Home Ice Feature

Photo credit: LA Media


Edmonton’s Guenther goes first overall at 2018 WHL Bantam Draft | Full list of Albertans selected

For the fourth straight year, an Albertan was the top selection at the Western Hockey League Bantam Draft as the Edmonton Oil Kings took Dylan Guenther with the first overall pick. The Edmonton native is coming off a strong performance at the 2018 Alberta Cup, where he was named to the Alberta Cup All-Star team.

A total of eleven Albertans were taken in the first round of the WHL Bantam Draft, including fellow Alberta Cup All-Stars Kai Uchacz and Keagan Slaney, who were selected 10th overall and 20th overall by the Seattle Thunderbirds and Edmonton Oil Kings, respectively.

Seven forwards from Alberta went in the first 10 picks of the draft, and St. Albert’s Marc Lajoie was the first Albertan defenceman selected, going 14th overall to the Tri-City Americans.

A total of 70 Albertans were selected this year: 40 forwards, 22 defence and eight goaltenders.

Pick Player Team Position Hometown

FIRST ROUND

1st Dylan Guenther Edmonton Oil Kings Forward Edmonton
4th Sean Tschigerl Calgary Hitmen Forward Whitecourt
6th Colton Dach Saskatoon Blades Forward Fort Saskatchewan
7th Jayden Grubbe Red Deer Rebels Forward Calgary
8th Zack Stringer Lethbridge Hurricanes Forward Lethbridge
9th Craig Armstrong Prince George Cougars Forward Airdrie
10th Kai Uchacz Seattle Thunderbirds Forward De Winton
12th Zack Ostapchuk Vancouver Giants Forward St. Albert
14th Marc Lajoie Tri-City Americans Defence St. Albert
16th Kyle Masters Red Deer Rebels Defence Edmonton
20th Keagan Slaney Edmonton Oil Kings Defence Airdrie

SECOND ROUND

24th Brett Hyland Brandon Wheat Kings Forward Edmonton
28th Trey Patterson Red Deer Rebels Defence Calgary
31st Tyson Laventure Prince Albert Raiders Forward Lloydminster
32nd Lucas Ciona Seattle Thunderbirds Forward Edmonton
36th Tristan Zandee Calgary Hitmen Forward Airdrie
37th Dylan James Brandon Wheat Kings Forward Calgary
38th Dru Krebs Medicine Hat Tigers Defence Okotoks
39th Owen Macneil Spokane Chiefs Forward Calgary
42nd Olen Zellweger Everett Silvertips Defence Fort Saskatchewan
44th Blake Eastman Price George Cougars Forward Ardrossan

THIRD ROUND

45th Matt Smith Edmonton Oil Kings Defence Edmonton
46th Drew Sim Vancouver Giants Goaltender Tees
47th Mark Pocherewny Calgary Hitmen Goaltender Calgary
50th Josh Medernach Red Deer Rebels Forward Lloydminster
53rd Dean Spak Prince Albert Raiders Forward Calgary
57th Lochlan Gordon Portland Winterhawks Goaltender Edmonton
58th Carson Haynes Tri-City Americans Defence Taber
60th Ty Mueller Prince George Cougars Forward Cochrane
66th Jayden Davis Medicine Hat Tigers Forward Calgary

FOURTH ROUND

70th Charlie Wright Saskatoon Blades Defence Olds
71st James Gibson Calgary Hitmen Forward Edmonton
75th Devin Aubin Spokane Chiefs Defence Falher
79th Josh Hoekstra Moose Jaw Warriors Forward Edmonton
80th Tyson Greenway Tri-City Americans Forward St. Albert
81st Jake Snashall Regina Pats Forward Calgary

FIFTH ROUND

91st Sam Popwich Seattle Thunderbirds Forward Camrose
92nd Colby Knight Edmonton Oil Kings Goaltender Red Deer
97th Brett Moravec Prince Albert Raiders Forward Airdrie
99th Rhett Parsons Medicine Hat Tigers Defence Cremona
100th Corson Ceulemans Moose Jaw Warriors Defence Beaumont
108th Jaxon Dube Brandon Wheat Kings Forward St. Albert
109th Jonah Bevinton Portland Winterhawks Forward Edmonton
110th Nathan Airey Kootenay Ice Goaltender Cochrane

SIXTH ROUND

112th Kent Anderson Prince George Cougars Defence Calgary
113th Jacob Romanchuk Calgary Hitmen Defence Fort McMurray
120th Dylan Lacroix Red Deer Rebels Goaltender Calgary
122nd Wyatt Cook Vancouver Giants Forward Sherwood Park
127th Ethan Sundar Kootenay Ice Forward St. Albert

SEVENTH ROUND

133rd Jayden Henderson Edmonton Oil Kings Forward Sylvan Lake
134th Alex Walicki Medicine Hat Tigers Forward Calgary

EIGHTH ROUND

157th Parker Berge Regina Pats Defence Edmonton
158th Evan Waldie Kootenay Ice Forward Sherwood Park
161st Bosten Lajeunesse Lethbridge Hurricanes Defence Red Deer
162nd Jayden Watson Saskatoon Blades Forward Grande Prairie
164th Reid Schaefer Seattle Thunderbirds Forward Spruce Grove
173rd Brody Tallman Portland Winterhawks Defence Lethbridge

NINTH ROUND

177th Kade Turner Saskatoon Blades Defence Calgary
185th Myles Hilman Prince Albert Raiders Forward Blackfalds
188th Shea Dougan Swift Current Broncos Defence Vermilion
189th Graeme Hampton Victoria Royals Defence Sturgeon County
193rd Zachery Burns Spokane Chiefs Forward Eckville
197th Caleb Wyrostok Swift Current Broncos Forward Medicine Hat

TENTH ROUND

202nd Colby Ball Kootenay Ice Defence Sherwood Park
208th Cole Larocque Tri-City Americans Forward Lethbridge
211th Tyler Palmer Spokane Chiefs Goaltender Lethbridge
212th Ashton McNelly Swift Current Broncos Forward Westlock
215th Cameron Emigh Swift Current Broncos Defence Bonnyville

ELEVENTH ROUND

218th Brett Huxley Victoria Royals Forward Calgary
222nd Ashton Billesberger Swift Current Broncos Goaltender Edmonton

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Photo credit: Kyle Clapham


Respect in Sport recertification information

Hockey Alberta has identified a need to better serve and support the parents, family members and coaches of our participants through the creation of a Parent Engagement Strategy for the 2018-19 season.

