the BFL National Women’s Under-18 Team Summer Camp. Wozniewicz is one of three players who won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2020 IIHF U18 Women’s Championship.

As for the BFL Canada National Women’s Development Team Summer Camp, defender Stephanie Markowski and forwards Kassy Betinol and Danielle Serdachny are among the 59 players invited.

Former Team Alberta coach Howie Draper (Edmonton) is on staff as Head Coach of the U18 team, while Mel Davidson (Oyen) returns as Head Scout for the program.

As the virtual meetings progress through the summer, the athletes will cover topics that include at-home strength and conditioning plans, mental performance plans and check-ins, nutrition, dry-land skills, skating simulations, team-building activities, short-term international competition preparation and meetings with coaches.

The online sessions will take place up to twice weekly, with critical information being communicated to athletes to allow them to continue to evolve as high-performance athletes in this new environment, and will utilize the strengths and experience of Canada’s National Women’s Program leadership to help connect one-on-one, athlete-to-athlete.

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Photo credit: LA Media

Eight Albertans invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Summer Development Camp

CALGARY - Eight Albertans are among the 41 players invited to Canada’s virtual National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp.

Sebastian Cossa (Fort McMurray) and Taylor Gauthier (Calgary) are among the five goaltenders invited to the camp. Defencemen Bowen Byram (Lethbridge/Cranbrook), Kaiden Guhle (Sherwood Park) and Matthew Robertson received invites as well, along with forwards Ridly Greig (Lethbridge), Dylan Holloway (Bragg Creek) and Peyton Krebs (Okotoks).

The virtual summer camp runs July 27-31, where players will participate in a variety of sessions with a focus on player development through online education.

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Kodie Curran (second from left) with father, Jerome (far left), sister Jessica, and brother-in-law Joey. (Photo courtesy of Kodie Curran)

An unrelenting love of the game key in Curran’s journey to the NHL

Although ’follow your dreams’ is a common phrase, few people have taken that advice to heart quite like Kodie Curran.

At age 30, the Calgarian recently signed his first NHL deal with Anaheim Ducks - a two-year, one-way contract, the culmination of years of hard work, perseverance, and a seemingly unmatched love for the game.

After two productive seasons in the Swedish Hockey League, including a league MVP title this past season, the blueliner caught the eye of NHL scouts, and the Ducks announced the signing on June 1.

While Curran’s unorthodox pathway to the NHL isn’t completely unheard of, it’s certainly not the ’cookie cutter’ route that many take to hockey’s highest level.

"I think a lot adversity through my career that I’ve had to battle," said Curran of his journey so far. "Not saying that other guys don’t, but there’s late bloomers, and then there’s really late bloomers, and I was a really late bloomer. I didn’t start playing high-end hockey until maybe I was 20, and then I took a bit of a break, and really got into my element when I was about 25."

Kodie with his wife, Caitlin, and daughter Remi. (Photo courtesy of Kodie Curran)

Curran was certainly no stranger to adversity in his younger hockey days. After playing Bantam AAA with the Calgary Buffaloes organization, he was passed over in the WHL Bantam draft, and went on to play Midget AA (playing forward at the time), while many of his peers and former teammates were playing Midget AAA, and trending towards Major Junior hockey. Although somewhat disappointed at the time, he says it only helped push him harder.

"In Midget AA, you’re thinking ’why am I not on the AAA team, why am I not on the AAA team? Now what happens? Now I’m not going to get drafted," Curran said. "There’s so much doubt in your mind when you play in Midget AA at such a young age, but I think now kids are starting to be molded a little bit earlier to deal with that, which I think is great. I think it’s important just to remember that where ever you’re playing, you’re not the player you’re going to be in the future, down the road, so just really enjoy it, and that’s what I tried to do."

After graduating from minor hockey, Curran enjoyed a successful career in the Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Calgary Canucks and Spruce Grove Saints, winning an AJHL title with the latter in 2010. Following his junior career, Curran played five seasons for the University of Calgary Dinos, helping the team to the National Championship in 2001, and earning West First All-Star Team honours in 2014 and 2015.

