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News

2013 Hockey Day In Gleichen

Credit: Dan Marcinkowski | Strathmore Standard

The game that Canada loves was celebrated in towns, villages, and cities throughout Canada on Feb. 9 to commemorate Hockey Day in Canada.

Gleichen took part in Canada’s beloved game and celebrated this special day by hosting a pond hockey event called Hockey Day in GA, where several hundred kids were able to play shinny out­side, or inside the rink at the Gleichen and District Arena and Curling Club.

It was extremely windy at some points of the day, but the children were excited to play hockey and the wind did not bother them.

“I had a lot of fun,” said 7-year-old Dayvin Foat from Strathmore. Foat comes out to Gleichen on the weekends whenever possible to play shinny on one of the rinks.

People were invited to come out and put on their skates and were able to play with a special guest.

Former NHL player Jason Strudwick played shinny on the outdoor rink alongside many of the children who took part. Strudwick played defense professionally for the New York Islanders, Vancouver Canucks, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and Edmonton Oilers.

Strudwick grew up playing hockey on the outdoor rinks. “All the skills I acquired were playing on the outdoor rinks and I love it,” said Strudwick.

All the kids along with Strudwick and the parents had smiles on their faces as the pond hockey was taking place. “Hockey is a great game to play and I think you can tell when I was out there playing and having fun. The kids should have fun too, it’s a fun game,” said Strudwick.

For many of the children, Strudwick is a guy they can look up to as someone who has worked hard and had success in his hockey life.

“I love kids and I love hockey, so anything I can do to combine the both is a great thing. I met a lot of great people and have 300 more friends today.”

Many of the kids were either Calgary Flames or Oilers fans. Wearing a Flames jersey, Foat was excited to play with Strudwick, but when he took a picture with the former NHLer, he took off his Flames gear. Foat already understands the rivalry between the two Alberta teams.

Kids and parents were able to buy treats and many free gifts were given out throughout the day, as people from all over Alberta took part in the festivities.

Cara Sheppard, President of Gleichen Minor Hockey Association organized the event, which has grown every year since its first year in 2009.

Strudwick currently hosts a radio show in Edmonton from 9 p.m. to midnight on the week­days talking about Oilers hockey.

News

Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey Plan

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta released its Return to Hockey Plan on Tuesday, providing the framework and minimum standards for Hockey Alberta’s Members to undertake hockey activities.

The Plan also allows players, coaches, officials, parents and other stakeholders to understand the current guidelines for operating sanctioned hockey for the 2020-21 season.

The Return to Hockey Plan and its appendices, along with other announcements and documents pertaining to COVID-19 and its impact on hockey in Alberta, can be reviewed on the Hockey Alberta website:

RETURN TO HOCKEY PLAN >

The Return to Hockey Plan incorporates the current requirements outlined in Stage 2 of the Government of Alberta’s Relaunch Plan, health and safety guidelines from Hockey Canada, and programming, registration and sanctioning for Hockey Alberta.

The health and safety of all participants in the sport is of paramount importance in all activities outlined in the Return to Hockey Plan. The threats and challenges posed by COVID-19 require specific steps to be taken to allow hockey back on the ice, and this plan addresses those requirements.

“It is important for our Members and families to know that there is a plan for hockey in Alberta for the coming season. Our players will be able to have fun, socialize with teammates and peers, and enjoy positive experiences in our game,” said Rob Litwinski, CEO of Hockey Alberta. “The Plan includes options to group players according to skill levels and engage in competition as they continue to develop their skills in preparation for returning to regular season play.”

The Return to Hockey Plan has three components:

  • Off-Season Skill Development
  • Development Season
  • Regular Season

The Development components provide direction on types of hockey activities that can be offered utilizing Physical Distancing or Cohorting; requirements for organizations in determining who is eligible to participate; estimated timelines for each component; travel and other limitations; and registration and sanctioning requirements.

The Return to Hockey Plan – including the timelines included within it - is subject to change, as new guidelines and requirements are put in place by the Government of Alberta.

News

Hockey Alberta announces new partnership with Vereburn Medical Supply

RED DEER – With the ever-changing landscape and an elevated focus on athlete and participant safety, Hockey Alberta is excited to announce a new partnership with Vereburn Medical Supply.