As part the Parent Engagement Strategy, effective May 1, 2018 for the 2018-19 season, Hockey Alberta now requires Parents and Coaches/Team Officials to recertify their Respect in Sport every four seasons. This requirement was originally announced in Spring 2017. Those parents, coaches and team officials who are required to recertify should have received an email notification with instructions on how to proceed.

To help with the recertification process, an RIS FAQ has been compiled and can be found on the Hockey Alberta website. If you need help accessing your account, you MUST contact the Respect Group Helpdesk by phone: 1-866-945-9906 or Email rgihelp@respectgroupinc.com

Respect In Sport > | Respect In Sport FAQ >

The Respect in Sport program is an online certification program designed to protect our youth as well as enhance Hockey Alberta’s mandate of providing a safe and fun environment for all of our participants. Respect in Sport is Canada’s leading online bullying, abuse, harassment, and negligence prevention program for parents, coaches, and community leaders.

Hockey Alberta’s decision to require Respect in Sport recertification was made after consultation with various stakeholders involved in the sport, and the review of several reports.

A report submitted by the Hockey Alberta’s Risk and Player Safety Committee made multiple recommendations including the recertification of Respect in Sport for both the Parent and Coach/ Team Official programs and no longer recognizing Speak Out as a relevant program for Coaches. As well, studies conducted by Mount Royal University and the University of Toronto found that efforts should be made to increase the number of adults who complete Respect in Sport, and that following completion of the program, a vast majority of parents became more child-centred.

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George Hughes: 1924-2018

RED DEER - George Hughes, a Life Member of Hockey Alberta, died on Tuesday, June 5 at the age of 93.

George had a long history of involvement in and service to the sport hockey - as a player, coach, manager, referee, executive and builder starting in 1938. George’s playing career included being a member of the University of Alberta hockey team, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950.

Professionally, George’s involvement in hockey continued in the 1970s when, as a City of Edmonton Commissioner, he was instrumental in building eight new arenas in 1973 and in the development of Northlands Coliseum in 1974. He later joined Edmonton Northlands as general manager, overseeing the Coliseum, Agricom and Trade Centre.

In 1981, George arranged a $140,000 donation by Edmonton Northlands to Hockey Alberta as part of the Canada Cup Series, enabling Hockey Alberta to start a scholarship program and acquire a permanent office. The donation also served as core funding for a Hockey Foundation.

Amongst more than 40 recognition awards, George was inducted into the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame in 1978, awarded a Hockey Alberta Life Membership in 1983, and inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. In 2002, he was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Distinguished Contributions to Canada. In 2008 the City of Edmonton honoured George by naming the George S. Hughes South Side Arena after him.

A celebration of the life of George Hughes will be held on Friday, June 15, 1 p.m., at Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home – Edmonton South, 4820 Meridian Street, Edmonton). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Sport Central, of which George was a founding member.

Edmonton Journal Notice – George Hughes >

News

Team Alberta U18 Female Summer Camp invites announced

RED DEER - Forty-six female hockey players are now one step closer to skating for Team Alberta at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.

Hockey Alberta has extended invitations to 46 athletes born in 2001-2003 to compete at Team Alberta’s U18 Female Summer Development Camp, which runs July 10-15 in Camrose. The list includes six goalies, 16 defense, and 24 forwards.

Team Alberta U18 Female Summer Camp Invites >

"We’re excited for these 46 athletes to take the next step on the Road to Red Deer," said Kendall Newell, Hockey Alberta’s Manager of Female Hockey. "This is a very talented group of individuals, and we look forward to seeing what they bring to Summer Camp in Camrose."

The 46 athletes were selected from 88 who attended the spring selection camp in Spruce Grove, which included fitness testing, mental skills preparations, on and off- ice skills sessions, and several games.

From the camp in Camrose, a shortlist will be established, with those players invited to another selection camp in the fall. Team Alberta will compete at the 2019 Canada Winter Games February 15 - March 3 in Red Deer.

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Registration now open for 2018-19 First Shift programs

Do you have a child aged 6-10 that is ready to fall in love with hockey? Registration is now open for the 2018-19 Canadian Tire First Shift program.

The First Shift is a truly unique experience designed to help your child fall in love with hockey before you buy all the gear. The six-week learn to play program focuses on having fun while learning basic skills. Registration is just $199, which includes full head-to-toe equipment.

The First Shift will be offered in 12 locations throughout Alberta in the fall, and three in the winter:

Fall Programs:

  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Grande Prairie
  • Lamont
  • Leduc
  • Lethbridge
  • Onoway
  • Peace River
  • Red Deer*
  • Rocky Mountain House
  • Strathcona
  • Westlock

Winter Programs:

  • Airdrie
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton

*The First Shift Program in Red Deer will be hosted by Hockey Alberta.

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

The First Shift’s mission is to change the way hockey is offered, to inspire new families to join our community and enroll their kids in our sport. Because we believe in all that hockey has to offer kids, their families and our communities, we designed The First Shift to break down barriers to entry by offering a program that is accessible, affordable, and most importantly, fun!

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OEG Launches Summer ICE Jamboree Novice Hockey Event

EDMONTON - Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), in partnership with Hockey Alberta, announced today a new Novice hockey event taking place August 11-12, 2018 at the Downtown Community Arena.

In conjunction with the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and Centre ICE Summit, the Summer ICE Jamboree will bring Novice hockey players from across Alberta together to be immersed in the excitement of international hockey and the thrill of learning and playing alongside new teammates. Players will register individually and be placed on teams which will represent each of the eight nations competing in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup - Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

Summer ICE Jamboree joins other existing Edmonton Oilers hockey programming including Oilers Hockey Institute, Oilers Hockey School, Oilers Hockey Clinic and Lil’ Oilers.

“Oilers Entertainment Group is proud to partner with Hockey Alberta and support the growth of grassroots hockey in our province,” said Oilers Entertainment Group CEO and Vice Chair Bob Nicholson.” Growing the game from the bottom up has a very positive effect on our National teams, including Team Canada which will be competing at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup this summer.”

Participation in the fun-filled weekend will include five half-ice games and a complimentary ticket to the Hlinka Gretzky Cup gold medal game on Saturday, August 11. Registration is open to any players born in 2010 and 2011. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis and the deadline to register is Friday, July 27.