While the end of a post-secondary career could mark the last stop in a hockey player’s journey, Curran decided he wasn’t ready to give up on his dream. He signed a deal with the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack, the New York Rangers’ top affiliate, and split time between the Wolf Pack and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the East Coast Hockey League. After making the difficult decision to play pro hockey in Europe, far away from his family and friends, he played in Denmark and Norway in 2016-17 and 2017-18, respectively, before landing with Rögle BK of the Swedish Hockey League.

Curran credits the overwhelming support from his family and friends as a key contributing factor to his success in Europe.

"My family has meant everything to me," he said. "When I think about this moment, and sharing it with them, words aren’t enough to explain what they mean to me. To be that far away from home over in Europe, and to constantly be on FaceTime or getting texts from your family saying ’you’re doing the right thing’, they really solidified for me that I was in the right place in my life, and what I was doing was right."

Curran certainly made the most of his time in Europe, especially his two seasons in Sweden. This past season, he put up staggering numbers for a defenceman (12 goals and 37 points in 48 games), finishing second in the league in scoring, earning the title of league MVP. Curran was the first foreign-born player to be named the SHL’s MVP since current Calgary Flame Derek Ryan, who took a similar path to the NHL, making his league debut at 29 years old.

"Last year was an amazing season," Curran said. "I ended up getting onto a team with young guys, great players, and we got hot, and it was an amazing year, one I’ll never forget."

Despite nothing ever coming easy for him, Curran says his love of the game always got him through, and kept him looking towards the future.

"As you go through your career, everyone puts a label on the teams that you should be playing for, and the things that you should be doing, and where you should be at a certain age. I think a lot of kids, and parents especially, get caught up in that, and can put a lot of pressure on their kids. I didn’t have any pressure from my parents, they really just wanted me to love the game of hockey, and I did that. And I think that’s what got me through those tough times, was just my passion for the game. I didn’t do anything that the hockey world says we ’should do’, and here I am. So I think there are other ways to do it, and I hope this shows that there are other ways to get to your dreams."

Although his hockey career has recently taken him all over the world, Curran says his time playing grassroots hockey in Alberta were vital to his development and success.

"I think what’s so great about (grassroots hockey in Alberta), is the development, and all the branch-offs that you can go into to play to have success. I always remember my roots and where I came from, I think Hockey Alberta’s done a great job in developing young kids and making sure there’s enough areas for all types of skills to play."

While he could have walked away from the game with his head held high at any point in his career, and a number of impressive accomplishments under his belt, Curran never gave up on his dream, and hopes his story can help inspire young athletes to chase theirs, and never let anyone, or anything, stop them.

"I didn’t make a single (division) one team, I think ever, I didn’t make AAA, and I was at a crossroads of whether to play forward or defence at 17 years old," he said. "For me, I always just tried to really fall in love with the game of hockey. If you don’t love it, and it’s not for you, then that’s great. But I know there’s a ton of kids out there that love the game of hockey, so let that be your inspiration, and let that be something that pushes you through these tough times, is that you love the game for its purity."

While the work isn’t quite done for Curran, as the task of earning an NHL roster spot with the Ducks still lies ahead, he says he’s looking forward to the challenge, and in the meantime, will enjoy some much-deserved rest and down time with his family.

(Third photo of Kodie with sister Jessica (left) and mom Deborah (right), courtesy of Kodie Curran)

Home Ice Feature

Stories from the Rink: Alix/Clive Minor Hockey Association highlights star volunteer

ALIX, AB - As parents arrive at the rink on frigid Saturday mornings throughout the winter, they joke to themselves about seeing Tyler Copland’s truck parked in "his spot", as he is always the first to arrive before a game. Whether it’s as a board member, coach, friend, mentor, parent, or sponsor, Tyler wears many hats in the town of Alix.

Since his boys began playing hockey with the Alix and Clive combined association, Tyler has been involved as a volunteer on different levels. He invests a great deal of time and energy into helping mentor the kids during every practice and game. When one game ends, he is typically gearing up to head to another arena to support his other son’s teams.

"Tyler has only missed a handful of practices and games over the years. His commitment is impressive, as is the message he has for the kids: just keep showing up, regardless of what struggle might be in front of you, just keep showing up," said Lori Gibson, who shared the story with Hockey Alberta. "He doesn’t tell the kids what dedication is, he lives it every day."