The partnership sees Vereburn Medical Supply provide Hockey Alberta members with a reduced rate on complete medical kits and supplies.

“Vereburn Medical Supply is honored and excited to partner with Hockey Alberta to provide members with access to exclusive medical kits as well as extended discounts on their required sports medicine supplies” said Matt Veres, President Vereburn Medical Supply.

Vereburn, based in Calgary, is Canada’s leading wholesale manufacturer and distributor of products and equipment focusing on the sports medicine, emergency medical, healthcare and first aid markets. Current partners include the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association and U Sports, and Vereburn was an All-Star Contributor to the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

“Hockey Alberta is pleased to be able to partner with Vereburn Medical Supply in a way that ensures the safety of our participants is front of mind and provides a service to our members. When our members start preparing for a safe return to hockey, we hope the partnership with Vereburn is utilized getting the necessary medical first aid supplies in place,” said Mike Klass, Director of Business Operations for Hockey Alberta.

For more information on Vereburn Medical Supply, go to vereburn.com.

News

AFHL unveils new logo

RED DEER - The Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL) has unveiled its new logo that will be used for the 2020-21 season and beyond.

"We are incredibly proud of the direction the AFHL has taken elite female hockey in Alberta over the last four seasons," said Kendall Newell, Manager of Female Hockey. "Our new logo represents the bright future that we envision for our league and players."

News

ICE TIMES: Edition 20:11

Hockey Alberta Newsletter

HOCKEY CANADA UPDATE ON COVID-19

Hockey Canada’s Tom Renney, chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, issued a statement on the return-to-hockey process in Canada. For Hockey Alberta, this statement means that when arenas reopen as part of the government of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy, our Members may resume on-ice, sanctioned activities – subject to compliance with current health and safety standards in Alberta and Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey plan.

READ THE FULL UPDATE >


NEW STRUCTURE FOR AAA MALE HOCKEY IN ALBERTA

The structure of AAA male hockey in Alberta will have a different look for the 2020-21 season as the Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL) was announced on May 30 as the new home for Hockey Alberta’s elite male players.

INFORMATION ON THE AEHL >


Hockey Alberta Newsletter

AN UNRELENTING LOVE OF THE GAME KEY IN KODIE 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.

READ KODIE’S STORY >


ONLINE DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE FOR COACHES

Hockey Alberta is running a series of online coach professional development sessions over the coming weeks. With a focus on coaches in the minor hockey system, these sessions will cover a number of topics ranging from Hockey I.Q. to coach interviews. Upcoming sessions will take place on June 11, 17, and 18.

REGISTER FOR A SESSION >


Hockey Alberta Newsletter

HOCKEY AT HOME - CONDITIONING, SKILL DEVELOPMENT, AND GOALIE TRAINING

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep us all at home, it’s important to keep active, eat healthy, and even work on some hockey skills. Hockey Alberta is working with Crash Conditioning, Ali Stead (@never2late2learn.hky), and various goalie and Team Alberta resources to bring you weekly tips on how to stay ready for hockey’s return.

HOCKEY AT HOME VIDEOS >


Hockey Alberta Newsletter


Hockey Alberta Newsletter

News

Online Coach Development Session - Player Habits

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is offering another free online seminar for minor hockey coaches on Thursday, June 11 at 7:00 p.m.

The topic of Thursday’s session is ’Player Habits’, and will be delivered by Hockey Alberta Coach Mentor Fran Gow.

Register >

This presentation dives into the habits and characteristics that are recommended for players to be successful. These habits can be implemented and taught to all levels of minor hockey players at different stages of age and development.


PLEASE NOTE:

  • All sessions are open to Hockey Alberta members at no cost,
  • Sessions will be hosted on the ZOOM meeting platform.
  • You will need to sign up for a free ZOOM account prior to joining the session.
  • You will receive email confirmation with the ZOOM meeting link 24 hours prior to the start of the session.