The event will be structured according to Hockey Alberta’s new Intro to Hockey model which focuses on long-term player development by utilizing smaller ice surfaces to enhance skating, passing, shooting and overall touches of the puck.

“Hockey Alberta is excited to partner with OEG and utilize this high-profile event to showcase our Intro to Hockey model. We believe the Jamboree will be an enjoyable experience for players and a great opportunity for Hockey Alberta to continue the education process for parents about Intro to Hockey,” said Rob Litwinski, Chief Executive Officer of Hockey Alberta.

Coaching opportunities will also be available at the Summer ICE Jamboree. Interested coaches can apply at SummerIceJamboree.com. Hockey Alberta staff will be on-site to provide coaches with support in facilitating the new Intro to Hockey format. There will also be drop-in information sessions for parents and the public to attend to learn more about this new approach to Novice hockey. For more information regarding the Intro to Hockey Model, please visit www.hockeyalberta.ca/players/intro-hockey.

For more information or to register, please visit SummerIceJamboree.com. Please email info@summericejamboree.com with any questions or concerns.

News

Hockey Alberta Awards nomination deadline approaching

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta recognizes the amazing work done by groups and individuals in the game of hockey every year through the Hockey Alberta Awards Program.

But we need your help! All members of the hockey community in Alberta are encouraged to submit a nomination for a deserving individual or association.

The awards program has been restructured this year, and there are six awards open for nominations:

  • Volunteer of the Year: a volunteer who has made an outstanding contribution to amateur hockey during the current season
  • Coach of the Year: a coach who has made an outstanding contribution to amateur hockey during the current season.
  • Player of the Year: a player who has achieved significant achievements, performances and contributions within amateur hockey during the current season.
  • Official of the Year: an official who has made an outstanding contribution to amateur hockey during the current season.
  • Team of the Year: a team that had significant achievements, performances and contributions within amateur hockey during the current season.
  • Order of Merit: recognizing exceptional leadership and distinguished service to amateur hockey in Alberta for ten (10) years or more. Awards may be presented in the categories of Administration, Coaching/ Development, and Officiating.

For more details on each category, check out:

Awards Nomination & Information Package >

The deadline to nominate a group or individual for a Hockey Alberta Award is May 31.

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Photo credit: Dennis Pajot/Hockey Canada Images


Team Alberta U18 Spring Camp kicks off in Spruce Grove

SPRUCE GROVE - Another step on the Road to Red Deer is underway as the 2018 Team Alberta U18 Female Spring Selection Camp kicks off in Spruce Grove.

Eighty-eight of the top 2001, 2002 and 2003-born female hockey players in Alberta will take to the ice this weekend as part the next step in the selection process for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Players are invited to the camp based on previous Team Alberta programs, as well as scouting of players through their Midget club teams. The camp is a four-day test of fitness, skill and mental preparedness.

The 2018 Spring Selection Camp runs through to Sunday at the Tri-Leisure Centre in Spruce Grove.

Spring Camp Rosters > | Schedule >

From the Spring Selection Camp, 46 athletes are invited to attend the week-long Team Alberta Program U18 Provincial Summer Selection Camp in July. Players participate in high intensity on and off-ice training as well as classroom sessions and fitness testing.

The 2018 Summer Selection Camp will be held July 10-15 in Camrose.

After the provincial camp, a shortlist of players are identified to continue through a fall training camp and scouting process. The fall camp will include on and off-ice sessions, and some exhibition games. From there, the Team Alberta coaching staff announce the final 20-player roster.

The 2019 Canada Winter Games are set for February 15 - March 3 in Red Deer.

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Photo credit: Two Point Photography and Design


Nearly 50 AFHL graduates commit to Post-Secondary schools

RED DEER - Close to 50 graduating Midget players from the Alberta Female Hockey League will be suiting up for post-secondary teams this fall.

In the AFHL’s second season, the number of graduating players has nearly doubled, after more than 20 graduating players were committed to post-secondary heading into the 2017-18 season.

The Alberta Female Hockey League is please to announce the following commitments for the 2018-19 season:

AFHL Program Name Post-Secondary Team
Calgary Fire Red Elite Karys Woodward SAIT
Calgary AAA Katie Crowther University of Regina
Calgary AAA Brooke Dennett University of Calgary
Calgary AAA Mary Hirsch Red Deer College
Calgary AAA Nicole Johnson Finlandia University Not finalized)
Calgary AAA Emily Johnston St. Francis Xavier University (Tryout)
Calgary AAA Kalaina Kozak University of Alberta (Tryout)
Calgary AAA Mackenzie Lausberg University of Lethbridge
Calgary AAA Holly Techlenburg Mount Royal University
Edmonton AAA Bronwyn Bjarnason Minot State
Edmonton AAA Alexis Bruce Olds College
Edmonton AAA Bree Edwards Olds College
Edmonton AAA Clarissa Lewis Minot State
Edmonton AAA Rebecca Roszell NAIT
Lloydminster AAA Chelsea Debusschere University of Saskatchewan
Lloydminster AAA Reece Laumbach University of New Brunswick
Lloydminster AAA Alex Thomson Grant MacEwan University
Lloydminster AAA Jaydon Thorpe Mount Royal University
PCFAC Storm Elite Shauna Johnson Olds College
Red Deer AAA Shae Demale Saint Mary’s University
Red Deer AAA Paige Grenier University of New Brunswick
Red Deer AAA Jenna Himer University of New Brunswick
Red Deer AAA Hannah MacDonald St. Francis Xavier University
Red Deer AAA Cassidy Maplethorpe Brock University
Red Deer AAA Kaley Mueller SAIT
Red Deer AAA Brandy Steinman NAIT
Red Deer AAA Emma Thomas St. Francis Xavier University
Red Deer AAA Alayna Wagstaff University of New Brunswick
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Emma Borbandy University of New Brunswick
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Kennedy Brown University of Saskatchewan
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Meagan Dyer University of Lethbridge
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA NIcole Fry University of Saskatchewan
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Stephanie Gross University of Lethbridge
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Laura Jardin McGill University
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Kara Kondrat University of Saskatchewan
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Mary MacDonald Saint Mary’s University
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Isabella Pozzi University of Saskatchewan
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Chloe Puddifant Dartmouth College
Rocky Mountain Raiders AAA Breanne Trotter Mount Royal University
Sherwood Park Elite Katrina Robinson Adrian College
Sherwood Park Elite Rayel Strayer Lindenwood University
St. Albert AAA Mackenzie Butz Mount Royal University
St. Albert AAA Jayme Doyle Grant MacEwan University
St. Albert AAA Camryn Drever University of Saskatchewan
St. Albert AAA Mckenzie Hewett University of Minnesota Duluth
St. Albert AAA Caleigh Meraw Saint Mary’s University
St. Albert AAA Tyra Meropoulis St. Francis Xavier University

News

Team Alberta U16 Male Summer Camp invites announced

RED DEER - Eighty male athletes from across Alberta have been invited to take the next step on the Road to Red Deer.

