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2023 Team Alberta U18 Female Coaching Staff Announced

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the staff selected to lead Team Alberta U18 Female.

Chris Leeming (Edmonton) heads the bench staff with Ashley Shrode (Barrhead) and Jessie Olfert (Edmonton) as assistant coaches. Erin O’Toole (Lethbridge) joins the staff as the video coach and Jane Kish (Medicine Hat) as the goaltender coach.

The support roles include Rob Dawson (St. Albert) as the coach mentor, Dave Campbell (Grande Prairie) as the equipment manager, and Erin Gordon (Edmonton) as the athletic therapist. Completing the staff as Director of Operations is Hockey Alberta’s Manager of Female Hockey, Kendall Newell (Red Deer).

“It is an honour to be named head coach of Team Alberta and have the opportunity to represent the province at a National Championship,” said Leeming. “We’ve assembled a strong staff, consisting of great humans, who I am eager to collaborate with and to learn from. Ultimately, if we find a way to align with our measures of success, and make the experience a memorable one for our athletes, we have won.”

Director of Hockey Operations Kendall Newell Red Deer
Coach Mentor Rob Dawson St. Albert
Head Coach Chris Leeming Edmonton
Assistant Coach Ashley Shrode Barrhead
Assistant Coach Jessie Olfert Edmonton
Video Coach Erin O’Toole Lethbridge
Goalie Coach Jane Kish Medicine Hat
Equipment Manager Dave Campbell Grande Prairie
Athletic Therapist Erin Gordon Edmonton

Leeming makes his second appearance with Team Alberta U18 Female, after joining the bench staff at the 2021 U18 Western Championships as an assistant coach. Currently the MacEwan University Griffins head coach competing in USport, he’s served as a coach mentor at the Alberta Challenge in 2022 and 2023 and spent time with the U16 program over the last five years in various roles.

Shrode has come full circle, playing for Team Alberta at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship, she now coaches with Barrhead Minor Hockey Association. She has an extensive coaching resume that includes coach mentoring at the 2020 Alberta Winter Games, head coach at the 2019 Alberta Challenge and at the 2018 Alberta Winter Games.

Olfert is making the jump to assistant coach after supporting the 2023 Team Alberta Canada Winter Games squad as the video coach. Most recently coaching with the Alberta Female Hockey League’s U18 AAA Jr. Oilers White Female team, she has experience in the Team Alberta program as a head coach at the 2022 Alberta Challenge, and assistant coach at the 2020 Alberta Winter Games and 2019 Alberta Challenge.

O’Toole is fresh off an appearance as a head coach at the Alberta Challenge with South Black and coaches with the Lethbridge Eagles of the Alberta Junior Female Hockey League. A U18 Nationals alumna, Kish, joined South Black as an assistant coach at the Alberta Challenge and coaches with the South Alberta Hockey Academy of the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.

Team Alberta U18 Female is slated to compete at a national competition November 3-11.

Team Alberta U18 Female

Team Alberta U18 Female, fueled by Gatorade, is one of the stages of identification for Canada’s national programs. The team competes at the national competition, November 3-11.

Team Alberta U18 Female program is open to 2006 and 2007 born athletes who are Alberta residents and who were registered with a Hockey Canada/Hockey Alberta sanctioned program for the 2022-23 season. Athletes are invited to camp based on previous Team Alberta programs, as well as scouting of players at sanctioned Hockey Canada/Hockey Alberta games or events.

Athletes identified for the program are invited to Summer Camp, July 11-16. Following the camp, athletes are shortlisted and selected for Fall Camp, September 22-24. Athletes need to be registered with a sanctioned program in the 2023-24 season in order to remain eligible for final team selection in the fall.

Invitations to Summer Camp will be extended May 26, only successful athletes are notified at this time. Camp attendees are to be posted publicly in July.

Key Dates:

Invitations: May 26

Summer Camp: July 11-16

Fall Camp: September 22-24

Competition: November 3-11

For more information, contact Kendall Newell, Hockey Alberta’s Manager of Female Hockey.


Just Go For It

Sadie Makokis was meant to be a hockey player. The fifth of eight children, she comes from a family of hockey players.

For the 18-year-old, the 2022-23 season proved to be a storybook ending to her minor hockey career. Not only did she commit to the University of New Hampshire to play Division I hockey, she represented Alberta at both the Canada Winter Games (CWG) and the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC).

“It’s amazing and surreal to say that I’ve been able to represent Alberta numerous times,” said Makokis. “It’s kind of cool to see how far I’ve come… I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates and coaches.”

Makokis first came on the scene five years ago when she played in the NAHC as a double under-age.

“As a rookie you have to earn your stripes and prove yourself a little bit more because people haven’t seen you play as much,” said Makokis. “You don’t have that experience that others may have had. Now I know what I need to do and how to prepare and play.”

Her confidence in her game didn’t happen overnight.

“Playing in short-term competition four times now at this level has made it a lot easier,” said Makokis. “I go into tryouts prepared and ready to go. I try to set that example for myself and for others, but overall, I just try to play my own game.”

Playing her own game is what Makokis does best, and it’s what solidified her spot on Team Alberta twice this season.

In December, Makokis was selected to Team Alberta U18 to compete at the 2023 CWG in Charlottetown, PEI. The team finished fifth overall. In May, Makokis brought home a bronze medal with Team Alberta Female from the 2023 NAHC in Winnipeg.

“The two are very different tournaments and styles,” said Makokis. “In PEI, it was super diverse and we were all there for hockey. At NAHC, we come from a common background and we are all there to play hockey as well as represent our people.”

A member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, the opportunity to represent her people is why Makokis continues to try out for NAHC each year.

“It’s really humbling to say that my NAHC teammates are all my friends now,” said Makokis. “I’ll have them forever because we share the same experiences, have the same backgrounds and where we come from.”

Saddle Lake is an hour and 45 minutes away from St. Albert, where Makokis now calls home. She’s aware that living in the city has provided her with more opportunities than other people from Saddle Lake – and she understands the responsibilities that accompany being part of a generation that is blazing a trail for Indigenous youth in Alberta.

“It’s cool to be able to create that path and have other Indigenous youth know that they can do this too,” said Makokis. “I’m very proud to be Cree, to be Black and White, and I never realized that I’ve had that impact (on the next generation) over my short life that I’ve had.”

It’s not uncommon for Makokis to receive a message of support from someone watching her story unfold.

“It’s really cool to see I’m able to inspire my younger cousins and the other families on the reserve,” said Makokis. “I get messages saying ‘we’re all rooting for you and we’re all supporting you’ and I know that I have my entire community as well as several other communities in Alberta behind me. That’s amazing.”

Makokis is honoured to represent the Indigenous community on this large of scale, but her message for the next generation is clear.

“Just go for it,” said Makokis. “It doesn’t matter where you played the year before - as long as you go into the tryouts and be you. Take a chance on yourself and trust yourself. You’ve been playing hockey a long time and know these skills, so just trust yourself that you’re able to do it. Just go for it.”


2023 BFL Female Coach of the Year

Congratulations to Krista Wilson and Tara Swanson on being named Alberta’s 2023 BFL Female Coaches of the Year by Hockey Canada. Through the BFL Female Coach of the Year, Hockey Canada’s mission is to recognize coaches who are leaders in hockey and leaders in life, both in community and high performance leagues.

2023 Alberta BFL Female Coach of the Year – Community

Wilson spent the 2022-23 season with the Airdrie U15 A Female Lightning. In total, she has 12 years of coaching experience, and holds her Development 1 certification. Wilson is always striving to improve her skillset and knowledge base to help her athletes be the best they can be on and off the ice.

As an advocate for mental health awareness, this season, Wilson held a Health Challenge for the players which provided challenges encouraging physical and mental wellness. She ensures her players are prepared and focused for hockey and prioritizes celebrating life outside of the game.

2023 Alberta BFL Female Coach of the Year – High Performance

Swanson is a veteran behind the bench who currently works with the North Central Impact of the U15 AA Alberta Female Hockey League. Her coaching philosophy emphasizes her players and their development. She works with each player individually and as a whole team to determine goals and expectations for the season. She makes it clear that improvement and success is not always measured by the score of the game.