If you have did not receive the link 24 hours prior to, or you have questions regarding the sessions, please contact Stephen Pattison - [email protected]

News

Hockey Canada update on COVID-19

This morning, Hockey Canada’s Tom Renney, chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer, issued a statement on the return-to-hockey process in Canada. The statement included the following announcement:

“After ongoing discussions with the board of directors, our chief medical officer, the 13 Members and public health authorities across the country, it has been determined that the best approach for a return to hockey in Canada is to allow each Member the opportunity to work with authorities in their respective regions to determine when it is safe to return to the ice in areas that fall under their jurisdiction. We expect the timing of each Member’s return to hockey will be different, but will be based on the advice of their government and public health authority.”

For Hockey Alberta, this statement means that when arenas reopen as part of the government of Alberta’s Relaunch Strategy, our Members may resume on-ice, sanctioned activities – subject to compliance with current health and safety standards in Alberta and Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey plan. The reopening of arenas in Alberta is still slated to occur in Phase 3 of the province’s Relaunch strategy. Hockey Alberta is participating in information sessions with the government, and if we can assist with the plan to reopen arenas, we will.

Hockey Alberta continues to work with Hockey Canada, other provincial branches, and Provincial Sport Organizations in Alberta to develop a Return to Hockey Plan for this province. The plan will include safety and risk guidelines and requirements, along with a phased-in approach on the ice. Hockey Alberta has identified a group of Member representatives who will review the proposal, and we are committed to circulating a formal draft to all Members by June 15. Throughout the process, we expect several revisions as circumstances change and feedback is received.

In the meantime, the statement by Hockey Canada means that sanctioned, off-ice hockey-related activities may be held, as long as they are operated in accordance with current health and safety standards in Alberta. Off-ice training consists of any activity organized by a Hockey Alberta Member or sanctioned organization that takes place off-ice and meets specified criteria as outlined by Hockey Canada.

It there are questions pertaining to the Hockey Canada announcement or Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey plan, please submit via email to: [email protected].

The full Hockey Canada statement can be found at hockeycanada.ca. Hockey Canada’s Return to Hockey guidelines can be found at hockeycanada.ca/returntohockey.

News

Hockey Canada Statement on Racism

CALGARY - The following is a statement on behalf of Hockey Canada from Tom Renney, chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer.

“Recent events have amplified the inequality that exists among us, and now is the time to use the Hockey Canada platform to encourage discussion and change.

We know racism exists in the world. It is far too common here in Canada, and people of colour experience racism daily. Unfortunately, racism and inequality have occurred in the hockey community. We recognize that and understand that our organization needs to do more to combat acts of injustice and ensure a safe space for everyone.

Hockey Canada and its 13 Members need to listen and learn, have difficult conversations about our own shortcomings and be open to change if we are going to make progress towards a better future for all participants.

It is easy to talk about being inclusive, welcoming and safe, but now is a time to listen and support those facing racism. We need to do better, be leaders in equality and be part of the solution.”

News

New structure for AAA male hockey in Alberta

RED DEER – The structure of AAA male hockey in Alberta will have a different look for the 2020-21 season.

The Alberta Elite Hockey League (AEHL) was announced on Saturday as the new home for Hockey Alberta’s elite male players.

“The new Alberta Elite Hockey League brings all elite male hockey in Alberta under one set of operating standards which is an important step in ensuring that players within the AAA hockey stream are offered a consistent program and experience, regardless of their age division of hockey or location,” said Neil Robertson, chair of the Elite Male Committee.

The decision was made in December to restructure elite male hockey in the province. An extensive review process concluded that a restructured program would be more cost-effective for the members and stakeholders, while helping raise the status of elite male hockey programming, consolidating volunteer workload at the team and organizational levels, and aligning league operations. There was also a Name the League contest.

The AEHL is comprised of the U18 AAA Division (formerly the Alberta Midget Hockey League), U16 AAA Division (formerly the Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League), and U15 AAA Division (formerly the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League). Renaming the divisions, to align with Hockey Canada’s new Age Division Names policy, was a key impetus to the overall restructuring decision.

In addition to the new league and divisional structures, the AEHL will be housed on a new, state-of-the-art website platform currently being designed by HockeyTech. The AEHL website is being built in conjunction with a new web platform for the Alberta Female Hockey League, with the goal of providing a one-stop location for all news and information pertaining to elite hockey in the province.