Invitations have been extended to the players to attend the Team Alberta U16 Male Summer Camp July 3-8 in Camrose, which is the next step in the selection process for the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.

U16 Male Summer Camp Invites >

"Our team staff did a fantastic job identifying the 80 players who will move on," said Mike Kraichy, Manager of Team Alberta. "It’s never an easy task, considering the depth of talent we have in Alberta, but we’re confident we have the right mix of players as we move along the Road to Red Deer."

The male list includes eight goalies, 24 defence, and 48 forwards. The selection process is based on the Team Alberta scouting process throughout the 2017-18 season, as well as the 2018 Alberta Cup in Spruce Grove in April. From the camp in Camrose, a shortlist will be established, with those players scouted with their club teams until the 20 players who will comprise the roster for Team Alberta are named.

News

Viking Projects named 2019 Allan Cup title sponsor

RED DEER – The Lacombe Generals have announced Viking Projects as title sponsor for the 2019 Allan Cup.

In January, Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada announced Lacombe as the host site for the annual Senior AAA national championship.

“We think it’s a great marriage, we are so excited to move forward from here to work towards giving the best Allan Cup we’ve ever seen,” said Steve Christie, Host Committee Chair.

Viking Projects is a pipeline, facility, fabrication, and construction company based in Alberta and Saskatchewan, with a main branch in Lacombe.

“We are looking forward to coming on board with the Generals and the Allan Cup, and really trying to drive our community and showcase to Canada how passionate we are about this community, and about the organizations within,” said Rob Wilson, Partner of Viking Projects Ltd. “For us it was an easy decision, and we look forward to getting behind it.”

The Generals previously hosted the Allan Cup in Red Deer in 2013, defeating the Clarenville Caribous in the final.

“The Allan Cup is history. Lacombe is known for its history as well, and we want to showcase the history of hockey,” said Jeff McInnis, General Manager of the Generals.

The event will be hosted at the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex, April 8 -13, 2019. Six teams will participate in the round-robin, pool-play event, followed by sudden-death playoffs.

Home Ice Feature

Photo credit: LA Media


Giving back to the game

Few coaches carry the pedigree of 2017 Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Perry Pearn, and he brought that knowledge with him as a Coach Mentor at the 2018 Alberta Cup.

Fresh off a silver medal with the National Women’s Team at the 2018 Olympics, the former NHL coach volunteered his time to serve as a Coach Mentor for Edmonton Yellow, helping Edmonton reach the championship final.

Pearn and Edmonton Yellow Head Coach Alex Mandolidis took the time to share their experience at the Alberta Cup:

For more scores, stats and stories from the 2018 Alberta Cup, click here.


Hockey Alberta is proud to unveil a new section at hockeyalberta.ca. Home Ice Feature stories will focus on interesting stories about the individuals and groups who make a difference within the hockey community in Alberta. If you have a suggestion for a Home Ice Feature story, email info@hockeyalberta.ca.

News

Calling all volunteers!

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is now accepting applications for key volunteer positions across a number of committees for the 2018-19 hockey season.

Volunteers are the faces of Hockey Alberta within their communities, positively representing themselves and the organization in regular encounters on a daily basis with participants in our sport.

Each year, hundreds of volunteers play integral roles in ensuring that Hockey Alberta is able to deliver high quality and efficient programming and services to the more than 90,000 participants across the province. Responsibilities range from day-to-day involvement in administration and discipline decisions for minor hockey, to coaching, instructing and mentoring, to working as a trainer or equipment manager in the Team Alberta program.

Currently, applications are being sought from interested individuals for Chair positions on each of 11 Committees, Zone Coordinator positions on five Committees, and MHA Ambassadors.

VOLUNTEER APPLICATION FORM >

Volunteering with Hockey Alberta also offers the following opportunities:

  • To stay involved in the game that you love
  • To engage the community to improve the game of hockey in Alberta
  • To develop interpersonal skills that go beyond the game

More information can be found on the volunteer page of Hockey Alberta’s website.

News

Photo credit: LA Media


Central wins the 2018 Alberta Cup

SPRUCE GROVE - Team Central is skating away from Spruce Grove as 2018 Alberta Cup champions.

Drew Sim stopped 25 shots to earn his second-straight shutout, leading Central to a 2-0 win over Edmonton Yellow to avenge an 8-3 loss during round-robin play.

Brett Moravec and Myles Hilman scored for Central, while Charlie Wright added two assists.

Calgary South claimed bronze with a 2-1 overtime win over Edmonton Blue in the B Final. Earlier in the day, South defeated Calgary North 9-3 in the C Final, while Northwest scored with less than a minute left in overtime to beat Northeast 3-2 in the D Final.

Standings > | Leaders > | Schedule > | Day One Recap > | Day Two Recap > | Day Three Recap >


A Final

Central 2 - Edmonton Yellow 0

Players of the Game: Central - #31 Drew Sim | Edmonton Yellow - #5 Kyle Masters

Boxscore >


B Final

Calgary South 2 - Edmonton Blue 1 (OT)

Players of the Game: Calgary South - #10 Dylan James | Edmonton Blue - #9 Colton Dach

Boxscore >


C Final

South 9 - Calgary North 3

Players of the Game: South - #2 Carson Haynes | Calgary North - #2 Kent Anderson

Boxscore >


D Final

Northwest 3 - Northeast 2 (OT)

Players of the Game: Northwest - #3 Graeme Hampton | Northeast - #1 Ashton Billesberger

Boxscore >



Alberta Built Player of the Day

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

News

From left: Keagan Slaney, Corson Ceulemans, Lochlan Gordon, Blake Eastman, Dylan Guenther and Kai Uchacz. (Photo credit: LA Media)


2018 Alberta Cup All-Stars announced

SPRUCE GROVE - Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the 2018 Alberta Cup All-Stars, and the 2018 All-Star Official.