Tyler’s positive attitude is infectious throughout the teams he coaches. He is always quick to flash a smile and joke around with the kids, and holds nothing back when it comes to helping the players achieve their goals. Always keeping things light and fun, he loves nothing more than celebrating an accomplishment for anyone on his team whether it’s a goal, assist, win, or just a great shift.

As the first guy to the rink to open the rooms and set out the pucks, a supporter of the concessions and 50/50 draws, and yearly corporate sponsor, Tyler values the deep roots he has created in his community, and they would like to thank him for everything he has done.

If you have a great story or volunteer that you would like Hockey Alberta to highlight, please send the information to [email protected].

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2019 Alberta Cup Rewind: Championship Final - Alberta Black vs Alberta Red

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta takes a look back on the 2019 Alberta Cup, with a feature game each day from Thursday to Sunday.

Friday’s feature Alberta Cup Rewind game goes back to the B Final on Sunday, April 28, as Alberta Yellow went head-to-head with Alberta Green:

Championship Final

Alberta Red 3 - Alberta Black 1

Players of the Game: Alberta Red: #31 Ian Mills | Alberta Black: #2 Carson Brisson

Boxscore > | AB Cup Results > | AB Cup Stats >

Interview: Zach Hodder of the WHL

Home Ice Feature

2019 Alberta Cup Rewind: B Final - Alberta Yellow vs Alberta Green

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta takes a look back on the 2019 Alberta Cup, with a feature game each day from Thursday to Sunday.

Friday’s feature Alberta Cup Rewind game goes back to the B Final on Sunday, April 28, as Alberta Yellow went head-to-head with Alberta Green:

B Final

Alberta Green 10 - Alberta Yellow 2

Players of the Game: Alberta Green: #18 Bowden Singleton | Alberta Yellow: #20 Matt Savoie

Boxscore > | AB Cup Results > | AB Cup Stats >

Interview: Hockey Alberta Officials Development Coordinator Colin Watt

Home Ice Feature

2019 Alberta Cup Rewind: Game 7 - Alberta Yellow vs Alberta Blue

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta takes a look back on the 2019 Alberta Cup, with a feature game each day from Thursday to Sunday.

Friday’s feature Alberta Cup Rewind game goes back to Friday, April 26 with the Game 7 matchup between Alberta Yellow and Alberta Blue:

Game #7

Alberta Yellow 6 - Alberta Blue 4

Players of the Game: Alberta Yellow: #18 Billal Noori | Alberta Blue: #14 Ty Hurley

Boxscore > | AB Cup Results > | AB Cup Stats >

Interview: Hockey Alberta CEO Rob Litwinski

Home Ice Feature

2019 Alberta Cup Rewind: Game 4 - Alberta Black vs Alberta Grey

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta takes a look back on the 2019 Alberta Cup, with a feature game each day from Thursday to Sunday.

Thursday’s feature Alberta Cup Rewind game goes back to Thursday, April 25 with the Game 4 battle between Alberta Grey and Alberta Black:

Game #4

Alberta Black 4 - Alberta Grey 2

Players of the Game: Alberta Black: #16 Reid MacKay | Alberta Grey: #20 Koehn Ziemmer

Boxscore > | AB Cup Results > | AB Cup Stats >

Interview: Team Alberta Trainer Mentor Dave Campbell

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Photo credit: LA Media

Nine Albertans earn WHL Eastern and Western Conference honours

RED DEER/CALGARY - Alberta is once again very well-represented as the Western Hockey League (WHL) rolled out its 2019-20 Eastern and Western Conference award winners and All-Star teams.

Three WHL conference awards went to players hailing from Alberta:

Riley Fiddler-Schultz (Fort Saskatchewan), Calgary Hitmen - Eastern Conference Humanitarian of the Year
Dylan Guenther
(Edmonton), Edmonton Oil Kings - Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year
Ty Smith
(Lloydminster), Spokane Chiefs - Western Conference Top Defenceman

Riley Fiddler-Schultz is up for the Doug Wickenheiser Memorial Trophy against Western Conference winner Jake Gricius of the Portland Winterhawks. The winner will be announced Tuesday, May 12.