News

COVID-19 Update – Message from the CEO

To the Members of Hockey Alberta:

During the Member Zoom meetings held in early May, we spoke about the work being undertaken on various fronts to prepare for the return of hockey both in Alberta and across the country. We talked about how there were many questions to which we were looking to obtain and develop the answers.

Last week we all received the update letter from Hockey Canada with regard to COVID-19. Hockey Alberta is aligned with the details outlined in the letter.

Make no mistake, we want hockey back. As the Provincial Sport Organization for hockey in Alberta, this is not just our game, it is our passion.

Everyone involved with our sport recognizes the benefits of hockey for our participants – physically, socially, and emotionally. We know that hockey makes a difference in people’s lives, helps develop individual and group social skills, and is important for the physical literacy of our youth.

Simply said, we believe hockey is important. However, it is not more important than the health and safety of the participants, the larger hockey community, and society in general.

That is why Hockey Alberta is working with Hockey Canada, other provincial branches, and fellow Provincial Sport Organizations in Alberta as we develop our Return to Hockey Plan.

The intention is to provide the framework and minimum standards for any organization in our province to undertake hockey activities. That way, when facilities reopen, and athletes are allowed back on the ice, they can participate safely and securely and in a manner where the participants, their families and all of our other partners and stakeholders are protected and given the best chance for success.

As most of you are aware, opening arenas and recreation facilities currently is in Phase III of the province’s COVID-19 relaunch plan, and no firm timelines have been established for the implementation of Phase III.

We know that not having specific dates or timelines can be unsettling. But it is important for everyone to remember that amateur hockey of any kind cannot be played in Alberta until the government and health officials authorize rinks to be open and outline the minimum safety standards that must be followed.

Hockey Alberta’s responsibility is to have a plan in place that can be adapted to meet those requirements and allow participants back on the ice in a safe atmosphere.

The current focus is to work to ensure our game is ready to go in the fall, if allowed as part of the province’s relaunch plan. We also want to be prepared if rinks open sooner than that because we know that our participants, and the hockey community in general, are clamouring to return to hockey.

What will be included in the Return to Hockey Plan?

First and foremost, the plan abides by government directions with a focus on the health and safety of all involved. It reflects the reality that there will be new requirements in place for the safe operation of hockey facilities, which will impact hockey participants, including a checklist of items that participants will be required to do to be able to step on the ice. This will include items such as when to arrive at the arena, masks, sanitizer, parent access to help tie skates etc. The plan will also include resources and processes that Hockey Alberta will be developing to help our Members establish programming procedures to meet these requirements in a safe environment.

The plan calls for a phased-in approach, in keeping with the planning undertaken by government and health authorities. At this point, the plan has four phases, starting at the developmental program level and working up to a return to the traditional 5-on-5 game. As circumstances evolve and improve, we will update and adapt the plan to best allow for the return of hockey in Alberta.

Hockey Alberta will be seeking input from our associations, leagues, club teams, accredited schools and other stakeholders to help establish a coordinated process and the detailed timeline and parameters of what activities may look like in each phase.

We are committed to keeping our Members, and the larger hockey community, updated as the Return to Hockey plan is finalized and then made ready for implementation.

Rob Litwinski, CEO
Hockey Alberta

News

Online Professional Development opportunities available for coaches

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is running a series of online coach professional development sessions over the coming months, with the first three sessions set for May 28, June 3 and June 4. With a focus on coaches in the minor hockey system, these sessions will cover a number of topics ranging from Hockey I.Q. to coach interviews.

All sessions are open to Hockey Alberta members at no cost, and will be held on a ZOOM meeting platform.

Register >

Date Time Topic Description Facilitator Moderator
Thursday, May 28 6:30pm Mental Performance in Sport What is mental performance, and why it is important for coaches to begin a toolbox of awareness. Barry Medori Stephen Pattison
Wednesday, June 3 6:30pm The Fundamentals of Hockey Sense Exploring all pre-requisite skills of hockey I.Q. Mike McGinnis
Thursday, June 4 6:30pm Preparing for a Coach Interview Understanding what Managers and Administrators look for in Coaching Interviews. Kevin Higo Matt Weninger

News

U16 AA Pilot Project set for 2020-21 season

RED DEER - The South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL) and Hockey Calgary, in partnership with Hockey Alberta’s AA Hockey Committee, have agreed to operate a U16 AA division during the 2020-21 season, in order to review and determine the place for this category of hockey going forward.