Swanson leads by example. She creates an environment where players are comfortable to express themselves, ensures a team free of harassment, discrimination and bullying and is always the first off the bench to shake other coaches hands. She uses her experiences to help mentor young coaches in the association and gives back to the game at the provincial level. Her goal to make everyone around her better, makes her an excellent role model for the young adults with whom she works.

BFL Female Coach of the Year

Coaches from coast to coast were nominated for Hockey Canada’s BFL Female Coach of the Year award. A selection committee chose the provincial and territorial winners for each category based on fair play and sportsmanship, emphasis on emotional and physical well-being of players, and commitment to developing every player and dedication to the game on and off the ice.

Each provincial and territorial winner receives a $2,500 bursary. A national winner from each category will be announced in June.


Registration now open for 2023-24 First Shift program

Do you have a child aged 6-10 years who is ready to fall in love with hockey? Registration is now open for the 2023-24 NHL/NHLPA First Shift program.

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift program is designed to ensure a positive experience for new-to-hockey families by offering a low-cost entry program to hockey.


Hockey Alberta News

Hockey Alberta will be running the First Shift Program from Nov. 4 - Apr. 5, 2024. In total, the First Shift will be offered in 11 locations across Alberta during the 2023-24 season:

Canmore - Spring

Calgary (Hockey Calgary) - Fall

Carstairs - Fall

Chestermere - Winter

Edmonton (Edmonton Oilers & Hockey Edmonton)- Fall and Winter

Elk Point - Fall

Grande Prairie - Fall

Lethbridge - Fall

Red Deer (Hockey Alberta) - Winter

Leduc - Fall

St. Albert - Spring

To register for a First Shift program near you, and for more information, click here.


Staff Applications open for 2024 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta and Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta are now taking staff applications for the 2024 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC).

Applications are open for head coaches, assistant coaches, trainers and apprentice coaches for both Team Alberta Female and Male. To be eligible to apply, applicants must be of First Nations, Métis or Inuit heritage and coaching Tier 1 or above during the 2023-2024 season.

Successful applicants must be available for the NAHC Summer Camp, August 3-6 in Red Deer and the NAHC scheduled for May 5-11 in Grande Prairie.

The Aboriginal Sport Circle established the NAHC in 2002 to serve as the premiere competition for young Aboriginal hockey players in Canada.

The annual event provides a forum for elite U18 aged Indigenous male and female youth and attracts participation from First Nations, Métis and Inuit across the 13 provinces and territories. This annual event helps foster cultural unity and pride to celebrate Indigenous athletes and sport.

NAHC Team Alberta Male Coach Application >

NAHC Team Alberta Female Coach Application >

NAHC Trainer Application >

NAHC Apprentice Coach Application >

Deadline to submit an application is June 9.

Inquiries on coaching with Team Alberta at the NAHC, can be directed to Mike Applegate, Regional Manager North, Hockey Development, at [email protected].


Dream Your Future

Darren Reid quite literally dreamt his future.

The assistant coach of Team Alberta Male, who competed at the 2023 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC), had a dream about playing hockey for a team with a lightning bolt at six-years-old.

When he was eight, he bought a pack of hockey cards, where he discovered the Tampa Bay Lightning. Ten years later, the Lightning drafted him 256th overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Along the way, there were little signs that gave Reid motivation to keep honing his skills. Like the reoccurring dream he would have in his teenage years of driving in a city, with a little league baseball park, opening up to the city as he turned the corner. In his first year as a professional hockey player in Springfield, Massachusetts, Reid found himself in the exact scenario he had dreamed about for years.

“I went for a drive on one of my first days in Springfield. I saw the little league field on the right and I thought if there’s a city around this corner, then this is meant to be,” said Reid. “I turned the corner and I was in shock. I pulled over and I took it all in. I had this feeling this is where I’m supposed to be in life.”

Reid’s involvement in hockey stems back to his biggest inspiration, his grandfather.

“My grandfather led all the sports in our family. My Dad and my uncles grew up with it and my Dad wanted that for my brother and me,” said Reid. “I was three years old the first time I skated, and I fell in love with hockey.”

As a kid, Reid loved the game. He never missed an Edmonton Oilers or Detroit Red Wings game. His passion came from the generations before him and when his family saw his potential to go to the next level, they pushed him harder.

“I’m very grateful for my Dad’s belief in me. He saw that I had what it takes to go to the next level,” said Reid. “I recognized that I had that hard work, that passion, that wanting to get better skill, that would take me there.”

By the time he was 14, Reid was one of the better players on his team and in his leagues in the Lac La Biche area. But he wondered why some of the really good hockey players he grew up playing with never moved on.

“You wonder why sometimes, why some people get chosen and some people don’t,” said Reid. “Now that I’m a coach and I was a scout, you understand and can see the difference between hard working players and kids who are just good players. Hard work is something that you can’t teach, it’s instilled.”

Reid’s work ethic couldn’t be ignored. But growing up in the 1990s as an Indigenous male, neither could the racism he experienced.

“I hate to say it, but there was a lot of racism which prevented me from playing on different teams,” said Reid. “There were teams that I didn’t make that helped me get better in my own way. I honestly think I needed that because it pushed me 10 times harder to play.”

As Reid moved through the ranks in his career, he would compete against the same players he was cut for in Midget AAA, while he played Midget B at home.

“It was really hard mentally to figure out why I couldn’t make some of these teams. That’s something I can’t change, but I’m grateful that in hockey today, a lot of the Indigenous kids are getting the opportunities to showcase their talent,” said Reid.

In Lac La Biche, a local former professional player, Terry Ewasiuk, took notice. He convinced Milan Dragicevic, then head coach and general manager of the Drayton Valley Thunder in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, to watch Reid.

“Milan truly believed in me. Even though I only played for him for two games, he was the one who brought me to Drayton Valley and selected me to play,” said Reid. “Then Barry Medori took over. Barry gave me the opportunity.”

Medori was the coach that Reid needed - giving him an opportunity, and not giving up on him.

“That’s what I teach kids today, I don’t give up on them. I don’t send them away, I want to teach them, until they show me they can’t,” said Reid.

Under Medori, Reid began to blossom. He was named rookie of the year and received full-ride scholarship offers to NCAA schools. Then the Western Hockey League (WHL) called. After discussing it with his family, Reid chose to enter the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers.

With the Tigers, Reid honed his game. He had a breakout season in 2004 when the Tigers won the WHL championship. After that, he knew he was ready for the next step in his hockey career.

But timing is everything and after realizing his dream of being drafted to the NHL, the timing in Reid’s career began to go awry.

What should have been his first NHL training camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning was put on hold for a year due to the 2004-05 NHL lockout. He began his career in the American Hockey League with the Springfield Falcons under coach Dirk Graham. Reid received the True Grit award, an award presented to the player who exemplifies the traits of courage, determination, and a strong work ethic.

After five years in the Lightning system, he was traded to the Philadelphia Flyers. The trade felt like a new chance at the NHL dream, especially since cracking the Lightning lineup was tough after they won the Stanley Cup in 2004. He played 14 games with the Flyers. But his time in the AHL with the Philadelphia Phantoms, playing for coach Craig Berube, was priceless.

“We were Indigenous and he took me under his wing. He showed me what hard work meant,” said Reid. “I learned at junior, the personal aspect. Dirk gave me the opportunity to play my game. Then you get a coach who was a Stanley Cup Champion level, and he showed you what to do to players to get them to respond through hard work.”

When Reid retired from playing in 2010, his resume included a Calder Cup Championship with the Hershey Bears of the AHL, a WHL championship and multiple accolades acknowledging him for his hard work and dedication to the game.

At the time, Reid didn’t realize the platform that he’d been given as an Indigenous player, especially in north central Alberta.

“I didn’t ask for a spotlight and I didn’t know what to do with it, I’m not that kind of person,” said Reid. “It took me awhile to learn that I actually have something to offer the Indigenous community, because I’ve been there and I’ve went through the steps. Now I want to help the next generation so they don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.”