Dylan Guenther and Western Conference Rookie of the Year Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers go head-to-head for the Jim Piggot Memorial Trophy, which will be announced Friday, May 15.

Ty Smith goes up against Eastern Conference Top Defenceman Calen Addison of the Lethbridge Hurricanes for the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy. The winner will be announced Tuesday, May 19.

The Lethbridge Hurricanes are up for the WHL’s Business Award, earning Eastern Conference honours, against the Western Conference Business of the Year in the Seattle Thunderbirds. The winner will be announced Wednesday, May 6.

Smith was also among the seven Albertans named to the WHL’s First and Second All-Star teams:

Eastern Conference First All-Star Team:
Forward - James Hamblin (Edmonton), Medicine Hat Tigers

Eastern Conference Second All-Star Team:
Defenceman - Matthew Robertson (Sherwod Park), Edmonton Oil Kings
Forward - Peyton Krebs (Okotoks), Winnipeg ICE

Western Conference First All-Star Team:
Defenceman - Ty Smith (Lloydminster), Spokane Chiefs

Western Conference Second All-Star Team:
Defenceman - Bowen Byram (Lethbridge/Cranbrook), Vancouver Giants
Forward - Zane Franklin (Marwayne), Kamloops Blazers
Forward - Bryce Kindopp (Lloydminster), Everett Silvertips

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Volunteer Spotlight - Tosha Sim & Pete and Crystal Swales

RED DEER - To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Hockey Alberta is shining the spotlight on a handful of volunteers who make a huge impact on the sport in Alberta.

More volunteer profiles can be found on Hockey Alberta’s Volunteer Appreciation page.

Tosha Sim

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterTosha is the trainer for the Red Deer Junior B Vipers, a position she’s held since 2016, having previously been the volunteer coordinator for the team. She has been a volunteer coach for the Red Deer City Soccer Association since she was 16 years old.

"I volunteer because so many people have volunteered for me," said Tosha. "Growing up playing competitive soccer and being actively involved in my school community has taught me the importance of giving time to people and causes."

Tosha’s most memorable moments are the pair of Heritage Junior Hockey League North Division and League titles the Vipers brought home in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

"It was an amazing opportunity to be part of the team and watch them work their way to the top," she said. "Also, I volunteer with my husband (Brady Sim). He has been with the team for 7-8 years. He does the play-by-play and announcing. It is really special to volunteer together, he is a superstar."

Tosha is currently an Elementary Education student, going in to her fourth year through the University of Alberta and Red Deer College.

Pete & Crystal Swales

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterPete and Crystal Swales are both longtime volunteers in Central Alberta, and currently volunteer with the Red Deer Senior AA Rustlers. Pete has been the team’s trainer since its inception a little over two years ago, with Crystal helping out in various roles during games and practices.

Both Pete and Crystal volunteer together in many roles outside of sport as well, including (what was then known as) the Suicide Prevention Line when they met 35 years ago.

As a registered RMT since 1995, Pete has worked with athletes in various roles, and began volunteering as a team trainer 15 years ago, spending five years with the Midget AAA team in Red Deer, before moving on to more volunteer roles outside of hockey, before returning to hockey in 2018 with the Senior Rustlers. In his sixth year with the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada, Pete is President of the Board of Directors.

"I was once asked why I volunteer... the simple answer is free pizza on the bus after a long trip to somewhere rural Alberta," said Pete. "The real reason is so much deeper, a sense of community and supporting others. At this point though, Crystal and I know now that if we need help or support the team is here for us. How do you put a price on that? Both my beautiful bride and I been so fortunate to have volunteered or served with so many groups and organizations, being asked to list them brings back many memories."

One of Pete’s favourite memories goes back to when he was first asked to join the Bantam AAA team for Westerns in B.C.

"It was a hectic week, neck injuries to band-aids on sore toes. What I didn’t realize then is for the most part the players of those days are part of our lives today," he said. "When Mikayla, our eldest granddaughter came to her first game, she leaned over the bench only to say ’oh Grandpa, those boys smell!’.

Outside of hockey, Crystal has volunteered with RCMP Victim Services, Suicide Prevent Crisis Line, helping organize Red Deer Firefighters retirement parties, and most recently was the Chairperson of the Central Albert Quilt Guild’s Quilt Show.