This Pilot Project stems from ongoing conversation in Alberta about providing additional options for 15-year-old players entering the U18 division (formally Midget), so that they can continue their development with like sized and like skilled players. Currently, the U16 AAA category of hockey is the only opportunity for 15-year-old players across the entire province to participate exclusively together. Additionally, the Rural & Edmonton Hockey League (REMHL) provides this option for players in select areas north of Red Deer.

The AA Hockey Committee has identified 11 host Minor Hockey Associations, who will each operate one team within the U16 AA division. Of those 11, seven currently host AA programs in the SCAHL, while four operate AA programs within Hockey Calgary. Additionally, those seven Host MHAs from the SCAHL have had Recruitment Areas assigned to them, which will allow them to draw 15-year-old players from their designated Recruitment Area to form their team.

Full details on the Pilot Project are outlined on the New for 2020-21 page.

NEW FOR 2020-21 >

News

Hockey Canada’s Open Letter to Canadians

AN OPEN LETTER TO CANADIANS FROM HOCKEY CANADA:

First, and most importantly, to the front-line and essential workers who have gone above and beyond around the clock to keep Canadians safe – a simple thank you is not nearly enough for what you have done over the last three months.

Second, to our Members, partners, local hockey associations, volunteers and fans across Canada, thank you for keeping the spirit of hockey alive. Unprecedented times have called for unprecedented efforts at every level of the game.

As provinces and territories phase in a plan to reopen in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are questions about when hockey will return, and how it will look when it does.

Hockey Canada and its Members are diligently working on a multifaceted return-to-hockey plan that will happen when, and only when, provincial and territorial governments and health authorities deem it safe to do so.

This plan includes everything from health and safety regulations to communications, seasonal structure, customer engagement and national teams.

As the return-to-hockey plan progresses, it will do so at different speeds, and at different times, across the country, based on direction from health authorities. And the game will look different, that much we do know. We ask for patience as we continue to work towards ensuring hockey plays its role in bringing the sports community back.

The health and safety of everyone involved in the game will determine when we return, not our desire to get back on the ice. When our country is ready, Hockey Canada will be ready. Until then, continue to follow the guidelines set by your provincial and territorial government to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Only by working together will we be able to make a difference and safely return.

For more information and regular updates, please visit hockeycanada.ca/returntohockey.

Thank you for your passion and dedication to our game, and we hope to see you around the rink as soon as possible.

Michael Brind’Amour

Chair, Board of Directors

Tom Renney

Chief Executive Officer

Scott Smith

President & COO

News

Photo Credit: Rob Wallator


Hockey Alberta announces changes to Team Alberta Summer Development Programs

RED DEER - As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Hockey Alberta has been monitoring and evaluating our 2020 Team Alberta Summer High Performance Programs. The primary concern is ensuring the safety of our players, officials, coaches, volunteers and families involved in our development programs.

As a result, Hockey Alberta is cancelling the 2020 U16 Female Summer Development Camp and postponing the U18 Female and U16 Male High Performance Summer Camps.

Hockey Alberta and Team Alberta urge everyone to take all precautions to stay safe. Follow the directions of local, provincial and federal health and government authorities as we work together with fellow Albertans, and citizens across the country, to help resolve this situation. More information about Government of Alberta protocols and recommendations can be found here.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we continue to work through these uncharted waters.


For more on the changes to the program, please review this FAQ document.

Why did Hockey Alberta revise its 2020 High Performance Camps?

The prime concern for Hockey Alberta is player safety. With arenas closed across the province, athletes have not been able to train on ice for several months. We do not want to risk injury to any athlete by returning too quickly. We want to ensure that our athletes have the ability to return to the ice prior to our camps and that each athlete has the best chance for success at these camps.

Why did Hockey Alberta cancel the U16 Female Development Camp?

Due to the uncertainty around when camps can be held again, Hockey Alberta has streamlined its player development camp schedule. Only the camps that lead to team selection have been kept on the schedule for 2020 as these programs lead a Regional/National competition. Conducting the U16 Male and U18 Female High Performance Camps allows Hockey Alberta to identify the players for the WHL Cup and U18 National Championships.