The tournament All-Stars and All-Star Official were announced Saturday night at the Alberta Cup banquet at Heritage Park in Spruce Grove. All-Stars were voted on by Alberta Cup team staff.

Goaltender

#1 Lochlan Gordon - Edmonton Yellow

GP: 2 | MP: 120 | W: 2 | L: 0 | OTL: 0 | T: 0 | SO: 1 | SA: 64 | GA: 4 | SVS: 60 | GAA: 2.00 | SV%: .940


Defence

#3 Corson Ceulemans - Northeast

GP: 4 | G: 3 | A: 2 | Pts: 5 | PIM: 4


Defence

#6 Keagan Slaney - Central

GP: 4 | G: 0 | A: 5 | Pts: 5 | PIM:2


Forward

#12 Blake Eastman - Edmonton Yellow

GP: 4 | G: 6 | A: 3 | Pts: 9 | PIM: 0


Forward

#14 Dylan Guenther - Edmonton Blue

GP: 4 | G: 6 | A: 6 | Pts: 12 | PIM: 8


Forward

#19 Kai Uchacz - South

GP: 4 | G: 7 | A: 3 | Pts: 10 | PIM: 6


All-Star Official

Brody McGrath - North Zone

News

Slash repeat as champions at 2018 Esso Cup

BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – The St. Albert Slash became the first team in Esso Cup history to repeat as back-to-back champions, defeating the Saskatoon Stars 2-1 to win gold at Canada’s National Female Midget Championship.

“It was pretty amazing, nothing can beat it,” St. Albert Slash captain Tyra Meropoulis, of Edson, said of her feelings after the game. “Winning two in a row is unbelievable. It is such an amazing feeling.”

After suffering a 4-1 loss to the Stars in the preliminary round, the Slash rebounded in the championship game by opening the scoring with just under three minutes remaining in the first period. Late-period goals were the key to the team’s success, as St. Albert took a 2-0 lead with less than one minute remaining in the second period. The Stars cut the deficit in half 47 seconds into the third period, but could not find the back of net as time expired.

“[St. Albert] did a great job. An absolutely great job,” said Greg Slobodzian, head coach of the Saskatoon Stars. “We haven’t been pressured like that in a long time. Our girls didn’t know how to handle it at the beginning, but I thought we answered really well in the third period. It could have went either way."

Meropoulis led the Slash with one goal and one assist in the final, while veteran Madison Willan of Edmonton recorded the game-winning goal in the second period. Jayme Doyle of Calahoo also registered one assist in the game.

Goaltender Camryn Drever of Edmonton made 14 saves on her way to securing the win, while Mackenzie Butz of Sherwood Park earned player of the game honours for St. Albert.

News

Photo credit: LA Media


2018 Alberta Cup: Day Three recap

SPRUCE GROVE - The final match-ups are set, and Edmonton Yellow and Central will go head-to-head in the 2018 Alberta Cup final on Sunday.

Central defeated Calgary South 8-0, and Edmonton Yellow beat Edmonton 6-4. Calgary South and Edmonton Blue will play in the B Final.

Earlier in the day, Calgary North and South secured spots in the C Final, while Northeast and Northwest will square off in the D Final.

Standings > | Leaders > | Schedule > | Day One Recap > | Day Two Recap >


Game #13 - C/D Semi-Final 1

Calgary North 7 - Northeast 6 (OT)

Players of the Game: Calgary North - #20 Dean Spak | Northeast - #9 Ryan Chambers

Boxscore >


Game #14 - C/D Semi-Final 2

Northeast 7 - Edmonton Blue 1

Players of the Game: Northeast - #18 Joshua Parker | Edmonton Blue - #3 Joe Hawkins

Boxscore >


Game #15 - A/B Semi-Final 1

South 4 - Northwest 2

Players of the Game: South - #31 Tyler Palmer | Northwest - #5 Marc Lajoie

Boxscore >


Game #16 - A/B Semi-Final 2

Edmonton Yellow 5 - Edmonton Blue 2

Players of the Game: Edmonton Yellow - #10 Dustyn Chetek | Edmonton Blue - #17 Ashton McNelly

Boxscore >



Alberta Built Player of the Day

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

Home Ice Feature

Brotherly Love

SPRUCE GROVE - With both of their brothers taking part in the 2018 Alberta Cup, former Team Alberta forwards Peyton Krebs and Kirby Dach took in the action in Spruce Grove, and reflected on their time at the 2016 Alberta Cup, and their journey through the Team Alberta program.

Krebs’ younger brother, Dru, plays for Team South, while Dach’s younger brother, Colton, players for Edmonton Blue.

Krebs suited up for Team South at the 2016 Alberta Cup, while Dach played for Edmonton Yellow. Both players were chosen in the WHL Draft the following week, Krebs first overall by the Kootenay Ice, and Dach second overall by the Saskatoon Blades. Krebs and Dach also played together for Team Alberta that year, winning the 2016 WHL Cup.

For more scores, stats and stories from the 2018 Alberta Cup, click here.


Hockey Alberta is proud to unveil a new section at hockeyalberta.ca. Home Ice Feature stories will focus on interesting stories about the individuals and groups who make a difference within the hockey community in Alberta. If you have a suggestion for a Home Ice Feature story, email info@hockeyalberta.ca.

News

Photo credit: LA Media


2018 Alberta Cup: Day Two recap

SPRUCE GROVE - After another busy day of hockey at the 2018 Alberta Cup, round-robin play wrapped-up, and the standings are now set heading into Saturday.

After going undefeated (3-0-0) through round-robin play, Edmonton Yellow locked up first in Pool A. Central claimed the other semi-final spot, finishing 2-1, while Calgary North and Northwest finished third and fourth, respectively.

With a win and a loss on Friday, Calgary South finished at the top of Pool B. Edmonton Blue and South tied their final round-robin game to each finish 1-1-1, but Edmonton Blue clinched second place in Pool B by virtue of a tie-breaker, with Northeast coming in fourth.

Saturday kicks off with Northeast and Calgary North playing in the first C/D Semi-Final at 9:00 a.m., and Northwest and South in the other at 9:30 a.m. Calgary South and Central battle in Semi-Final One at 11:45 a.m., and Day Three closes out with the other Semi-Final game between Edmonton Yellow and Edmonton Blue at 2:15 p.m.