"I volunteer to give back and I feel that is so important," said Crystal. "Volunteers are the backbone of so many communities and organizations, which is very rewarding"

Crystal’s favourite moments came from volunteering with Red Deer’s Midget AAA team, travelling to Kenora in 2004 to the Telus Cup and bringing home bronze, and then again when Red Deer hosted in 2007 and won sivler.

Pete is the owner of a theraputic clinic in Red Deer, which is currently closed for safety reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After a 30-year career as an emergency 9-1-1 dispatcher with Red Deer Emergency Services, Crystal retired and now is a part of the front-line staff at the Red Deer Hospital, and as an essential employee continues to work and serve her community.

Home Ice Feature

Volunteer Spotlight - Tom Chapman & Darren Smith

RED DEER - To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Hockey Alberta is shining the spotlight on a handful of volunteers who make a huge impact on the sport in Alberta.

More volunteer profiles can be found on Hockey Alberta’s Volunteer Appreciation page.

Tom Chapman

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterTom has been coaching hockey in Lethbridge for eight years, at every level from Peewee AA to Midget AAA. He also currently is the Lethbridge Hurricane’s assistant video coach.

"I volunteer because of my love for the game of hockey. Ever since I was a small boy hockey has been my world, it’s taught me so many life lessons and helped create lifelong friendships, and I can’t imagine my life with hockey," said Tom. "Teammates have become family the bond created between us is something that can’t be explained. I volunteer to help young players and their families fall in love with the game like I have. It’s truly amazing what the game of hockey can do for you, seeing young players fall in love with the game is priceless and why I will continue to volunteer for the rest of my life!"

Tom said his most memorable moment as an volunteer came back in the 2018-2019 season while coaching Midget AAA in Lethbridge.

"Our team attended the prestigious Macs Midget AAA tournament and earned our way to the finals, we were the first team from Lethbridge to make the finals in over 25 years," he said. "This is something myself, the rest of our staff and most importantly the players and their families will never forget."

Tom farms alongside his father in Lomond, and continues to work during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Darren Smith

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterDarren is a long-time hockey coach in Edmonton, and also coaches lacrosse and baseball. He’s also volunteered as an assistant coach in lacrosse, and as an player evaluator during hockey evaluations.

In addition to coaching, as a police dog handler with the Edmonton Police Service Canine Unit, Darren says he valued attending schools and community centers with his police dog to interact with elementary and junior high aged students, answering questions and discussing life choices.

As a police officer and the parent of a young athlete, I recognize the impact that sport and the coaching staff can have on the development of the individual as an athlete and who the individual develops into away from the game," said Darren. "As a member of the community developing individual values, personal life skills, and team life skills, the friendships developed through sport as an athlete, coach, or parent. I love the excitement of sports."

Darren says he’s been very fortunate as a coach to witness the excitement of the players as they celebrate winning a tournament championship, a city championship or Edmonton Minor Hockey Week.

"As a coach, my most memorable moments occur when I see players in the community whom I have coached in the past, and they stop to talk and tell me how they are doing, how their sports are going, how their schooling is going, or they invite me to watch them play," he said.

As a police officer, Darren is an essential worker, and continues to serve the city of Edmonton during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Home Ice Feature

Volunteer Spotlight - Kevin Kuryluk & Janet Fairless

RED DEER - To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Hockey Alberta is shining the spotlight on a handful of volunteers who make a huge impact on the sport in Alberta.

More volunteer profiles can be found on Hockey Alberta’s Volunteer Appreciation page.

Kevin Kuryluk

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterKevin has held numerous volunteer positions in the Grande Prairie area, including coaching minor hockey and minor baseball, and has been a minor hockey board member since 2016.

Kevin also volunteers with Hockey Alberta in several capacities, including facilitating coach clinics, on-ice instruction at development camps, and volunteer coaching.

"I feel like if I can help a young athlete grow as a person and become more confident, I can help them accomplish more," said Kevin. "If that’s carried forward with them for their entire life, it will create opportunities for others. I also think back to my youth and how many great people influenced my life through their volunteer work, and I believe we build stronger communities through sport and teamwork and I enjoy watching the players I coach grow and develop. There’s no downside to volunteering."