Do you have tentative dates for rescheduled camps?

No, these camps are postponed until further notice. Without a clear timeline on returning to the rinks, we do not feel comfortable scheduling tentative camps at this point in time. We want to ensure that we are following the guidelines from the Provincial Government as well as Hockey Canada’s Return to Hockey framework on when it is safe to return to hockey. We will work to ensure that all athletes across the province will be able to access on ice training and arena facilities prior to attending a Team Alberta High Performance Camp.

What is the process that will be used for camp invitations?

Hockey Alberta is not extending any camp invitations to athletes at this time. Hockey Canada, Hockey Alberta, and the other Member Branches are reviewing the situation and its potential impact to previously scheduled Regional/National competitions. As more information becomes available, we will work with our Member Associations, Leagues and Club Teams to ensure Team Alberta camps will not conflict with team schedules so athletes are able to participate. Once dates are set, Hockey Alberta will solicit input from coaches, scouts, and other personnel within our scouting network to determine a short list of players. Invitations will then be issued from the Hockey Alberta office.

Will the U18 Female and U16 Male High Performance Camps be the same structures as previous years?

No, each camp will have a reduced number of participants.

Will the WHL Cup and U18 Nationals be hosted in their original time frame?

Hockey Canada, Hockey Alberta, and the other Member Branches are currently reviewing the situation. An update to this FAQ document will be provided once more information is provided.


If you have any questions regarding the Team Alberta High Performance Programs, please contact either Mike Kraichy, Manager of Team Alberta ([email protected]) or Kendall Newell, Manager of Female Hockey ([email protected]).

News

Hockey Canada, BFL Canada Announce Female Coach of the Year Winners

CALGARY – Hockey Canada, in partnership with BFL CANADA, announced the first winners of the BFL Female Coach of the Year awards. Samantha Holmes-Domagala of Calgary has been named as the National Community Winner, and Shanya Shwetz of Edmonton has been named a Regional High Performance winner.

Giving back to the game that has given her so much, Holmes-Domagala coaches her daughter’s teams with Girls Hockey Calgary, serves as director of coaching for Timbits U7, U9 and U11 with the organization and runs skills clinics in Calgary for young girls. The Mississauga, Ont., native played 10 games with Canada’s National Women’s Team, winning gold at the 4 Nations Cup in 2000 and 2004. After playing with the Brampton Thunder of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), she moved west to join the Calgary Oval X-Treme of the Western Women’s Hockey League (WWHL), winning gold at the Esso Women’s Nationals in 2003, and co-founded the Strathmore Rockies (WWHL) in 2008.

Alberta’s High Performance BFL Female Coach of the Year regional winner is Shanya Shwetz of Edmonton. Shanya spent the 2019-20 season as head coach of the Edmonton Pandas Bantam Elite team (AFHL). She has also worked with the Team Alberta Female program, most recently as a Head Coach at the 2020 Alberta Winter Games and Video Coach at the 2019 National Women’s U18 Championship.

A complete list of winners for each category by province and territory can be found HERE.

News

Hockey Alberta Awards Announced

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the recipients of the annual Hockey Alberta Awards. These Awards allow Hockey Alberta and the Alberta hockey community to recognize outstanding individuals and teams for their hard work and accomplishments in making a positive difference for our participants in the game of hockey during the 2019-20 season.

The Hockey Alberta Awards program includes awards that are open to nominations from Hockey Alberta member organization, staff member or volunteer, and others that are determined by Hockey Alberta through a review of eligible candidates.

