RED DEER – With 2015 in the rear view, we look back on the year that was with our favourite moments, in chronological order:
February - Alberta Takes On The Nation
The 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC proved to be a very successful venture for Team Alberta, as the U16 Males and U18 Females both made a trip to the podium.
In week one of the games, Team Alberta Female landed the bronze medal, taking down Team Saskatchewan 5-3. Read the full story here.
The following week, the male squad earned its fourth silver medal at the Canada Winter Games after a hard-fought 3-1 loss to Team Ontario after an undefeated run to the final. Read the full story here.
March/April - The March To A Title
The Midget AA Minor Trails West Wolves claim their provincial title.
The 2015 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships saw 37 different battles for provincial supremacy from Atom To Senior. In 2015, Provincials were hosted as far north as Sexsmith, and as far south as Lethbridge. The annual "March to a Title" is a high point for minor hockey across Alberta, and the 2015 edition provided lasting memories for all that took part. Click here for a list of the 2015 Provincial champions.
April/May - Peewee Prospects Shine In Olds
A major highlight of 2015 for Hockey Alberta was the very first ATB Peewee Prospects Cup, which will be held every second year, alternating with the Alberta Winter Games. A part of the Team Alberta Program, the Prospects Cup brought some of the best 2002-born male athletes to Olds May 7-10, with Edmonton Green taking the inaugural title. Read the full story here.
A week prior, a not-so-new tournament, the ATB Alberta Cup, ran in Canmore. A long-running tradition, the Alberta Cup saw some of the top 2000-born males in Alberta go head-to-head. Calgary South defeated Team South 4-3 to claim the 2015 title. Read the full story here.
That same weekend, Medicine Hat played host to the 2015 ATB Alberta Challenge. In a battle of 2001-02 born female athletes, the North Predators edged the South Lightning 2-1 in the championship game. Read the full story here.
June - A Meeting Of The (Hockey) Minds
The 2015 AGM ’Hot Stove’ panel, Left to right: Ray Bennett, Brendan Morrison, Kyle Rehman,
Paul Carson, Fran Gow and Brian Burke.
Hockey Alberta’s 2015 Annual General Meeting and Hockey Conference was one of the best yet, with an all-star panel of some of the best hockey minds in the game today: Brian Burke (Calgary Flames), Paul Carson (Hockey Canada), Brendan Morrison (former NHL player), Ray Bennett (St. Louis Blues), Kyle Rehman (NHL Official) and Fran Gow (Hockey Alberta/AJHL).
Panelists discussed and took audience questions surrounding some of the most pressing issues facing our game today. Topics included: practice to game ratio, spring hockey, initiation level hockey, and body checking.
Brian Burke served as the AGM’s Keynote Speaker, click here to see the highlights of his speech.
July - New Vision, New Mission
Another highlight of the 2015 Annual General Meeting was the unveiling of Hockey Alberta’s new vision and mission statement:
Our Vision: Hockey For Life
Our Missions: To create positive opportunities and experiences FOR ALL PLAYERS through innovative leadership and exceptional service.
Our Stakeholders: Administrators, Alberta Sport Connection, Club Teams, Coaches, Corporate Partners, Hockey Canada, Leagues, Local Minor Hockey Associations, Managers, Officials, Parents, and Trainers.
August - Resizing The Game For Our Youngest Players
Hockey Alberta is proud to have unveiled the new guidelines for the Initiation Program in 2015, geared towards keeping the game fun for new hockey players under the age of six. The new Initiation format, which sees games played on a reduced playing surface, was showcased at the "Shrink the Rink" event in Lloydminster in October.
October - In It For The Long Haul
The Olds Atom Grizzlys pose for a team photo after a 1-0 win over the Okotoks Atom Oilers.
As part of the IIHF and Hockey Canada’s World Girl’s Hockey Weekend celebrations, Okotoks and Lethbridge hosted the Alberta leg of "The Long Game" on October 10. In its third straight year, The Long Game involved over 2000 female hockey players across the country, starting in Newfoundland and working its way to B.C. The day wrapped up with a fun exhibition game between the Calgary Inferno and a team of Okotoks First Responders.
October/November -The Gold Standard
Team Alberta celebrates its 2015 Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup title.
The top WHL prospects from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba met at the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in Calgary, with Team Alberta successfully defending its 2013 title. Alberta went a perfect 4-0, winning for the fourth time in the tournament’s five year history. Read the full story here.
November - Alberta’s "Fab Five" Rise To The Challenge
Left to right: Jarrod Gourley, Ian Mitchell, James Hamblin, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Ian Scott.
Less than a year after winning a silver medal with Team Alberta at the 2015 Canada Winter Games, Ian Scott (G), Jarrod Gourley (D), Ian Mitchell (D), Jaret Anderson-Dolan (F) and James Hamblin (F) helped lead Team Canada White to a gold medal at the World U17 Hockey Challenge in Dawson Creek, BC.
Team Canada White beat Russia 6-2 in the gold medal game, with Anderson-Dolan notching a goal and an assist, while Mitchell added a pair of helpers. Scott made 21 saves for the win, finishing the tournament with a 3-1 record.
Seven players total from the 2015 Silver Medal winning Team Alberta were selected to take part in the World U17 Hockey Challenge. James Hamblin, Ian Mitchell and Jaret Anderson-Dolan also served as the captain and assistant captains of Canada White, respectively.