Blessed with good coaching throughout his career, he began to understand how he could give back, it started with operating hockey schools across North American for Indigenous youth.

“I always wanted to coach, but for the first five years after playing, I felt I wasn’t ready to be the coach I wanted to be. I felt I needed to mature as a coach and as a person,” said Reid. “As time went on, I did…. I’m happy I can do stuff like that to give back to these kids. It’s something I have a passion for.”

In addition to Medori, Graham and Berube, he also credits his Tigers coach, Willie Desjardins for making him coach he is today.

“I’m still learning and I always will still learn, but I’m grateful for Barry, Willie, Dirk and Craig for teaching me how to be a great coach,” said Reid. “Willie made me who I am today as a coach. He instilled a lot of great coaching values in me. He knows how to dig into your soul and get the best out of you. He could have sent us home a lot of times, instead he put us on the right path.”

The combination of the four coaches who impacted his career and his own professional experience, has enabled Reid to grow into his position as an Assistant Coach at NAHC.

“Words can’t even explain how honoured I am to have been asked to help coach Team Alberta,” said Reid. “I wanted to be involved because I have this experience that a lot of our Indigenous youth don’t know.”

Reid is using this opportunity to share his wisdom with players of the next generation.

“If I had had this when I got to pro, it would have made me career a whole lot easier,” said Reid. “Helping these kids get to the next level and give them the best version of themselves to make it there, I’m just very honoured to help.”

As for envisioning his future, this is one dream he didn’t see coming.

“I never thought I’d be sitting here as a coach and be coaching Team Alberta,” said Reid. “We represent our province and that’s a big deal.”


Congratulations to the 2023 Award winners

RED DEER – Four individual and two minor hockey associations have been recognized as 2023 recipients of Hockey Alberta Awards, presented by ATB.

The Hockey Alberta Awards program provides the hockey community the opportunity to recognize outstanding individuals, teams and associations for their hard work and accomplishments in making a positive difference for participants in our sport each season.

Nominations are accepted from Hockey Alberta member organizations, staff members, volunteers and the hockey community. Each award recipient receives $1,000 for his/ her association.

The 2022-23 Hockey Alberta Award recipients are:

Coach of the Year: Chad Huseby (Red Deer). Chad was a coach of the Red Deer Minor Hockey U11B Flyers, and after a tragic incident occurred with the team’s head coach, Chad acted as support to the players and coaching staff to help guide them through the season.

Official of the Year: Taylor Burzminski (St. Albert). Taylor obtained his National High Performance Level certification in October. He skated two international events and the Alberta Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League playoffs. He also serves as the Development Coordinator in the North Region.

Player of the Year: Ryley Budd (Calgary). Ryley, a goaltender with the Calgary Northstars of the Alberta Elite Hockey League, raised $5,000 for HEROS Hockey this season through a fundraising initiative with EnerCorp. The funds Ryley raised sent a goalie (and his team) in the HEROS program to Ontario for their first hockey tournament.

Volunteer of the Year: Janet Fairless (Grimshaw). Janet has volunteered with Hockey Alberta since 2009 in a variety of roles, including serving on the Minor Administration Committee.

Minor Hockey Association of the Year: St. Albert Minor Hockey Association (SAMHA). During the 2022-23 season, SAMHA demonstrated it was one of the most progressive organizations keeping the development of their players and support of voluteers at the forefront.

Exceptional Provincial Host Site Awards:

  • Olds Minor Hockey Association – U13 AA
  • St. Albert Minor Hockey Association – U17 AAA

Congratulations to all the award recipients and nominees. Hockey Alberta and the hockey community thank you for your contributions to our sport.

Team Alberta

Photo Credit: Athletes Image Sports Photography

2023 National Aboriginal Hockey Championship Recap

RED DEER – After competing in the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship (NAHC) May 8-13, Team Alberta has returned home from Winnipeg.

Team Alberta Female brought home their second-ever medal, after claiming bronze in a double overtime thriller. Berry Rosychuk chipped in a pass from Megan Tipton to seal the 3-2 victory. Team Alberta Female finished the tournament with a 4-3 record, and Phoenix Big Snake was named the team’s Most Sportsmanlike Player.

“They believed in themselves, they believed in me and they believed in each other and that’s what helped us be successful in this tournament,” said Kendra Rosychuk, head coach of Team Alberta Female. “They kept going and they kept getting better each game and each and every shift. Bringing home the second bronze medal ever, we’re a part of history now and it’s a huge accomplishment.”

Team Alberta Male closed out the NAHC in fifth place. Opening the tournament with a win, the team faced strong goaltending throughout the round robin, to finish with a 1-2 record. Opposition goaltending continued to be the story in the quarter-final, where Team Alberta Male outshot Ontario by more than 20 shots but fell 3-2. Alberta finished the tournament with a 10-7 win over Atlantic in the 5th/6th place game. The team was named the Most Sportsmanlike Team of the tournament and Jaxen Gauchier was selected as the Most Sportsmanlike Player for Team Alberta Male.

“The boys did a great job and I am super proud of them. They competed and battled in every zone on the ice,” said Darren Reid, assistant coach of Team Alberta Male. “We had a young team and we as coaches were very proud of them and how far they came over the 10 days. I was honoured that our team was named most sportsmanlike team of the tournament.”

The 2024 edition of NAHC will be held in Alberta for the first time ever as Grande Prairie will welcome the country to Treaty 8 Territory in northwest Alberta.

Tryouts for Team Alberta competing at the 2024 NAHC will be held Aug. 3-6 in Red Deer. Registration will open in June.

For more information on Team Alberta and the NAHC, visit or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Team Alberta

Prospects Cup: Day 4 Recap

RED DEER – The 2023 Prospects Cup was hoisted by Capital Royal in an exhilarating 5-4 championship game against Calgary White.

Nathan Murray opened the scoring for Calgary White with an assist coming from Connor Huynh just two and a half minutes into the game. Brady Forest retaliated with a short handed goal, stealing the puck just outside the left post and firing it through the legs of Colten Dunsby. Under two minutes later, James Anisimovicz sent one into the cornerrea high above Dunsby’s right shoulder and into the back of the goal, bringing a 2-1 lead to White. Brayden Tucker notched Royal’s second short-handed goal of the game after a one-on-one with Dunsby. Kalen Miles gave Capital Royal their first lead of the game after tapping one in the back door off a perfect pass from Andrew Nordstrom. Austyn Giebelhaus rode the momentum scoring Royal’s fourth of the game off a face-off at the end of the first period. Grayson Bauer and Nathan Murray add two for Calgary White within 30 seconds of one another to out the crowd on their feet. The pair had the lone two goals of the second period. Brayden Tucker knocked back him second goal for the game and won the championship for Capital Royal!

It was a battle of the south to open the day, South Black taking the win 8-4 over region rival, South Gold. The game saw a total 84 shots taken against the two Airdrie goaltenders making this game a true frenzy of action.

North Blue and Calgary Red took the ice next with a nailbiter resolution. Calgary Red fighting against North Blue’s Adrien Brochu, only able to score 3 on 39 shots. North Blue sealed the deal 12 seconds into overtime with Ryan Sieker sneaking one just inside the right post.

The fifth-place game was played by Capital Green and North Grey with Green taking the win, 4-3. North Grey played with speed and grit against Green’s precision passing. Both squads exchanged goals through the third period, with Boston Matter netting the game winning goal with 7:47 left in the game.

The Prospects Cup marks the end of Hockey Alberta’s 2023 Spring showcase events. The Alberta Cup and the Alberta Challenge had wrapped up in the previous two weeks with Green taking home both of those championships.