The 2020 Hockey Alberta Award recipients are:

  • Volunteer of the Year: Shane Hainstock (Chestermere). Shane been on the board of Chestermere Minor Hockey for 17 years, including 11 years as president. Shane also volunteered two years with the Referee Association and spent 11 years as a minor hockey referee. Shane is also involved in the community, supporting great causes such as the annual Can Struck food bank drive, and has helped the Ice Edge Figure Skating Club facilitate the Battle of the Blades.
  • Coach of the Year: Mike Lees (Edmonton). Mike was the head coach of Hockey Edmonton’s KC St. Matthew Thunder Novice team and an assistant coach in the Timbits program last season - his ninth season coaching hockey in Edmonton. Mike enjoys building the lasting relationships with the players that are created through coaching. He takes the time to go around the room, and have a brief, personal interaction with each athlete, letting them know they are important to the coach and achieving the team’s common goals.
  • Player of the Year: Elise Hugens (Sherwood Park). Elise was named the top goaltender in the Alberta Female Hockey League’s Midget AAA division in 2019-20 as she finished her minor hockey career with the Edmonton Female Athletic Club Pandas. She led the league in goals against average (.960) and shutouts (six).
  • Official of the Year: Fraser Lawrence (Edmonton). Fraser is a Level 6 official from Edmonton who represented Canada internationally last season at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic. He has been involved provincially and regionally as an Instructor and Supervisor at Hockey Alberta’s Officials Development Camp and supervising the Alberta Cup.
  • Ernie Boruk Award: CJ Senkow (Grande Prairie). CJ has been involved in various capacities in both the North Central and Peace Region executives since 2001. He has worked all levels of hockey in Alberta and the WHL, officiated numerous Provincial and National championships, and just retired this year from the AJHL.
  • Dave Ganley Award: Geoff Da Silva (Calgary). Geoff has been officiating since the age of 16. Through Geoff’s efforts, Central Region has been able to identify and develop officials effectively and efficiently. Geoff’s ongoing contributions include participation as a league supervision in both the Alberta Junior and Midget AAA levels.
  • Team of the Year: Crowfoot Coyotes Peewee AA (Calgary). Calgary’s Crowfoot Coyotes Peewee AA team gained national recognition as Alberta’s finalist in the 2020 Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup. As a regional finalist, the team won $2,000 for the charity of their choice – Team Naomi Get Well Now – a program to support children’s cancer research.
  • Order of Merit: These awards recognize exceptional leadership and distinguished service to amateur hockey in Alberta for 10 years or more. Awards may be presented in the categories of Administration, Coaching/Development and officiating. Recipients have dedicated significant time, effort and leadership to the growth and development of amateur hockey, not only in their own community, but across the province.
    • AdministrationTania Horseman (Hythe). Tania is the president of Horse Lake Minor Hockey Association, serving in that role for more than 10 years. Tania has worked countless hours, to finish up whatever paperwork is required. She even helps with rides to and from games and practices, or with fuel and meal money.
    • AdministrationMichael Tymko (St. Albert). Michael has been with St. Albert Minor Hockey Association for more than 10 years, starting as Peewee Director and moving to Vice President of Hockey Operations. He is committed to improving and bettering St. Albert’s programs to help the players develop.
    • Coaching/DevelopmentFran Gow (Sherwood Park). Fran is the Coach Mentor in Hockey Development for Hockey Alberta, a role he has held for six years. As a Coach Mentor, Fran is leading instructor at coach clinics across the province, and shares his knowledge with coaches of all levels, and even speaks at sessions for on-ice officials to help them understand the perspective of hockey bench staff.
    • Coaching/Development Rick Swan. Rick has been the Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL) Head Coach and General Manager since 2013, where he is the winningest coach in franchise history. Rick was named Head Co-Coach for Team AJHL (AJHL All-Stars) who played in the 2019 Junior Club World Cup in Sochi, Russia winning a silver medal.
  • Minor Hockey Association of the Year: Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association. Lethbridge Minor Hockey has been a leader in its attempts to grow the game in Alberta, especially with their Female program. Lethbridge has shown growth at all levels of Female hockey, with the increased registration numbers coming from a combination of player development and retention.

Congratulations to all of the Award recipients and nominees and Hockey Alberta and the hockey community thank you for your contributions to our sport. We encourage everyone to look at the full overview of the Hockey Alberta Awards program and consider who makes a difference to you, your team and your community in 2020-21.

News

AHHF Induction Gala Delayed to 2021

RED DEER – The induction gala for the 2020 Class of the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originally scheduled for July 19 in Canmore, the celebration event for the Class of 2020 will be held in July 2021.