Kevin notes his recent experience as being part of the Team Alberta North Male coaching staff for the 2020 Arctic Winter Games as one of his most memorable moments.

"Even though the games were cancelled, just being part of the process starting in August with applying for the job through to our training weekend with the players from both the male and female teams it was a fantastic experience," he said. "Another highlight for me has been working all of the Hockey Alberta PEP camps and being with the Hockey Alberta PEP program from the beginning."

Kevin operates a grain farm and is considered an essential worker, so he continues to work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Janet Fairless

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterJanet is a long-time volunteer with Hockey Alberta as the Zone 1 Minor Administration Coordinator and Minor Administration Chair. Her long list of volunteer roles in hockey also includes coaching female hockey with the Grimshaw Minor Hockey Assoications, numerous team manager positions, registrar for Grimshaw MHA, and the manager and registrar for the Grimshaw Huskies Senior Men’s team. She also has been a member of the Arctic Winter Games Mission Staff since 2012.

Outside of hockey, Janet holds several other volunteer roles with Ducks Unlimited, the Grimshaw Community Services Board, and has volunteered for both the Alberta Summer and Alberta Winter Games.

"(I volunteer) for the joy it gives to the athletes, that’s the main reason," said Janet. "But also, these things need to be done so activities and organizations can run... someone has to do it. People ask me why I do it, what am I getting out of it. If you are doing it for the purpose of getting something out of it, then I don’t feel that you are there for the right reasons. My answer always is satisfaction from helping others, and the relationships. I have met so many great people and made so many wonderful friends through my volunteering."

Janet said her favourite moments always come from seeing the look of accomplishment on athlete’s faces when they win a banner or medal.

"One that really stands out was giving the Most Sportmanlike banner to the Indis Atom Hockey team last year at Provincials in Peace River," she said. "That was a very happy group of young players. You would think they had won the Stanley Cup and in my eyes they did. I almost cried presenting it to them, they were a great group, right from the bench staff, players to the fans."

Home Ice Feature

Volunteer Spotlight - Lesley Burton & Kayne Warwick

RED DEER - To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Hockey Alberta is shining the spotlight on a handful of volunteers who make a huge impact on the sport in Alberta.

More volunteer profiles can be found on Hockey Alberta’s Volunteer Appreciation page.

Lesley Burton

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterLesley holds a number of volunteer roles within her Southern Alberta community, most notably as a founding director of the University of Lethbridge Women’s Hockey Alumni Foundation.

She also is the manager of the Tilley Curling Club, President of the Tilley Hockey Academy, and a board member and coach for hockey and power skating. She also recently was a key volunteer for Hockey Alberta’s Female Hockey Day in Lethbridge.

"Growing up, I watched my parents help run our community and I was always very proud of what they did for all of us," said Lesley. "It takes a lot of work sometimes, but the friends you develop and the experiences you take away are what life is all about... ’leave it better than you found it’ is the way I look at it. Being a role model is very important to me as well, helping an athlete achieve their goals is so incredibly rewarding."

Lesley notes her time as a coach has been very memorable, as well as her position with the Tilley Curling Club, which is very near and dear to her family.

Kayne Warwick

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterKayne currently sits on the Sylvan Lake Minor Hockey Association Board of Directors as the Initiation Director, where he started the Learn To Play and Junior Coach programs.

In addition to coaching within SLMHA, Kayne represents the association within the West Country league, and has also coached baseball, lacrosse, and volleyball.

"(I volunteer) for the kids and the game. Whatever small part I can play to ensure that the kids have a safe, fun and a positive experience playing and learning the game I love," said Kayne. "My most memorable moments have come from seeing the kids within the new programs attain that sense of achievement of trying something new and realizing its okay to fall, and there’s nothing that a little determination and work can’t overcome."

Home Ice Feature

Volunteer Spotlight - Julie Feragen & Scott Henderson

RED DEER - To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Hockey Alberta is shining the spotlight on a handful of volunteers who make a huge impact on the sport in Alberta.

More volunteer profiles can be found on Hockey Alberta’s Volunteer Appreciation page.