Standings > Stats > Schedule > Day 1 Recap > Day 2 Recap > Day 3 Recap >

Game #1

South Black 8 – South Gold 4

Players of the Game: South Black: #12 Calder Fraser | South Gold: #16 Jaxon Jaffray

Boxscore >

Game #2

North Blue 4 – Calgary Red 3 (OT)

Players of the Game: North Blue: #16 Ryan Sieker | Calgary Red: #18 Eric Savage Keller

Boxscore >

Game #3

Capital Green 4 – North Grey 3 (OT)

Player of the Game: Capital Green: #2 Chase Asher Zolinski | North Grey: #7 Nolan Wolitski

Boxscore >

Game #4

Capital Royal 5 – Calgary White 4

Player of the Game: Capital Royal: #20 Brayden Tucker | Calgary White: #17 Nathan Murray

Boxscore >

Gatorade Alberta Built Performer of the Day – Calder Fraser (South Black)

The Alberta Built player of the day is the athlete who best exemplifies the qualities of an "Alberta Built" player. Alberta Built is defined as:

  1. Good person - Know who you are.
  2. Character player - Believe in yourself.
  3. Grit player - Thrive on adversity
  4. Leadership - Treat yourself & people right
  5. Standard of performance - Focused approach on process - ALWAYS COMPETE - EVERY-DAYERS


Lin Luymes - longtime Hockey Alberta volunteer

Hockey Alberta NewsLin Luymes, a long-time volunteer with Hockey Alberta, passed away on May 8 after some recent health issues. She was 55.

Lin had served as Registrar with Lacombe Minor Hockey for eight years until 2014, when she joined Hockey Alberta as a member of the Minor Administration Committee. In her volunteer role, Lin assisted minor hockey associations with the sometimes daunting tasks of registration processes, team and player approvals, and approving player transfers in HCR.

In 2019, she received her five-year award as a Hockey Alberta volunteer from CEO Rob Litwinski and Terry Engen, then-Board Chair.

In addition to her volunteer work with Hockey Alberta, Lin was also a deacon at Woody Nook Christian Reformed Church.

Lin is survived by her husband Andrew, sister Maureen Tabak, sons Mark (Laura), Peter (Kate), David (Ashley), grandchildren Bradley, Abigail, Blake, Lacie, and Josie, as well as numerous in-laws, nieces and nephews, and friends.

A Public Visitation is set for Monday, May 15 from 6-8 pm at Wilson’s Funeral Chapel with a Celebration of Life on Tuesday, May 16 at 1 pm at the Woody Nook CRC, 40104 Range Road 281 (west of Lacombe).


Eight Albertans selected in first round of the 2023 WHL Draft

RED DEER - Eight Alberta players, registered in Hockey Alberta/Hockey Canada sanctioned programs, heard their names called during the first round of the 2023 WHL Draft on Thursday.

Albertans were selected first and second overall and five going in the top 10.

Prince Albert Raiders had the first two picks, selecting Lacombe’s Daxon Rudolph first overall, and Cochrane’s Riley Boychuk with the number two pick.

Five Albertans were selected in the top 10 including:

  • 4th: Keaton Verhoeff, Fort Saskatchewan (Victoria Royals)
  • 7th: Ty Meunier, St.Albert, (Prince Albert Raiders)
  • 8th: Brett Olson, Spruce Grove (Vancouver Giants).

Rounding out the list of Albertans selected in the first round were 13th Cruz Pavao, Calgary (Tri-City Americans), 16th Aaron Sawatzky, Didsbury (Moose Jaw Warriors), and 22nd Carter Esler, Okotoks (Spokane Chiefs)

Five of the eight Albertans are from the Alberta Elite Hockey League.

A full list of Albertans registered in Hockey Alberta/ Hockey Canada sanctioned programs drafted can be found below:

Pick Player Team Position Hometown
1st Daxon Rudolph Prince Albert Raiders Defence Lacombe
2nd Riley Boychuk Prince Albert Raiders Forward Cochrane
4th Keaton Verheoff Victoria Royals Defence Fort Saskatchewan
7th Ty Meunier Prince Albert Raiders Forward St. Albert
8th Brett Olson Vancouver Giants Forward Spruce Grove
13th Cruz Pavao Tri-City Americans Forward Calgary
16th Aaron Sawatzky Moose Jaw Warriors Defence Didsbury
22nd Carter Esler Spokane Chiefs Goaltender Okotoks
27th Bennett Kelly Prince Albert Raiders Defence Cochrane
29th Zachery Olsen Saskatoon Blades Forward Calgary
30th Sawyer Dingman Swift Current Broncos Forward Edmonton
32nd Rhys Jamieson Everett Silvertips Forward Calgary
33rd Easton LaPlante Calgary Hitmen Defence Calgary
34th Parker Snell Edmonton Oil Kings Goaltender St. Albert
37th Kayden Lemire Prince George Cougars Forward Edmonton
39th Jordan Duguay Portland Winterhawks Forward Edmonton
41st Cooper Williams Saskatoon Blades Forward Calgary
42nd Ryley Budd Saskatoon Blades Goaltender Calgary
43rd Dermot Johnston Prince George Cougars Defence Olds
44th Townes Kozicky Prince George Cougars Forward Calgary
50th Steele Bass Prince Albert Raiders Goaltender High River
54th Finn Werner Everett Silvertips Goaltender St. Albert
55th Jesse McKinnon Tri-City Americans Forward St. Albert
57th Cage Smith Edmonton Oil Kings Forward Brooks
58th Braydon Riggall Vancouver Giants Defence Calgary
62nd Cole Prelusky Victoria Royals Goaltender Calgary
63rd Patrick Sopiarz Prince George Cougars Forward Edmonton
66th Caelen Joudrey Winnipeg ICE Forward Airdrie
69th Rhett Sather Victoria Royals Defence Rocky View
70th Nathan Guenther Saskatoon Blades Defence Edmonton
72nd Isaac Davies Brandon Wheat Kings Forward Carstairs
76th Owen Folstrom Kelowna Rockets Forward Calgary
79th Matthew Williams Edmonton Oil Kings Forward Leduc
85th Liam Eisnor Saskatoon Blades Defence Edmonton
88th Grady Pichette Lethbridge Hurricanes Defence Okotoks
89th Tracen Ashley Seattle Thunderbirds Defence Calgary
91st Dallin Antos Kelowna Rockets Defence Red Deer
92nd Finn Bagley Seattle Thunderbirds Forward Airdrie
94th Ryan Boyce Brandon Wheat Kings Forward Calgary
95th Knox Bendera Brandon Wheat Kings Forward Sherwood Park
102nd Brody Rotar Lethbridge Hurricanes Goaltender Lethbridge
104th Nolan Stewart Victoria Royals Forward Edmonton
105th Will McLaughlin Portland Winterhawks Defence Canmore
110th Radoslav Dmitrov Winnipeg ICE Defence Spruce Grove
114th Owen Cooper Everett Silvertips Forward Calgary
116th Gabriel O’Brien Kelowna Rockets Forward Edmonton
119th Brayden Ryan-Mackay Medicine Hat Tigers Forward Calgary
136th Ben McBeath Kelowna Rockets Defence Calgary
137th Noah Chadi Kamloops Blazers Defence Edmonton
140th Emile Plourde Prince George Cougars Forward Sherwood Park
143rd Rylan Ng Calgary Hitmen Forward Lethbridge
144th David Byrne Calgary Hitmen Defence Calgary
145th Sullivan Fogolin Kelowna Rockets Defence St. Albert
146th Easton Daneault Lethbridge Hurricanes Forward Red Deer
149th Nash Nicolay Portland Winterhawks Forward Rocky Mountain House
150th Noah Milford Red Deer Rebels Forward Okotoks
153rd Brendan Rudolph Seatttle Thunderbirds Forward Calgary
156th Joshua McKague Winnipeg ICE Defence Edmonton
158th Griffin Horne Calgary Hitmen Forward Lac Des Arcs
159th Avery Watson Medicine Hat Tigers Forward Edmonton
161st Rockston Ror-Chow Vancouver Giants Forward Edmonton
166th Darius Hordal Prince Albert Raiders Defence Edmonton
168th Hayden Iron Shirt Lethbridge Hurricanes Forward Lethbridge
169th Ryan Pedersen Prince George Cougars Defence Rocky View
172nd Kade Pierson Red Deer Rebels Forward Chestermere
176th Grady Wedman Winnipeg ICE Forward Leduc Country
179th Mathieu Lajoie Victoria Royals Forward St. Albert
184th Aiden Sexsmith Swift Current Broncos Forward Calgary
188th Kai Zurowski Regina Pats Goaltender St. Albert
190th William Hogan Lethbridge Hurricanes Defence Edmonton
193rd Tate Hanson Portland Winterhawks Forward Strathmore
194th Nate Yellowaga Red Deer Rebels Defence Calgary
195th Kohen Lodge Saskatoon Blades Forward Red Deer
197th Keegan Bailey Seattle Thunderbirds Forward Airdrie
203rd Ty Krooshoop Prince Albert Raiders Defence Rocky View
205th Kaden Hayes Vancouver Giants Forward Chestermere
207th Tafri Chingwaru Medicine Hat Tigers Defence Edmonton
216th Nolan Schmidt Red Deer Rebels Forward Edmonton
217th Rhett Romanchuk Saskatoon Blades Defence Dewberry
236th Riley Thorpe Moose Jaw Warriors Forward

