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News

Female Hockey Day 2024 takes on Fort McMurray

FORT MCMURRAY – The focus is on Fort McMurray, as Hockey Alberta hosts its annual Female Hockey Day celebrations at the Frank Lacroix Arena this weekend.

Female Hockey Day, presented by ATB, celebrates female hockey, and brings together players, coaches, officials, parents, and volunteers to participate in the continued development and growth of female hockey, January 26-27.

While Fort McMurray is the hosting site for this year’s event, 12 other communities in Alberta are hosting Female Hockey Day celebrations, thanks to grant money provided by the Hockey Alberta Foundation. Different events are planned in Castor and Coronation (3Cs), Fort Saskatchewan, Grovedale, Jasper, Lacombe (Lacoka), Slave Lake, Smoky River, Spruce Grove, Vermilion, and Whitecourt. Lakeland College and Lloydminster as well as Thorhild and Redwater are co-hosting events.

“Female Hockey Day is a great way to celebrate all aspects of the girls’ game across Alberta,” said Morgen Kidney, Hockey Alberta’s coordinator of female hockey. “It’s exciting to see how many associations will be joining in this weekend through their own events; we have over a dozen MHAs hosting in conjunction with our main event in Fort McMurray. We’re thrilled to be up here for 2024 and to focus and celebrate the growth they’ve had over the past few seasons.”

In Fort McMurray there are several events taking place over the weekend for registered teams and youth hockey players. Day 1 features sessions on Goal Scoring and Defensive Skills. The Goal Scoring session allows skaters to learn how to apply their offensive skills to the game, while the Defensive Skills program focuses on improving defensive skills, tactics, and fundamentals. A school program is also taking place at Good Shepherd Community School.

Day 2 allows youth females to play the sport for the first time with a Try Hockey event. This will be used to learn the basics and get a feel for the game. Try Hockey includes both an on-ice session and off-ice activity/ classroom session. In the afternoon, Goaltending Development is the focus for current female goaltenders, with a variety of fundamentals covered by some of Alberta’s best goaltending instructors.

Female Hockey Day was first celebrated in 2018, and has previously visited Red Deer, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, and Calgary before coming to Fort McMurray.

Celebrating Female Hockey Day in your own community? Share with us by tagging Hockey Alberta on social media and use the hashtag - #whyweplay.

For more information on Female Hockey Day, visit https://www.hockeyalberta.ca/players/minor-female-hockey/female-hockey-day/.

News

AEHL U15 AAA Post-Season Preview

RED DEER – Sixteen AEHL U15 AAA teams are vying for the chance to be crowned league champion.

The first round begins on Tuesday, March 5 when Parkland (PAC) Saints travel to Sherwood Park to take on the United Cycle Flyers. The remaining first round matchups start Wednesday and Thursday.

The top two seeds in the regular season were St. Albert Raiders Sabres and the Calgary Flames (NWCAA), who lost a combined six games in their respective 34-game seasons.

St. Albert recorded 31 wins, with a regulation loss, an overtime loss and a tie to round out their season (.941 win percentage). They scored nearly seven goals a game (237 total), allowed 66 goals, won 22 of their last 23 games for 64 points, 23 points ahead of Sherwood Park atop the North Division.

In the South Division, a pair of Calgary teams fought for top spot with the Flames edging out the Northstars by eight points. The Flames finished the season with 27 wins and a goal differential of +88. They also come into the playoffs winning seven of their past 10 games.

FINAL STANDINGS >


St. Albert not only found themselves at the top of the standings, but the top of the statistical categories as well. Forward Ossie McIntyre posted the most points (104) and goals (55) this season. McIntyre averaged over three points a game, which includes seven game winning goals on the season. His 104 points were 38 points better than the league’s second leading scorer. Raiders Sabres goaltender Pacey Thomas finished first in wins (18), goals-against-average (1.69), and was tied for first in shutouts with four. Red Deer Rebels goaltender Grady Gardiner had the league’s best save percentage at .932.


All series are best-of-three. The first-round matchups are as follows:

North Division Quarterfinals:

St. Albert Raiders Sabres vs Lloydminster Lancers

Sherwood Park United Cycle Flyers vs Parkland (PAC) Saints

Golden Arrow GP Storm vs Knights of Columbus (KC) Squires

Fort Saskatchewan Enhance It Rangers vs South Side (SSAC) Southgate Lions


South Division Quarterfinals:

Calgary Flames (NWCAA) vs Calgary Royals

Calgary Northstars vs Calgary Bisons

Red Deer Rebels vs Okotoks Oilers

Airdrie Xtreme vs Lethbridge Val Matteoti Golden Hawks


For complete schedules and links to the FloHockey broadcasts, check out the Playoffs tab on the U15 AAA website.