Members of the induction class are: Bill Bucyk, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Bob Clark, John Davidson, Dr. Randy Gregg, Ken Hitchcock, Jamie Macoun, and the 1974-75 Lethbridge Native Sons

“This was a difficult choice but ultimately the right decision based on the continuing uncertainty in Alberta with regard to the ongoing COVID-19 situation,” said Al Coates, chair of the AHHF. “The induction gala is an evening of recognition and celebration for the inductees, their families and friends. The AHHF strives to bring Alberta’s hockey family together, and we want to do our best to ensure that those who want to be in attendance have the opportunity, and that means delaying the official inductions until next year.”

Members of the induction class were informed of the decision earlier this week, and everyone who purchased tickets for the event has been contacted.

In addition to the decision on the 2020 Gala event, the AHHF has decided not to recognize a Class of 2021. Nominations from the public can still be submitted for individuals and teams to be recognized as part of the Class of 2022.

The online nomination form, and the full list of Honoured Members in the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame, can be found at ahhf.ca.

News

Minor Leagues to implement U15 non-checking/body contact only for tiers 4-6

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta’s Minor Leagues Committee, represented by Alberta’s six (6) tiered Minor Hockey Leagues (CAHL, NAI, NEAHL, All Peace, Edmonton Federation & Hockey Calgary) have unanimously supported the implementation of non-checking/body contact only hockey at the Tiers 4 – 6 categories of the U15 division for the 2020-2021 season.

This decision to implement non-checking/body contact only at the Tier 4 – 6 categories of the U15 division comes after a thorough review of the survey feedback received from Hockey Alberta’s membership with regards to the proposal to implement non-checking hockey.

An FAQ document has been created to assist Minor Hockey Associations in the planning and implementation of non-checking/ body contact only hockey (Non-Checking) at the Tiers 4-6 categories of the U15 division. Hockey Alberta is also drafting a Parent Resource Document around Checking Education that will be made available.

Bulletin 19:10 - U15 Non-Checking/Body Contact Only

U15 Non-Checking Hockey FAQ >

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Photo credit: Hockey Canada


2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup cancelled

CALGARY - Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Hockey Canada has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, which was to be hosted Aug. 3-8 in Edmonton and Red Deer.

The following is a statement on behalf of Hockey Canada from Tom Renney, chief executive officer, and Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer:

“The health and safety of players, staff, officials, fans, family, volunteers and the general public is of the utmost importance to Hockey Canada, and although this was a difficult decision to make, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone involved given the uncertainty at this time.

Hockey Canada is grateful for the continued support of our event partners, including the National Hockey League (NHL), Canadian Hockey League (CHL), Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), the Red Deer Rebels, Hockey Alberta, the Czech Ice Hockey Association and the Slovak Ice Hockey Federation, as well as the Government of Alberta, the cities of Edmonton and Red Deer, Edmonton Events and Tourism Red Deer. We look forward to returning to the Czech Republic and Slovakia for the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and will continue to work with our partners to ensure the event will be a success in Alberta in 2022.

Those who have purchased tickets for the 2020 Hlinka Gretzky Cup through private ticket launches will be contacted by May 15 regarding ticketing options, including a full refund. At this time, Hockey Canada is continuing to work with OEG and the Red Deer Rebels in preparation for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.”

News

Recognizing Hockey’s Volunteers Across Alberta

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is pleased to join organizations across Alberta and Canada in celebrating National Volunteer Week, which runs April 19-25.

Hockey in Alberta relies on thousands of volunteers who freely give tens of thousands of hours of their time each year. Those volunteer roles include, but certainly aren’t limited to, serving as:

  • Executive members, directors, coaches, trainers, managers and many other positions within our Minor Hockey Associations, leagues and club teams, ensuring that the more than 3000 teams in the province can play, practice, and travel throughout the season;
  • Chairs, members or delegates on Hockey Alberta’s operational committees, making key decisions to ensure the smooth operation on a day-to-day basis; and
  • Coaches, trainers, directors of operations and mentors within Hockey Alberta’s Team Alberta high performance programming.

Over the course of National Volunteer Week, Hockey Alberta is proud to present the names and faces of a handful of Alberta’s hockey volunteers, without whom our sport does not operate, and our players do not get the opportunity to experience our great game.

Volunteer Spotlights >

We encourage you to take a few moments to recognize and thank those key volunteers with your MHA or team.