St. Albert

238th Saul Astill Red Deer Rebels Defence


240th Rory Frew Kamloops Blazers Forward



256th Theron Bensler Lethbridge Hurricanes Defence Medicine Hat
258th Dylan Deets Moose Jaw Warriors Defence Calgary
262nd Damien Wiebe Kamloops Blazers Defence Sherwood Park


Hockey Alberta gliding into Prospects Cup

RED DEER – The Prospects Cup is gliding into Red Deer, May 11-14. Hockey Alberta’s youngest tournament for under-13 male athletes concludes the 2023 Spring Showcase.

Play starts with North Grey and Capital Royal on Thursday at 11:30 am at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Eight teams are competing for a spot in the championship game on Sunday at 3:30 pm.

Over 200 students from École Mother Theresa School and École Camille J. Lerouge School are to be in attendance between Thursday and Friday. The Hockey Alberta Foundation has partnered with local schools to allow students to experience the great game of hockey.

The Prospects Cup is a round-robin tournament. The 20-player rosters are made up of two goaltenders, six defence and 12 forwards. Prior to this tournament under-15 male and female players competed at the Alberta Cup (April 27-30) and Alberta Challenge (May 4-7), respectively, as part of the Spring Showcase.

Games are being livestreamed on HockeyTV.

For more information on the Prospect Cup, visit or follow Hockey Alberta on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Watch Live >

Schedule >

Roster >

50/50 >

About Prospects Cup

The Prospects Cup is the first step of the Hockey Alberta Development program. It provides second-year U13 athletes, coaches, trainers, and administrators an opportunity to discover the qualities of competitive hockey in a well-organized regional camp and select team competition.

Team Alberta

Eighty invitations extended to 2023 Under-16 Male Summer Camp

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta has announced the 80 athletes invited to the 2023 Team Alberta Male Under-16 Summer Camp.

Eight goalies, 24 defence and 48 forwards born in 2008 were invited to attend the camp scheduled for July 4-9 at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in Red Deer. Athletes invited to the camp are vying for a spot on the roster that will be competing in the 2023 WHL Cup.

Team Alberta Male U16 Summer Camp Invites >

“Throughout the course of the season and the Alberta Cup, we’ve watched many talented players,” said Mike Kraichy, Manager of Elite Male Hockey. “This is the next step in the process, and we’ve selected players who we believe have what it takes to represent Alberta at an elite level.”

Selections were determined based on the Team Alberta scouting process throughout the 2022-23 season and the 2023 Alberta Cup. From summer camp, a short list will be set and those players will be scouted with their club teams until the 20 player-roster is named.

2023 WHL Cup Coaching Staff Named

RED DEER – The members of the coaching staff have been chosen for Team Alberta U16 Male that will compete at the 2023 WHL Cup in Red Deer, October 17-22.

Derrick Martin (Edmonton) and Duncan Milroy (Edmonton) were named as assistant coaches, joining head coach James Poole behind the bench. Brady Bakke (Red Deer) is the video coach and Derek Purfield (Calgary) is the goaltender coach.

For Poole, this is his third consecutive season with Team Alberta, serving as the assistant coach at the Canada Winter Games in 2023 and the video coach at the WHL Cup in 2021. During the regular season, he is the head coach of the Edge School U18 Male Prep team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.

Martin is the head coach and general manager of the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). In 2023, he was the video coach for Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games.

Milroy is the bench boss for the Alberta Elite Hockey League’s Leduc Oil Kings. After a lengthy professional playing career, Milroy’s coaching resume includes the Alberta Cup and Prospects Cup.

In his eighth season as the goaltender coach for Team Alberta, Purfield is also the Assistant/Goalie Coach with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers. Bakke is an assistant coach with the Blackfalds Bulldogs (AJHL).

Rounding out the team staff are Mike Kraichy, Director of Operations (Red Deer), Bobby Fox, Head Scout (Calgary), Barry Medori, Coach Mentor (Spruce Grove), Paige Shannon, Athletic Therapist (Calgary) and Dave Campbell, Equipment Manager (Grande Prairie).

Position Name Hometown
Director of Operations Mike Kraichy Red Deer
Coach Mentor Barry Medori Spruce Grove
Head Scout Bobby Fox Calgary
Head Coach James Poole Calgary
Assistant Coach Derrick Martin Edmonton
Assistant Coach Duncan Milroy Edmonton
Video Coach Brady Bakke Red Deer
Goaltender Coach Derek Purfield Calgary
Equipment Manager Dave Campbell Grande Prairie
Athletic Therapist Paige Shannon Calgary

Team Alberta

Alberta Challenge: Day 4 Recap

RED DEER – South Green are the 2023 Alberta Challenge Champions.

The championship final saw a true battle of Alberta, with North Yellow taking on South Green. South Green broke the silence with the games only goal halfway into the second period when Kat Nakama fired it from the slot. North Yellow looked to capitalize and pulled their goalie in the last two minutes after South Green took a penalty but were unable to finish.

The bronze medal match up saw South Black and South White facing off for the second time this weekend. South White came out on top, taking the game 11-1.

North Blue finished fifth overall after defeating North Grey 2-1. Blue gained the lead nine minutes into the game and notched their second nearing the end of the second period. North Grey gained momentum back halfway through the third with their goal but couldn’t capitalize again despite out shooting North Blue 32-20.

The 2023 Spring Showcase continues with the Prospects Cup May 11-14.

Tickets are available online or at the box office and games are livestreamed on HockeyTV.

Standings > | Stats > | Schedule > | Day One Recap > | Day Two Recap > | Day Three Recap > | 2023 Alberta Cup All Stars >

Game #13

North Blue 2– North Grey 1

Player of the Game: North Blue: #16 Sawyer MacKay | South Black: #10 Grace Burden

Boxscore >

Game #14

South White 11 – South Black 1

Players of the Game: South White: #31 Alexis Erhman | South Black: #3 Gracie Dengler

Boxscore >

Game #15

South Green 1 – North Yellow 0

Players of the Game: South Green: #31 Brylee Hull | North Yellow: #2 Jamie Hensch

Boxscore >

Gatorade Alberta Built Performer of the Day –

Ceder Thorburn (South White)

The Alberta Built player of the day is the athlete who best exemplifies the qualities of an "Alberta Built" player. Alberta Built is defined as:

  1. Good person - Know who you are.
  2. Character player - Believe in yourself.
  3. Grit player - Thrive on adversity
  4. Leadership - Treat yourself & people right
  5. Standard of performance - Focused approach on process - ALWAYS COMPETE - EVERY-DAYERS

Team Alberta

2023 Alberta Challenge All-Stars

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the 2023 Alberta Challenge All-Stars:


Hockey Alberta News

#31 Rowan Houweling - North Blue

GP: 3 | MP: 151 | W: 0 | L: 1 | T: 1 | OTL: 0 | SOL: 0 | SO: 0 | SA: 77 | GA: 4 | SVS: 73 | GAA: 1.59 | SV%: 0.948%


Hockey Alberta News

#7 Madison Terry - North Yellow

GP: 5 | G: 0 | A: 1 | Pts: 1 | PIM: 2


Hockey Alberta News

#6 Lily Oster - South Green

GP: 5 | G: 0 | A: 2 | Pts: 2 | PIM: 0


Hockey Alberta News

#15 Tayla Lamabe - North Blue

GP: 5 | G: 3 | A: 2 | Pts: 5 | PIM: 2


Hockey Alberta News

#12 Lila Deis - South Green

GP: 5 | G: 2 | A: 4 | Pts: 6 | PIM: 12


Hockey Alberta News

#14 Evie Hanson - South Black

GP: 5 | G: 3 | A: 2 | Pts: 5 | PIM: 6

Team Alberta

Team Alberta ready for National Aboriginal Hockey Championships

WINNIPEG, MAN. – Team Alberta, competing at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC), has arrived in Winnipeg. The NAHC is an annual tournament for under-18 elite Indigenous male and female youth.