PLAYOFFS >

Ice Times Newsletter

ICE TIMES - EDITION 23:12

Hockey Alberta News

APPLY NOW TO JOIN FUTURE LEADERS

The 2024 Future Leaders Development Program will be held on April 19-21 in Red Deer. Future Leaders is designed to train post-secondary students in coaching hockey. Areas of focus include proper instruction, administration, leadership, technical and tactical skills in hockey.

MORE DETAILS >


VIEW THE REST OF THE ICE TIMES NEWSLETTER >

Home Ice Feature

Breaking The Colour Barrier – John Utendale

In celebration of Black History Month, Hockey Alberta is proud to share stories from across the province’s hockey community.

In July 2023, John Utendale was inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame, in recognition of his contributions to breaking the colour barrier in professional hockey.

In December, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame announced that Utendale would be recognized further as a member of the ASHOF’s 2024 Induction Class. The induction ceremony is scheduled for Friday, May 24.

We became aware of John Utendale and his accomplishments because in the middle of the pandemic in February 2021, we were looking for some Alberta-based hockey stories for Black History Month.

During a general online search, and one of the items that came up in the search was a Facebook post the previous year from the Provincial Archives of Alberta pointing out that the first Black hockey player to sign an NHL contract was John Utendale of Edmonton with the Detroit Red Wings in 1955.

Some online research. We found an obituary published in the Edmonton Journal after John’s death in 2006. Not only had John been a trailblazer as a hockey player, but his leadership continued in post-secondary education after moving to Washington State.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of information available more than 50 years after John’s playing days. Some statistical information, a few photos and short stories, but overall not a lot of detail about the man who could have been the first Black player to play in the NHL. We pieced together a basic biographical story from what we could find, and Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada posted it on their websites on February 3, 2021 for Black History Month.

It was an opportunity to share an interesting story that more people needed to know and it was a pretty good story to start off Black History Month.

Then things started to happen.

Someone shared the link with Mickey, John’s wife, who contacted Hockey Canada, who put her in contact with Hockey Alberta. A few emails were exchanged, and the process got started to put together a nomination package for John for the AHHF.

The University of British Columbia reached out for more details and did a story on their website because John had studied at UBC.

UBC Story >

KIRO 7 News in Washington reached out in October 2021, and did a story on John’s life and career leading into the home opener that year for the Seattle Kraken.

KIRO 7 Video Story >

The Kraken honoured John in February 2022 for Black History Month, including an in-game video tribute.

Seattle Times Feature >

Seattle Kraken Tribute Video >

In February 2023, there was another tribute evening for John Utendale – this time by the Edmonton Oilers. They were hosting the Detroit Red Wings, the NHL team John had signed with, in the city where John was born.

Finally, on July 23, 2023, the long-awaited AHHF Gala occurred in Canmore. It was an evening of learning a bit about life in the 1950s in hockey, and the family, and even how John and Mickey met (he was originally going out with her sister).

It was also really neat to be reminded of just how connected we are, and how small the world really is – even multiple decades later. Folks like Bobby Olynyk (a fellow inductee that evening) and Terry Ledingham (an inductee in 2016) came up to Robb Utendale (John’s son) to talk about having seen John play for the Oil Kings and the Flyers in the 1950s.

Now, it’s only a few more months until the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame induction evening on May 24. Hopefully there will more stories connecting folks in the room that evening with John’s accomplishments and recollections six or seven decades prior.

News

International Hockey Returning to Alberta

EDMONTON – Hockey Canada has announced that four marquee international hockey tournaments will be played in the Province of Alberta through 2027, in addition to Rivalry Series games featuring Canada’s National Women’s Team and camps involving Canada’s national men’s, women’s and para hockey programs.

The announcement was made before Saturday’s Battle of Alberta between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers and included a commitment of $11 million from the Province of Alberta to host events in communities throughout the province.

“Alberta’s government is thrilled to be hosting these major sporting events,” said The Hon. Joseph Schow, minister of tourism and sport of Alberta. “These events will create excitement around the game of hockey while driving visitors to the province, increasing tourism and bolstering local businesses. These tournaments and events will be an inspiration to young Albertans as they get a chance to learn from and watch the world’s best hockey players.”

The first two tournaments will take place in 2024: the World Para Hockey Championship at WinSport Arena in Calgary from May 4-12 and the Hlinka Gretzky Cup at Rogers Place in Edmonton from Aug. 5-10.