Standings > | Leaders > | Schedule > | Day One Recap >


Game #7

South 5 - Northeast 2

Players of the Game: South - #19 Kai Uchacz | Northeast - #14 Tyson Laventure

Boxscore >


Game #8

Calgary South 5 - Edmonton Blue 4

Players of the Game: Calgary South - #6 Trey Patterson | Edmonton Blue - # 9 Colton Dach

Boxscore >


Game #9

Edmonton Yellow 8 - Central 3

Players of the Game: Edmonton Yellow - #12 Blake Eastman | Central - #7 Charlie Wright

Boxscore >


Game #10

Calgary North 4 - Northwest 3

Players of the Game: Calgary North - #1 Dylan Lacroix | Northwest - #18 Ethan Sundar

Boxscore >


Game #11

Edmonton Blue 5 - South 5

Players of the Game: Edmonton Blue - #10 Nicholas Degraves | South - #19 Kai Uchacz

Boxscore >


Game #12

Northeast 3 - Calgary South 0

Players of the Game: Northeast - #5 Austin Lusok | Calgary South - #12 Owen MacNeil

Boxscore >



Alberta Built Player of the Day

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

Home Ice Feature

Photo credit: LA Media


Mic’d up at the 2018 Alberta Cup

SPRUCE GROVE: Step behind the bench at the 2018 Alberta Cup with Edmonton Yellow Head Coach Alex Mandolidis during Edmonton’s final round-robin game against Central.

Edmonton Yellow won the game 8-3 and finished round-robin play 3-0 to clinch first place in Pool A.

For more scores, stats and stories from the 2018 Alberta Cup, click here.


Hockey Alberta is proud to unveil a new section at hockeyalberta.ca. Home Ice Feature stories will focus on interesting stories about the individuals and groups who make a difference within the hockey community in Alberta. If you have a suggestion for a Home Ice Feature story, email info@hockeyalberta.ca.

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Members of Edmonton Yellow and Northwest pay tribute to all those affected by the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. (Photo credit: LA Media)


2018 Alberta Cup: Day One recap

SPRUCE GROVE - After a busy first day of the 2018 Alberta Cup in Spruce Grove, Edmonton Yellow and Central came away with two wins, while Edmonton Blue and Calgary South won their only games of the day.

In Pool A, both Edmonton Yellow and Central defeated Northwest and Calgary North, while Edmonton Blue and Calgary South won their games over Northeast and South, respectively.

Pool B teams will each play a pair of games on day two, while Pool A teams will each play just one. Round-robin play wraps up after day two, with the top two teams in each pool earning a spot in the Alberta Cup semi-finals.

Standings > | Leaders > | Schedule >


Game #1

Edmonton Yellow 8 - Calgary North 4

Players of the Game: Edmonton Yellow - #12 Blake Eastman | Northwest - #20 Dean Spak

Boxscore >


Game #2

Central 6 - Northwest 2

Players of the Game: Central - #8 Craig Armstrong | Northwest - # 16 Codie Saunders

Boxscore >


Game #3

Calgary South 6 - South 3

Players of the Game: Calgary South - #12 Owen MacNeil | South - #4 Dru Krebs

Boxscore >


Game #4

Edmonton Blue 6 - Northeast 2

Players of the Game: Edmonton Blue - #14 Dylan Guenther | Northeast - #3 Corson Ceulemans

Boxscore >


Game #5

Central 9 - Calgary North 2

Players of the Game: Central - #16 Ty Mueller | Calgary North -a #11 Jayden Davis

Boxscore >


Game #6

Edmonton Yellow 3 - Northwest 0

Players of the Game: Edmonton Yellow - #1 Lochlan Gordon | #2 Devin Aubin

Boxscore >



Alberta Built Player of the Day

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

Home Ice Feature

Home Ice Advantage

SPRUCE GROVE - For four members of Team Northwest, the 2018 Alberta Cup presents a rare opportunity.

Spruce Grove natives Evan Forrest, Reid Schaefer and Jack Parker, along with Stony Plain’s Michael Lovsin, are all relishing the chance to play against some of the province’s top players in front of their home town crowd.

For more scores, stats and stories from the 2018 Alberta Cup, click here.


Hockey Alberta is proud to unveil a new section at hockeyalberta.ca. Home Ice Feature stories will focus on interesting stories about the individuals and groups who make a difference within the hockey community in Alberta. If you have a suggestion for a Home Ice Feature story, email info@hockeyalberta.ca.

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Photo credit: City of Spruce Grove


Spruce Grove welcomes the 2018 Alberta Cup

SPRUCE GROVE - Many of the top 2003-born male hockey players from around the province have converged on Spruce Grove this week for the 2018 Alberta Cup.

Eight teams are taking to the ice at the Agrena from Thursday to Sunday: Calgary North, Calgary South, Central, Edmonton Blue, Edmonton Yellow, Northeast, Northwest and South.

The teams will play in a four-day, tournament-format competition. The event also features an education seminar hosted by the Western Hockey League (WHL).

Full tournament results will be displayed on the score ticker at the top of both hockeyalberta.ca and abcup.ca. Schedules, stats and standings can also be found at abcup.ca. You can also follow along with the action on Twitter.

The Alberta Cup is the premier event in the province that helps identify the top male players in Alberta. It is well attended by scouts as they prepare for the Western Hockey League’s bantam draft. In addition to player evaluations, the competition is also an opportunity for administrators, coaches, trainers and referees to be evaluated for future positions with the Team Alberta Program.

Alberta Cup graduates include Matt Dumba, Braden Holtby, Jay Bouwmeester, Dion Phaneuf, Scott Hartnell, Jordan Eberle, Devan Dubnyk, and Andrew Ference.

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Orest Korbutt: 1937-2018

RED DEER - Orest Korbutt, a Life Member of Hockey Alberta, died on Friday, April 20 at the age of 81.

Orest had a long history of volunteer service to amateur hockey in Alberta, across Canada, and around the world. He served as the President of the Alberta Amateur Hockey Association (Hockey Alberta) for six years, from 1980-1986. During his time as President, he established the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame, a Scholarship program, and an Endowment Fund.

At the national level, Orest served six years on the Board of Directors with the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association and was instrumental in establishing the national medical and liability insurance program. Internationally, Orest was actively involved in exchange programs with the Japanese and Chinese Ice Hockey Federations that lasted for more than three decades.