Both male and female teams are set to begin their competition on Monday, May 8 at the Seven Oaks Arena. Playdowns begin on Thursday, with medal matches taking place on Saturday.

Team Alberta Male consists of three goaltenders, eight defence and 13 forwards. Two goaltenders, seven defence and 13 forwards make up Team Alberta Female.

“This year’s NAHC is the first tournament since the Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta partnered with Hockey Alberta,” said Mike Applegate, Hockey Alberta’s Regional Manager - North. “We’re looking forward to delivering an elite level of competition, while celebrating Indigenous sport and culture.”

Athletes were selected to the roster based on a tryout camp in August. To be eligible, athletes are born in 2005-2009 and of Indigenous ancestry.

After a three-year hiatus from the tournament due to COVID-19, Team Alberta Male and Female are vying for their first gold medals. In the tournament’s 20-year history, Team Alberta Male has medaled five times (silver – 2015, 2013, 2012; bronze – 2014 and 2008) while the female team reached the podium in 2008, earning bronze.

Team Alberta, competing at the NAHC, is supported by the North Peace Tribal Council, Ledcor and Kingdom Cats.

Games will be live-streamed on

For more information on Team Alberta and the NAHC, visit or follow on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Watch Live >

Schedule >

Roster >

Team Alberta

Alberta Challenge hitting the ice

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta’s only female under-16 tournament, the Alberta Challenge, is set to take place May 4-7 in Red Deer.

North Yellow and South Black will begin the action on Thursday at 9 A.M. at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Six teams will play off for a spot in the championship game on Sunday at 2 P.M.

Over 120 students from St. Theresa Elementary School will be in attendance on Friday to participate in off-ice activities and spread cheer. The Hockey Alberta Foundation has partnered with local schools to allow students to experience the great game of hockey.

The Alberta Challenge is a modified round-robin tournament where each team is composed of two goaltenders, six defence and 12 forwards. It is the second event of Hockey Alberta’s Spring Showcase, taking place prior to the Prospects Cup (May 11-14) and following the Alberta Cup (April 27-30).

To watch live, ticket packages are available at the Gary W. Harris Centre box office or online. Games are being livestreamed on HockeyTV.

For more information on the Alberta Challenge, visit or follow Hockey Alberta on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Tickets >

Watch Live >

Schedule >

Roster >

50/50 >

About the Alberta Challenge

The Alberta Challenge is a core Hockey Alberta female development program, providing players, coaches, therapists, equipment managers, administrators and referees an equal opportunity to discover the great qualities of competitive hockey. It aids in preparations, evaluation and identification of potential players for Hockey Alberta’s Team Alberta program and is a grassroots program.

Team Alberta

2023 Alberta Cup: Day Four Recap

RED DEER – Alberta Green are the 2023 Alberta Cup Champions.

The championship final featured a battle of the southern region with Alberta Green and Alberta Red facing off. Midway through the third, Owen Folstrom netted the single goal of the game to clinch the trophy. History was made at the buzzer to conclude the tournament as Alberta Green’s, Carter Esler posted an impressive 0.987 save percentage, to break the Alberta Cup record. Alberta Green went undefeated through the tournament.

Earlier in the day, Alberta Grey showcased a nominating performance to claim third place over Alberta Blue.

While Alberta Black found their momentum against Alberta Gold to finish fifth overall. Throughout the weekend, Alberta Black outshot their opponents 209-119, despite finishing with a 1-4 record.

The 2023 Spring Showcase continues with the Alberta Challenge (May 4-7) and the Prospects Cup (11-14).

Tickets are available online or at the box office and games are livestreamed on HockeyTV.

Standings > | Stats > | Schedule > | Day One Recap > | Day Two Recap > | Day Three Recap > | 2023 Alberta Cup All Stars >

Game #13

Alberta Black 9 – Alberta Gold 1

Players of the Game: Alberta Black: #8 Knox Bendera | Alberta Gold: #31 Kai Zurowski

Boxscore >

Game #14

Alberta Grey 9 – Alberta Blue 3

Players of the Game: Alberta Grey: #9 Sawyer Dingman | Alberta Blue: #5 Aaron Sawatzky

Boxscore >

Game #15

Alberta Green 1 – Alberta Red 0

Player of the Game: Alberta Green: #31 Carter Esler| Alberta Red: #1 Ryley Budd

Boxscore >

Gatorade Alberta Built Performer of the Day – Carter Esler (Alberta Green)

The Alberta Built player of the day is the athlete who best exemplifies the qualities of an "Alberta Built" player. Alberta Built is defined as:

  1. Good person - Know who you are.
  2. Character player - Believe in yourself.
  3. Grit player - Thrive on adversity
  4. Leadership - Treat yourself & people right
  5. Standard of performance - Focused approach on process - ALWAYS COMPETE - EVERY-DAYERS

Team Alberta

2023 Alberta Cup All-Stars

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the 2023 Alberta Cup All-Stars:


Hockey Alberta News

#31 Carter Esler - Alberta Green

GP: 3 | MP: 178 | W: 3 | L: 0 | OTL: 0 | SOL: 0 | SO: 2 | SA: 79 | GA: 1 | SVS: 78 | GAA: 0.34 | SV%: 0.987%


Hockey Alberta News

#3 Easton LaPlante - Alberta Green

GP: 5 | G: 1 | A: 0 | Pts: 1 | PIM: 6


Hockey Alberta News

#6 Daxon Rudolph - Alberta Black

GP: 5 | G: 4 | A: 0 | Pts: 4 | PIM: 8


Hockey Alberta News

#11 Riley Boychuk - Alberta Blue

GP: 5 | G: 1 | A: 4 | Pts: 5 | PIM: 0


Hockey Alberta News

#14 Townes Kozicky - Alberta Red

GP: 5 | G: 1 | A: 6 | Pts: 7 | PIM: 0


Hockey Alberta News

#11 Ty Meunier - Alberta Gold

GP: 5 | G: 4 | A: 3 | Pts: 7 | PIM: 6

Top Official

Travis Stewart - Edmonton

Team Alberta

Alberta Cup skating into the weekend

RED DEER – The top 120 under-16 male athletes are taking the ice April 27-30 in Red Deer to play for the Alberta Cup.

The tournament kicks off Thursday with Alberta Green taking on Alberta Blue at 9 A.M., and continues through until the championship game on Sunday at 2 P.M.

Throughout the weekend, six teams will face off in a modified round-robin tournament at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. Each team is comprised of two goaltenders, six defence and 12 forwards.

On Friday, Hockey Alberta will host over 150 students from Fairview Elementary School and Penhold Elementary School. In partnership with the Hockey Alberta Foundation, the school program allows students to experience the game and participate in off-ice activities.

Over the course of three weeks, Hockey Alberta will welcome hundreds of people from across the province to Red Deer for the Spring Showcase. The Alberta Cup launches the annual event, followed by the Alberta Challenge (May 3-7) and Prospects Cup (May 10-13).

To watch live, ticket packages are available at the Gary W. Harris Centre box office or online. Games are being livestreamed on HockeyTV.

Throughout the duration of the tournament a progressive 50/50 is taking place, with the draw planned for Monday, May 1. Tickets can be purchased on-site or online.

For more information on the Alberta Cup, visit or follow Hockey Alberta on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Tickets >

Watch Live >

Schedule >

Rosters >

50/50’s >

­About Alberta Cup

The Alberta Cup aids in the identification and selection of potential players for Hockey Alberta’s Team Alberta program, with hundreds of players annually trying out for 120 spots (20 positions on each of the six regional teams). In addition to player development, the Alberta Cup also features opportunities for administrators, referees, coaches, therapists and equipment managers to be identified for potential positions at higher level events, such as the World U17 Hockey Challenge.