Alberta will also host Rivalry Series games in 2025 and 2026, the 2026 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and 2027 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“Hosting international games and tournaments are critical to provide opportunities for our men’s, women’s and para athletes to develop and compete on the world stage, showcase our teams and communities, and inspire the next generation of participants and fans,” said Katherine Henderson, president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “We are grateful that the Province of Alberta has made this significant investment to enable these events to be played on home ice, which will significantly benefit each of our programs, including our national teams that are preparing for the 2026 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”

Ticket packages for the 2024 Hlinka Gretzky Cup will go on sale to the public on March 22, while ticket information for the 2024 World Para Hockey Championship will be announced in the coming weeks.

Locations for events being hosted beyond 2024 will be shared at a later date.

To learn more about Hockey Canada, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along through social media on Facebook, X and Instagram.

Centre Ice Podcast

Centre Ice Podcast - Episode 33 - Celebrating Black History Month - Ft Layla Matthew and Zack Dailey

Welcome to Centre Ice, The Hockey Alberta Podcast! In honour of Black History Month, join host Troy Durrell as he sits down with two remarkable guests, Layla Matthew and Zack Dailey. Layla, a standout forward for the Edmonton Junior Oilers, shares her journey from underage player to committing to Clarkson University, inspiring young athletes along the way. Also, Zack Dailey, head coach of the MacEwan University Griffins, reflects on his transition from player to coach, highlighting the importance of diversity and representation in hockey. Don’t miss this insightful episode celebrating Black athletes in Alberta hockey!

Newest episode is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Podbean, Amazon Music/Audible and TuneIn + Alexa.

Hockey Alberta Foundation

U15 Lloydminster Richardson’s Jewellery Steelers and Apex Automotive Lakeland College Rustlers team up to grow the game

LLOYDMINSTER – With the help of the Hockey Alberta Foundation, the U15 AA Lloydminster Richardson’s Jewellery Steelers and Apex Automation Lakeland College Rustlers helped kids from their area get involved in the sport of hockey.

The two teams travelled to Lloydminster’s E.S. Laird Middle School in celebration of Female Hockey Day and spent the afternoon lacing up the skates with Grade 7-9 students, a first for many of the more than 50 students involved. Funding for the event came from Hockey Alberta’s Every Kid Every Community (EKEC) program, supported by the Hockey Alberta Foundation.

The learn-to-skate event was held at E.S. Laird’s outdoor rink. The Rustler and Steeler players provided tips and advice to the students on some of the key elements in hockey, including skating, puck control and shooting.

“It was an exciting afternoon of growing the game between two female teams in Lloydminster,” said Ryan Sklapsky, Director of Hockey Operations for Lakeland College Women’s hockey team. “There were some students who had never skated before which was a unique experience.”

Sklapsky added that the opportunity for the athletes to share the experience with students who come from different parts of the world, some who haven’t experienced winter before let alone hockey, was one that the two teams will cherish.

“Some students are experiencing their first winter in Canada so to introduce them to a staple that is part of Canadian culture was an exciting opportunity for both teams to take part in,” said Sklapsky.

EKEC grants are available to assist amateur sports organizations, minor hockey organizations, youth groups, recreation groups, or any community group with an idea, project or program that helps establish an event or program to get local children active in hockey.

APPLY FOR EKEC GRANT >

Team Alberta

Zone 7 and Zone 3 win gold at 2024 Alberta Winter Games

GRANDE PRAIRIE - Lloydminster Western Financial Steelers (Zone 7) and Calgary Royals White (Zone 3) captured the gold medals in the hockey competition as the Alberta Winter Games wrapped up on Monday in Grande Prairie.

Lloydminster won the Female Division crown, while Calgary captured the Male Division title.

FEMALE DIVISION

The championship in the Female Division featured the top two teams from Pool A - Lloydminster and the St. Albert Raiders Bolts (Zone 5). Lloydminster continued its tournament long dominance with a 7-2 victory to earn the gold medal.

Lloydminster went a perfect 3-0 in the round robin, outscoring its opponents 25-6 before defeating Rocky Mountain Raiders (Zone 2), 11-2, in the semi-finals. St. Albert (1-1-1) defeated Central Alberta Twins (Zone 4), 3-2, in the semi-finals. Central Alberta, who had finished first in the other pool, and Rocky Mountain faced off in the bronze medal match with the Raiders winning 1-0 in a shootout.