At the local level in Edmonton with the Knights of Columbus association, he was instrumental in the purchase of their twin ice pad and helped oversee operations of the arena complex.

Outside of hockey, Orest was a leader with several organizations. He served as Chair of the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Chair of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum for 15 years, Chair of the task force that created the Alberta Sports Plan, and as a Board member with Sports Central.

Orest’s work and achievements have been recognized over the years, with numerous honours bestowed including: Canadian Amateur Hockey Association Order of Merit and Recognition Award, Alberta Amateur Hockey Association Life Membership, Edmonton Minor Hockey Association Life Membership and Recognition Award, Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame inductee (1988), Edmonton Sport Hall of Fame inductee, City of Edmonton Achievement Award, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame inductee (2013) and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award in 2013.

Hockey Alberta extends its deepest condolences to Orest’s wife of 63 years, Gertrude, and their family: children, Corrine (Fred), Therese, Greg (Stacey), Jackie (Michael); seven grandchildren; and one great grandson.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, April 26 at 2 p.m. at Connelly-McKinley Funeral Home, 10011-114 Street NW, Edmonton, AB. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Orest’s memory to Edmonton Sports Central.

News

St. Albert Slash, Lethbridge Hurricanes in the hunt for National titles

RED DEER - Alberta is well-represented on the National stage this week, as the St. Albert Slash and Lethbridge Midget AAA Hurricanes compete in the Esso Cup and Telus Cup, respectively.

The St. Albert Slash (Midget Female AAA) of the Alberta Female Hockey League are representing the Pacific region at the tournament for the second straight year, and are the reigning Esso Cup champions.

The Slash kick off their tournament Sunday afternoon at 12:30 against the Pionnières de Lanaudière in Bridgewater, N.S.

Schedule > | Stats > | Standings >


The Lethbridge Midget AAA Hurricanes kick off their quest for the Telus Cup Monday at 5:00 p.m. against host Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves .

The Hurricanes earned the right to represent the Pacific Regional after defeating the Fraser Valley Thunderbirds in two straight games earlier this month.

Schedule > | Stats > | Standings >

News

Photo credit: Two Point Photography and Design


AFHL hands out 2017-18 league awards

RED DEER – The Alberta Female Hockey League is pleased to announce the 2017-18 league award and scholarship winners.

Four awards are handed out in each league: Most Valuable Player, Top Goaltender, Top Rookie, and Coach of the Year. One award is also given for the AFHL Administrator of the Year.


Bantam Elite

Most Valuable Player: Jenna Goodwin, Sherwood Park Royals
Top Goaltender: Ali Kieren, Calgary Fire White
Top Rookie: Jayde Cadieux, Lloydminster Jr. Steelers
Coach of the Year: Kath Surbey, Calgary Fire White


Midget Elite

Most Valuable Player: Sydney Benko, Calgary Fire Red
Top Goaltender: Holly Borrett, St. Albert Sharks
Top Rookie: Hayleigh Craig, Lethbridge Cyclones
Coach of the Year: Tom Molloy, Calgary Fire White


Midget AAA

Most Valuable Player: Bella McKee, Lloydminster PWM Steelers
Top Goaltender: Camryn Drever, St. Albert Slash
Top Rookie: Josie McLeod, Rocky Mountain Raiders
Coach of the Year: Paul Pozzi, Rocky Mountain Raiders


Administrator of the Year

AFHL Administrator of the Year: Steve Hughes, Lloydminster Minor Hockey


AFHL Scholarship Winners

The Alberta Female Hockey League annually presents four scholarships; two to graduating players from the AFHL as well as two to young women currently attending post secondary and who are giving back to the game through coaching or officiating. All of these scholarships will be awarded to help off-set the costs of pursuing a post secondary degree at the institution of their choice.

The AFHL received an overwhelming response to the scholarship fund and recipients were chosen from an extremely deep pool of applicants. Finalists were chosen based on their strong academics, positive contribution to their team as well as their involvement with their community.

Offical: Emily Hill, Olds College
Coach: Tricia Van Vaerenberg, University of Lethbridge
Midget Elite: Alexis Pfeffer, North Central Impact
Midget AAA: Mackenzie Butz, St. Albert Slash

Congratulations to all AFHL Award winners and scholarship recipients!

News

Coach of the Month - March

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta’s Coach of the Month for March is Kyle Johnson of Clive.

Kyle is currently the Head Coach of the Clive Initiation Blackhawks.

"This was actually my first year as a head coach," said Kyle. "Helping these kids develop a love for the game of hockey and contributing to their development is something I take very seriously. I had an awesome group of assistant coaches helping and our team did very well this season. It is an amazing gesture to be nominated for this type of award and I am very thankful."

"Kyle is all about the kids! What a great guy to have mentoring our Initiation aged kids," said the parent who nominated Kyle. "He makes a point of connecting with each child before a game or practice, and let’s them know that he’s so happy they’re there and he wishes them a great practice or game. His positivity radiates, and the kids just beam when he’s on the ice with them. He’s wonderful about making practices fun, but also explains to them the importance of the skills that they’re building. Fun is the top priority, but Kyle has worked hard to come up with practice plans that promote skill growth and fun. The kids are being equipped with the skills to move forward in a positive growth mindset, and having fun doing it. After each game Kyle will point out something that each child has done well, and shows the team how to celebrate each other’s successes and how together that adds up to the team having success as a group. Every child gets the same opportunity with Kyle, and he’s so proud of his little group and what they’ve achieved this season."

Hockey Alberta’s Coach of the Month award is sponsored by Howies Hockey Tape.


For more details on Hockey Alberta’s Coach of the Month, or to nominate a coach, click here.

Home Ice Feature

Strong showing for Albertans in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings

RED DEER – Alberta is once again very well-represented heading into the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, as NHL Central Scouting has released its final rankings for North American skaters.

A total of 15 Albertans make an appearance on the list, led by Lloydminster’s Ty Smith (Spokane Chiefs, WHL), who comes in at 14.

Defenders Jacob Bernard-Docker (Okotoks Oilers, AJHL) and Jonathan Tychonick (Penticton Vees, BCHL) also crack the top 50, sitting at 33 and 36, respectively.

The 2018 NHL Entry Draft is set for June 22-23 in Dallas, Texas.