Julie Feragen

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterJulie is currently Hockey Alberta’s Minor Female Chair, a position she’s held for four years, and is the Senior Midget Governor for NAI. She’s previously held the position of Vice President and President of the Ponoka Minor Hockey Association, and the Governor for the North Central.

"(Volunteering) brings much appreciation from many, people make a point of telling you that it’s worth it," said Julie. "I find that it’s a great way to meet new people and show that you appreciate others at the same time. Great networking!"

Julie says her most memorable moments are being a part of the Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships every year, and being there to see the excitement of the teams who make it to gold medal games.

Being in the agriculture industry, Julie is an essential employee and continues to work and serve her clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott Henderson

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterScott has given his time to the sport for 12 years as a coach, board member and director with Hockey Calgary, as well as the First Shift Program and the Calgary Flames Learn to Play Program.

"I’ve had all four of my children play hockey, and it gave so much to our family that I really like to give back," said Scott. "The satisfaction of seeing children progress from just starting on ice to skating and developing a love for the game is why I volunteer."

Scott currently works in the construction industry, and continues to work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Home Ice Feature

Volunteer Spotlight - Bernie Vanderham & Keith Hurd

RED DEER - To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Hockey Alberta is shining the spotlight on a handful of volunteers who make a huge impact on the sport in Alberta.

More volunteer profiles can be found on Hockey Alberta’s Volunteer Appreciation page.

Bernie Vanderham

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterBernie Vanderham is a volunteer coach with the Innisfail Timbit Eaglet program for four year-olds, a position he’s held for 14 years. Bernie has had the opportunity to coach the program alongside his son Logan, who was just 15 years old when he began coaching.

In addition to his role with the Eaglet program, Bernie also volunteered in various roles throughout his son’s time playing minor hockey, both as a coach and as a manager, earning him numerous awards and recognition, including a Citizen of the Year award from the Town of Innisfail, and a Governor’s Award.

Bernie is also a long-time volunteer at the Innisfail Ski Hill, performing maintenance and inspections when needed.

"My favorite moments are when the young 4 year old players finally get motion forward with their stride, the look on their faces is amazing, once they figure skating out, it’s really cool," said Bernie. "With the ski hill, it’s the same thing , the smile on their faces after a day of skiing."

As a Corrections Officer, Bernie is an essential employee, and continues to work and serve his community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keith Hurd

Hockey Alberta Ice Times NewsletterKeith Hurd has been an active volunteer since 2007, including over 10 years with the Team Alberta program as a Director of Operations at the Alberta Cup, and Camp Coordinator at the Team Alberta U16 Summer Development Camp.

Keith has also served as a Team Manager for four different teams: Calgary Royals Minor Midget AAA (2007-2009), Calgary Royals Bantam AAA (2009-2014), Okotoks Bantam AAA (2014-2017) and Okotoks Midget AAA (2017-2018).

"I love being part of a team and helping to provide lifelong memories for young hockey players," said Keith. "I was on a plane in London Ontario, a couple years ago, on the way to Toronto, when a young man, who was boarding, looked at me and said ’are you Keith?’. It was Devan Reed, who was then attending Western University and had played in the Alberta Cup for Team Calgary North several years earlier... it truly is a lifelong connection."

Keith notes winning the AMBHL Championship and a silver medal in the Western Canadian Bantam Championship with the Okotoks Bantam AAA team, as well as winning the Alberta Cup with Team South in 2017 as two of his most memorable experiences as a volunteer.

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Photo credit: LA Media

Twenty-four Albertans listed in NHL Central Scouting’s Final Rankings

RED DEER - NHL Central Scouting has released its final rankings for the 2020 NHL draft, with 24 Albertans on the list.

Six Albertans landed in the top 30 of the North American Skater rankings: Jake Sanderson (4), Kaiden Guhle (8), Dylan Holloway (12), Ridly Greig (14), Ozzy Wiesblatt (19) and Jake Neighbours (26).

Garin Bjorklund (5), Taylor Gauthier (19), Blake Lyda (26) and Brayden Peters (30) are listed among the top North American goaltenders.