Home Ice Feature

Hockey Alberta: Family helping families

It doesn’t take long to find a family that has been impacted by Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta (RMH). The Hockey Alberta family is no different.

RMH supports families seeking vital medical treatment for their seriously sick or injured child. During some of the most difficult times a family can face, the Houses are there to support with a home-away-from-home.

Grow the Game Coordinator, Cassie Campbell, had family stay in RMH while she was going through a complicated labour and delivery with her second child.

“RMH was an amazing second home for my family,” said Cassie Campbell, Hockey Alberta’s Grow the Game Coordinator. “It meant I could focus on taking care of myself and the baby and not worry about my husband, knowing that he could rest and refuel to be there in a moment’s notice. We are both so grateful for the staff and volunteers at RMH. Our time there was short but the impact of their support is unforgettable.”

RMH is equipped with private family suites, a recreation room with a fitness area and games room and open kitchens.

For some families, their stay can last a few nights, while for others, it can last a few months. Situated close to the hospital, the Houses save families millions of dollars on transportation, meals, laundry, parking and more, each year.

Hockey Alberta’s Member Services Coordinator, Stacey Pattison, grew up hours away from a children’s hospital. So when she was diagnosed with meningococcemia septicemia as at nine years-old, to have her family near meant the world.

“Being from a small town, the local hospital didn’t have the resources, so I was transported to a hospital over an hour away from home,” said Pattison. “I’m very foturnate that my mom was able to stay with me the whole time. She used the RMH and was able to be with me the whole time, she could make medical decisions and never missed a doctors drop-in while I was in the hospital.”

Knowing the severity of the illness now, Pattison is thankful to the RMH for allowing her family to be there and help focus on getting her healthy.

“Now as a parent, I understand how families will always make it work to be there for their children, and the opportunity provided by RMH to assist families to reduce the stress in providing accommodations,” said Pattison. “Home cooked meals provides more than that, it allows parents to be 100 per cent available for their children who so desperately need their parents full care and attention to focus on healing.”

After spending their day at the hospital, the last thing families want to do is cook. That’s why the Hockey Alberta staff have committed to the “Home for Dinner” volunteer program offered by RMH.

Home for Dinner is a program that allows volunteer groups to purchase groceries and come into the house to provide dinner for families.

“Most of the Hockey Alberta staff live in Central Alberta, and I feel it is important to give back to the communities where we live,” said Darcy Smith, Hockey Alberta’s Member Development Coordinator. “The heart of our organization is kids, if we can make some of the tough days easier for these families and by cooking homemade meals, then hopefully we have brighten someone’s day just a little.”

Often, those who are utilizing RMH, are part of the hockey family, and for some members of the staff, the initiative hits close to home.

During National Volunteer Week, it’s important to take the time to acknowledge the volunteers that make hockey great across Alberta. However the hockey community is full of volunteers who make an impact bigger than the game. For the Hockey Alberta staff, volunteering at the RMH is just one way we can support those who support us.

To volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House Charities Alberta, click here.


Sixteen Albertans named to NHL Central Scouting’s Midterm rankings

RED DEER - NHL Central Scouting has released its final rankings for the 2023 NHL draft with 16 Albertans making an appearance.

Two Albertan skaters landed in the top 32 of the North American skater rankings: Nate Danielson and Koehn Ziemmer.

Scott Ratzlaff, Jackson Unger and Cooper Michaluk are the three goaltenders to crack the top North American goaltenders.

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

Midterm Rank Player Position Team League
7 Nate Danielson Forward Brandon Wheat Kings WHL
25 Koehn Ziemmer Forward Prince George Cougars WHL
63 Aiden Fink Forward Brooks Bandits AJHL
107 Justin Kipkie Defence Victoria Royals WHL
115 Kai Uchacz Forward Red Deer Rebels WHL
125 Mazden Leslie Defence Vancouver Giants WHL
132 Saige Weinstein Defence Spokane Chiefs WHL
135 Morgan Brady Defence Spruce Grove Saints AJHL
141 Matteo Fabrizi Defence Red Deer Rebels WHL
195 Ty Daneault Forward Drumheller Dragons AJHL
205 Cole Miller Forward Edmonton Oil Kings WHL
212 Nicholas Wolfenberg Defence Okotoks Oilers AJHL
216 Cade Christenson Defence Sherwood Park Crusaders AJHL
4 Scott Ratzlaff Goaltender Seattle Thunderbirds WHL
19 Jackson Unger Goaltender Moose Jaw Warriors WHL
23 Cooper Michaluk Goaltender Spokane Chiefs WHL

Home Ice Feature

National Volunteer Week: Ben Woodlock

Volunteers are all ages and sizes.

Take, for example, Ben Woodlock.

Ben is a 14-year-old apprentice coach with the Alberta Elite Hockey League’s U15 AAA St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres.

“Ben kind of brought our whole family back into hockey,” said his father, Pat. “When we moved into our neighborhood, there was an ongoing street hockey game. He grew up looking at that and had a hockey stick in his hands in his early years.”

By the age of five, Ben was ready to hit the ice, but his parents were more uncertain.

“Given Ben’s medical history, we weren’t sure if he should or could play,” said Pat. “We talked to his team of medical specialists and they felt that the overall benefit (of playing hockey) outweighed the risk.”

At 14, Ben has already undergone two kidney transplants – first, when he was a year and a half and his second at age 11. For a large part of his life, he in the hospital three or four times a week receiving dialysis and treatments.

While going through treatment, Ben would pass the time on his iPad, watching NHL highlights, studying different plays, researching statistics and doing quizzes about hockey.

“I had watched all the shows so I decided to look up hockey stats and it went from there,” said Ben. “If I’m ever having a bad day, I can rely on hockey.”

The way Ben thinks and understands the game is beyond how most hockey fans see it. But standing at approximately 4’10”, a combination of his size and medical history left Ben uncertain about his playing future. After five years, he said he lost his love for playing the game.

His parents saw Ben still had passion for the game and recommended officiating. Knowing the game, this was an easy transition for Ben, but he still had more to give.

In August, the Sabres head coach, Geoff Giacobbo heard Ben’s story. He didn’t think twice about approaching Ben about whether he would be interested in an apprentice coaching role.

“As a coach, it’s a win-win,” said Giacobbo. “Our team gets a better understanding of how fortunate we are to do what we love every day. They get to see what a difference kindness can make for someone and for Ben, he gets to be a part of a team and the sport he loves.”

Ben’s role with the team looked like any other coach. He participated in team activities, helped at practice, recorded game videos, counted team and individual stats and sometimes he’d just watch to take it all in.

“Ben’s a lot happier overall and this (new role) has given him a lot of confidence,” said Pat. “The whole thing with hockey is that it teaches you life skills. As parents, it’s at the forefront for us that our kids are learning life lessons that go beyond whether you win or lose a particular game. I’ve found that experience has been front and centre with Ben in his new role.”

The ice has barely thawed for this season and Ben is already looking ahead to next year. With a goal of one day getting into scouting, or working as a player agent, he’s using his role to gain the experience to make his dreams come true.

“In May, we have a selection camp that I’ll be part of, it’s pretty exciting because it’s like scouting,” said Ben. “I’ll be more experienced and know the team so I’m already looking forward to what’s coming up.”


Pacific Regional Championships Recap

The Alberta Elite Hockey League’s (AEHL) U18 AAA Calgary (NW) Flames punched their ticket to the Hockey Canada Men’s U18 National Club Championships, while the Alberta Female Hockey League’s (AFHL) U18 AAA Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs hosted the Fraser Valley Rush in the Pacific Regional Championships April 7-8.

AEHL Pacific Regional Championships

The Flames swept the Okanagan Rockets in two games to claim the Pacific Regional Championship.

The series took place in Calgary at the Father David Bauer Arena, and offence was on display for both teams.