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

North American Skaters

Midterm Rank Player Position Last Amateur Club League
14 Ty Smith Defence Spokane Chiefs WHL
33 Jacob Bernard-Docker Defence Okotoks Oilers AJHL
36 Jonathan Tychonick Defence Penticton Vees BCHL
80 Riley Sutter Right Wing Everett Silvertips WHL
92 Chase Wouters Centre Saskatoon Blades WHL
108 Sean Comrie Defence Spruce Grove Saints AJHL
110 Eric Florchuk Centre Saskatoon Blades WHL
121 Cole Reinhardt Left Wing Brandon Wheat Kings WHL
163 Josh Paterson Right Wing Saskatoon Blades WHL
174 Austin Wong Centre Okotoks Oilers AJHL
178 Kody McDonald Right Wing Prince Albert Raiders WHL
185 Dylan Plouffe Defence Vancouver Giants WHL
188 Jacob Herauf Defence Red Deer Rebels WHL
197 Josh Prokop Centre Vernon Vipers BCHL
208 Ben Sanderson Left Wing Okotoks Oilers AJHL

Hockey Alberta is proud to unveil a new section at hockeyalberta.ca. Home Ice Feature stories will focus on interesting stories about the individuals and groups who make a difference within the hockey community in Alberta. If you have a suggestion for a Home Ice Feature story, email info@hockeyalberta.ca.

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Respect in Sport – Required Recertification

In the spring of 2017, Hockey Alberta announced that – effective for the 2018-19 season – Parents and Coaches/Team Officials would be required to recertify their Respect in Sport every four seasons. The requirement to recertify comes into effect on May 1.

For the 2018-19 season, the requirement to recertify affects Parents and Coaches/Team Officials who completed their Respect in Sport certification prior to the 2015-16 season.

The Respect in Sport Parent Program helps define a standard of behaviour for all parents and create a more rewarding, safe and respectful environment for everyone involved. Parents want to do a great job supporting their kids. Respect in Sport provides parents with the tools to do just that.

The Respect in Sport Activity Leader/Coach Program educates coaches and activity leaders to recognize, understand and respond to issues of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination. It may be the single most important training leaders receive to assist in creating a safe, healthy and respectful environment for all participants. NOTE: Speak Out is no longer recognized as a relevant program for coaches.

For more information on Respect in Sport, and the recertification process: Respect in Sport >

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Photo credit: Rob Wallator - Raw Impressions


BLOG: Community mourns young lives lost

Hockey Alberta’s Regional Consultant, South, Matt Weninger, contributes regularly to the Lethbridge Herald with his "Hockey Talk" column. His most recent piece focuses on the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, and the effect by the entire hockey world, the country, and beyond.


It is in quite a sombre and reflective mood that I write this article. Usually I like to start my column discussing the weather or some programs that Hockey Alberta is running. All of that seems to feel irrelevant this week based on both the tragedy in Humboldt and the news of Brock Hirsche passing away Sunday morning.

It is rather difficult to comprehend what happened in Humboldt and even more challenging to understand the magnitude of this accident. I coached Layne Matechuk at the U16 WHL Cup a few years ago (who remains in a coma at this point), played hockey with assistant coach Mark Cross last year and crossed paths several times with Logan Boulet over the years (both of whom passed away). As well, my neighbour Andrew Thompson was a member of the Broncos last year before a trade took him to Melfort where he finished the season, and saw his season end at the hands of the Broncos no less.

I have rode buses for hundreds of thousands of miles (maybe more but definitely not less) in both my playing and coaching career – blindly placing all of my trust in the bus driver to get us to our destination safely.

Those who have never played junior hockey (or even hockey in general) may not understand the sanctity of the bus. The bus is where we live, watch movies, do homework, play cards, sleep and socialize with our teammates. Where we drive from one location to the next in a travelling box that at its best the TVs work, the Wi-Fi works and is a tolerable place to be. At its worst it smells like the bathroom, is too hot or too cold and most assuredly is uncomfortable.

The reality is that anyone who has played a high level of hockey has more than a few unhappy stories of 16-hour bus rides, of hearing the rumble strips at 2 a.m. and of buses breaking down on the side of the road hours from your destination. We hate the bus, we dread the trips but we tolerate it because we love the game, we strive for the competition and we would do anything for the teammates we ride the bus for (even the ones whose personal hygiene in these confined spaces isn’t ideal and those who can’t hold it until the next time the bus stops).

I have ridden a bus from Canton, N.Y. to Houghton, Michigan, and Flin Flon, Man. to Estevan, Sask., and those are only a few of the horrible trips I can name. I used to bring a big, thick blanket, place it on the floor with a pillow over top and sleep on the floor through the night because that beat having to try and squish on a lumpy seat with the cold window as a pillow. The bus trips were not something to look forward to and the longer the trip and the worse the weather the more dreaded the trip home.

But that is part of the culture of hockey, and it will never change. I am not one to complain about that culture and I don’t want anyone to think I am complaining about the lifestyle. Because I don’t want it to change. Because as bad as those bus trips are, the reward of getting to play the game you love in front of thousands of people who either cheer you or jeer you is the rush that is worth the bus trip. The challenge of winning a game -and to those who don’t understand it, we know it is only a game – is worth the reward of the nine-hour bus ride. And should you lose – that nine-hour bus ride is necessary to cure the mental anguish of the loss.

It’s not about hockey players being a different breed. It’s about the friendships built on a team, the bond built within a group and the bus being the means to meet a challenge and to live a temporary dream that we all know will one day come to an end. The sad part of this story is so many in the hockey world can connect to life on the bus. We all feel so emotionally scarred seeing 16 individuals living the same dream that we can all connect with and seeing so many dreams and lives end in a tragic accident.

I will never forget hearing the news of that bus accident last weekend, and I will also never forget the many bus trips I have taken throughout my life, whether that was home from a loss or home from a win. But this weekend made me appreciate how lucky I was to be able to return home.

I’d also like acknowledge the loss our community feels with the passing of Brock Hirsche. My last column, I aimed to show my respect and gratitude of how incredible a person Brock was. Even when I was writing that column I still believed we’d have many more months of Brock with us, that I would run into Brock many more times. Unfortunately, Brock left us much too soon.

This weekend has hit our community extremely hard. To those we lost last weekend, you will be missed, and the reaction from the rest of the world assures your legacy will live on.

The memorial service for Brock will be on Friday at Nicholas Sheran, and the memorial for Logan will be Saturday at Nicholas Sheran. There are two families in our community that are hurting and this is a chance for us to show them our support.