The full list of Albertans appearing in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings can be found below:

Midterm Rank Player Position Last Amateur Club League
4 Jake Sanderson Defence USA U-18 NTDP
8 Kaiden Guhle Defence Prince Albert WHL
12 Dylan Holloway Forward Wisconsin Big 10
14 Ridly Greig Forward Brandon WHL
19 Ozzy Wiesblatt Forward Prince Albert WHL
26 Jake Neighbours Forward Edmonton WHL
50 Carter Savoie Forward Sherwood Park AJHL
57 Michael Benning Defence Sherwood Park AJHL
65 Connor McClennon Forward Winnipeg WHL
75 Ronan Seeley Defence Everett WHL
77 Ethan Edwards Defence Spruce Grove AJHL
103 Owen Pederson Forward Winnipeg WHL
130 Luke Prokop Defence Calgary WHL
139 Benjamin Zloty Defence Winnipeg WHL
145 Alex Young Forward Canmore AJHL
151 Rhett Rhinehart Defence Saskatoon WHL
166 Tyrel Bauer Defence Seattle WHL
178 Ryker Evans Defence Regina WHL
201 Noah Boyko Forward Lethbridge WHL
208 Kyle Crnkovic Forward Saskatoon WHL
5 Garin Bjorklund Goaltender Medicine Hat WHL
19 Taylor Gauthier Goaltender Prince George WHL
26 Blake Lyda Goaltender Seattle WHL
30 Brayden Peters Goaltender Calgary WHL

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].

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Airdrie ’Kindness Ninjas’ visit the Alberta Winter Games

AIRDRIE - The Zone 5 Male hockey team learned a valuable off-ice lesson during the 2020 Alberta Winter Games, after a visit from the Kindness Ninjas Sunday afternoon.

The ’Kindness Ninjas’ are Kindergarten students at Windsong Heights Elementary School in Airdrie, part of a program to help teach the impact of kindness in the classroom, school, community and beyond.

The Ninjas stopped by the Ron Ebbesen Arena after Zone 5’s final round-robin game, as part of an initiative put forth by the team’s Director of Operations, Kim Buchan.

Hockey Alberta Ice Times Newsletter

The parents of the Zone 5 players presented the Kindness Ninjas with blankets to donate to the homeless, as part of their "Blankets of Hope" initiative.

According to Buchan, the parents were challenged to perform a good deed as a group, following a good deeds challenge put out to the team in December.

Hockey Alberta Ice Times Newsletter

She said she got the idea to work with the Kindness Ninjas after seeing a news story involving former Calgary Flame Lanny McDonald.

"One of our discussions with the boys was that it all starts with being a good person, and it starts with character," said Buchan. "It shows them that even the little things can mean a lot."

Buchan said she was put into contact with the two Kindergarten teachers involved with the Kindness Ninjas, and arranged for the students to come to the arena on Sunday.

Hockey Alberta Ice Times Newsletter

"Sport is such an important part of childhood, I feel," said Allie Apels, Kindergarten teacher at Windsong Heights. "I think it’s great to see that you can be on a team, and you can work together to spread kindness and have common values beyond the rink."

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].

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Vote for the Crowfoot Coyotes Peewee AA in the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup!

Congratulations to Hockey Calgary’s Crowfoot Coyotes, who are one of the regional finalists selected by Chevrolet in the Good Deeds Cup!

Now, it’s up to YouTube viewers across Alberta to help the Coyotes reach the final three and have a chance at $100,000 for their designated charity - Team Naomi Get Well Now.

The team will be donating the prize money they receive to the charity that supports pediatric cancer research, and they are hoping they can build on their donation by getting voted into the top three.

"Team Naomi Get Well Now is special to us because one of our team members has a relative who is currently suffering from pediatric cancer." Said head coach Mike LaPlante, "The goal was to help our community, and making it this far in the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup already makes us feel like winners."

From now until February 9, all 10 semi-finalist videos are available for viewing at Chevrolet Canada’s YouTube channel at The three teams that receive the most views will each be eligible to win a Finalist Prize, which includes $5,000 to the team’s designated charity.

The three finalist entries then will be reviewed by a judging panel from Chevrolet and Hockey Canada, with a Good Deeds Cup champion selected and announced on February 17. The Good Deeds Cup champion receives a $100,000 cheque for its designated charity, along with prizes for individual team members.

216 entries were received from Peewee teams across the country for the Good Deeds Cup.