In game one, the Rockets scored twice in the third period to send the game to overtime. But it only 23 seconds in the extra frame for Wade Wallace to score the winning goal in the 5-4 victory. Calgary goals in regulation time were scored by Braden Ivey, Brett Wilson, Max Heise, and Aidan Larose.

In game two on Saturday, the Okanagan jumped out to a 4-2 lead after one. But the Flames scored five straight goals in a 15-minute span, and then held on for an 8-6 victory. Calgary was led by Joshua Wiebe with three goals and two assists, while Larose also added a hat-trick. Ivey and Russ Demo had the singles. Wilson had three assists, while Heise and Nolan Kelly had a pair of helpers each.

The Flames will now travel to the Men’s U18 National Club Championship to take on the top five U18 AAA teams from across the country. The tournament runs from April 24-20 in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.

AFHL Pacific Regional Championships

Game one of the best-of-three series took place on Friday. In a back-and-forth game, Red Deer couldn’t find the back of the net as the Rush pulled away with a 3-0 win. Rebecca Noble earned the shutout for Fraser Valley.

Back at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre on Saturday for game two, Red Deer got goals from Nadia Lavoie and Rylee McLeod, but it wasn’t enough as the Rush prevailed 5-2.

The Fraser Valley Rush will compete at the Esso Cup April 23-29 in Prince Albert, Sask.


2023 Provincial Championship recap: Week three

The 2023 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships presented by ATB have come to an end.

Over three weeks, in 23 communities across the province, thirty-four teams were named provincial champions.

2023 Hockey Alberta Provincial Tournaments

The third weekend of provincial tournament action took place April 5-9.

Championship Games

Senior AA – Wainwright Rustlers 6, Siksika Buffaloes 1

Junior B – Wainwright Bisons 3, Carstar Okotoks Bisons 1

U18 Tier 1 (NBC) – Trails West White 2, NWZ 704 1

U17 AAA – Okotoks Oilers 1, Fort Saskatchewan South Fort Chev Rangers 0

2023 Hockey Alberta League Playoffs

The Alberta Junior Hockey League is the last league playing for a title. In the division finals, the Brooks Bandits lead the South in a two-game lead over the Blackfalds Bulldogs. While the Spruce Grove Saints have taken two games against the Bonnyville Pontiacs.

Week one results >

Week two results >


Alberta to host Pacific Regional Championships

The Alberta Female Hockey League and Alberta Elite Hockey League U18 AAA division are set to host Pacific Regional Championships in Red Deer and Calgary April 7-9.

All games are available to stream live on Hockey TV.

Alberta Female Hockey League

The Alberta Female Hockey League’s U18 AAA Red Deer Sutter Fund Chiefs are hosting the Fraser Valley Rush in the Pacific Regional Championships.

In the best-of-three series, games begin at 6 P.M. on Friday.

Schedule >

The winner of the series will go on to represent the Pacific Region at the Esso Cup in Prince Albert, Sask., April 23-29.

Throughout the season, the Chiefs sat in the top three of the league standings. At provincials, they overcame the Calgary Fire in a shoot-out to claim the championship.

Alberta Elite Hockey League

The U18 AAA Calgary (NW) Flames of the Alberta Elite Hockey League are looking to extend their win streak versus Okanagan Rockets.

Games begin on Friday at 6 P.M. at the Father David Bauer Arena.

Schedule >

The winner of the best-of-three series, will represent the Pacific Region at the Men’s U18 National Club Championships April 24-30 in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que.

Calgary finished second in the South Division during regular season play. The team went on to sweep the St. Albert Nektar Raiders in a best-of-five series to win the provincial championship.


2023 Provincial Championship preview: Week three

After three weeks, 23 communities, and 34 events, the final weekend is here for the Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships, presented by ATB.

Action begins today (April 5) with the Junior B provincials in Okotoks, and continues through to Sunday, April 9.

Other championship tournaments this weekend are:

The Alberta Junior Hockey League is down to four teams seeking the provincial championship. Playing in the South Division final are the Brooks Bandits and Blackfalds Bulldogs, while the Bonnyville Pontiacs and Spruce Grove Saints will go head-to-head in the North Division.

For more information on Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships, presented by ATB, and to see the schedules of each division, visit

Provincial Championship Merchandise

This year, Hockey Alberta is offering 2023 Provincial Championship merchandise. There are a number of items to choose from and “Champions 2023” can be added to any merchandise purchased after a provincials tournament. Any questions regarding merchandise can be directed to [email protected].

Shop Here >

Team Alberta

Alberta Cup Rosters Announced

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta has named the 120 athletes who will represent their regions at the 2023 Alberta Cup.

Two teams from each of the North, Central and South regions will face-off against each other in a modified round-robin tournament taking place in Red Deer at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, April 27-30. Each of the six teams is comprised of two goaltenders, six defence and 12 forwards.

Rosters >

Athletes gathered at three Regional Camps over the weekend of March 31-April 2 in Calgary, Red Deer and Spruce Grove. Male players born in 2008 who participated in a Hockey Canada sanctioned program this season were eligible to try out.

“Year after year we see talented kids from across the province try out, and this was no exception,” said Mike Kraichy, Hockey Alberta’s Manager of Elite Male Hockey. “This is the next step in the Team Alberta program, but my focus is on player development and that they use this opportunity to reach their next level as hockey players and people.”

The Alberta Cup provides players and staff with an opportunity to experience elite level play in a short-term competition. Players participating in the tournament, will be evaluated to represent Team Alberta at the WHL Cup in October.

Hockey Alberta’s Spring Showcase fuelled by Gatorade will begin with the Alberta Cup. The Alberta Challenge (May 3-7) and the Prospects Cup (May 10-13) will also be played in Red Deer.

Partnership opportunities are available for the 2023 Spring Showcase and can be found in the document below:

2023 Spring Showcase Partnership Opportunities >

The Alberta Cup aids in the identification and selection of potential players for Hockey Alberta’s Team Alberta program, with hundreds of players annually trying out for 120 spots (20 positions on each of the six regional teams). In addition to player development, the Alberta Cup also features opportunities for administrators, referees, coaches, therapists, and equipment managers to be identified for potential positions at higher level events, such as the World U17 Hockey Challenge.

Team Alberta

2023 Team Alberta coach applications now open

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta is now accepting coach applications for the 2023 Team Alberta programs.

Team Alberta U18 Female is looking for one Head Coach, two Assistant Coaches, one Video Coach and on Goaltender Coach to guide the team at the 2023 National Women’s Under-18 Championship. The event will take place November 7-11.

U18 Female Coach Application >

Team Alberta U16 Male is seeking two Assistant Coaches and one Video Coach for the 2023 WHL Cup. The WHL Cup is slated for October 17-22, in Red Deer.

U16 Male Coach Application >

Applicants must:

- Be fully qualified at the NCCP High Performance 1;

- Be in good standing with Hockey Alberta and/or member Branch;

- Have a strong knowledge base and understanding of systems and strategies.

Team Alberta Female inquiries can be directed to Kendall Newell, Manager, Female Hockey at [email protected]. Team Alberta Male inquiries can be directed to Mike Kraichy, Manager, Elite Male Hockey at [email protected].

Team Alberta U16 Male to be lead by James Poole

James Poole will lead the 2023 Team Alberta U16 Male team as the head coach at the WHL Cup.

“I’m very excited and humbled at the the opportunity to lead Team Alberta at the 2023 WHL Cup,” said Poole. “It’s an honour to be a member of the Team Alberta program and I embrace the challenge ahead working towards October 2023 in Red Deer.”

Poole spent the 2022 cycle with Team Alberta as an Assistant Coach with the Canada Winter Games Team. In 2021, he served as a Video Coach at the WHL Cup.

Currently the head coach of the Edge School U18 Male Prep team, Poole capped off his 2023 season with a CSSHL Division Championship.

Poole’s experience includes a stint in the Alberta Junior Hockey League as the head coach and general manager of both the Okotoks Oilers and Calgary Canucks.

In 2008 and 2009, Poole coached the Calgary Buffaloes to back-to-back Alberta Midget Hockey League (now the Alberta Elite Hockey League U18 AAA division) championships.

Poole’s past Team Alberta program experience includes coaching in the Alberta Cup.