MALE DIVISION

The Male Division final had a similar setup with the top two teams in Pool A also facing off for the gold medal. This time, though, it was the second-place team from Calgary (Zone 3) playing a near-perfect final to blank the Lakeland Panthers (Zone 7), 4-0, to capture the gold.

Lakeland (2-0-1) finished first in its pool in round-robin, with the tie coming against Calgary. Calgary (1-0-2) finished second. Lakeland defeated Peace River, 9-1, in the semi-finals, while Calgary punched their ticket to the final, 6-3, over the Okotoks Oilers (Zone 2). Okotoks had finished first in the other pool.

Peace River Sabres (Zone 8) edged Okotoks, 6-5, in overtime, to earn the bronze medal.

OFFICIALS

The female officials crew includes Brooke Akune, Aryn Chambers, Sara Deneweth, Kristen Gallant, Chiara Knowlton, Neve Palmer, and Elizabeth Tanguay. Linespeople include Kristina Krywolt, Shelby Lazarowich, Alyssa Maier, Jessica Pele, Janine Van der Wekken, Caira Stucklschwaiger, and Yelena Zaleschuk.

Hockey Alberta News

On the male side of the tournament, officials include Scott Roessler, Fraser Berg, Brett Friesen, Kale Salacki, Darryl Smith, Kanin Boese, Brian Gilles and Taylor West as referees. Dylan Francis, Jaxon Peters, Jordan Wills, Robert Rowney, Rylie Payeur, Nate Millsap and Jesse Roessler were the linespeople.

For all the scores and standings, check out the Alberta Winter Games website.

Team Alberta

Mason Alexander looking to make a name for himself at Alberta Winter Games

RED DEER – Mason Alexander models his game after Vancouver Canucks defenceman and captain Quinn Hughes.

“I really like his defensive and offensive play style,” Alexander said. “He’s really good at moving the puck in the offensive zone and generating scoring chances.”

Makes sense, considering Alexander is a more than a point-per-game player this season with the U15 AA Strathcona Warriors as a defenceman, third amongst his position in the Northern Alberta Hockey League.

But if you were to ask Alexander about his stellar campaign, he’ll be sure to give the credit to his teammates who he’s spent the last couple seasons with.

“We get along well together. We all know each other from the past and basically all of us go to school together,” he said. “It makes it easier to connect in the room, we’re always talking about plays and I think everyone really fits in and enjoys themselves."

The off-ice connections have become apparent as the Warriors are sporting a 25-3-2 record, booking their ticket into Grande Prairie’s Alberta Winter Games as the Zone 5 representative.

While Strathcona has had a solid season, the male hockey tournament has some strong competition for Alexander and his teammates. Zone 5 is in Pool A with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (Zone 1), Calgary Royals White (Zone 3), and a familiar foe to the Warriors – the Lakeland Panthers (Zone 7). The Panthers are one point ahead of Strathcona in the NAHL standings while playing in the same division. Pool B features the Okotoks Oilers (Zone 2), Camrose Vikings (Zone 4), South Side Athletic Club Innovation Physio (Zone 6) and Peace River Sabres (Zone 8).

“It’ll be super amazing,” Alexander said about facing some new competition while seeing some familiar teams as well in Lakeland and South Side Athletic Club. “Especially heading into playoffs, it’s more competitive and it’ll be nice to play different teams. To be able to get a feel of what the competition is going to be like and giving us the opportunity to optimize our game heading into the postseason.”

There have been athletes from the province that have used the Alberta Winter Games as a steppingstone to other achievements in their careers. Alexander is looking to follow that trend.

“Everyone’s dream is obviously to go to the NHL, but I also want to accomplish other things along the way,” Alexander said. "I want to play in the Alberta Cup, go to the WHL, play for Team Canada. It’s a life goal and I want to make the most of it.”

Alexander said none of his success would be possible without the love, helpfulness and support of his parents.

“My parents are great, I couldn’t have done it without them,” Alexander said. "They drive me to practice; my mom drives me everywhere and is a really good supporter. My dad has been coaching me my whole life … helped me get into training sessions and with my on-ice play.”

Round-robin play started Saturday morning, and continues through until Sunday afternoon. Semi-finals are Sunday evening, with bronze and gold medal games slated for Monday morning. Games are being played at the County Sportsplex, with one game on Monday morning at the Dave Barr Arena.

ALBERTA WINTER GAMES MALE HOCKEY SCHEDULE >

News

Stettler Goes Global with the Global Girls Game

STETTLER - The puck is set to drop on the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Global Girls Game and a celebration of female hockey in central Alberta.

Twelve games are taking place from coast to coast in Canada, including Alberta’s segment which is being hosted by Stettler Minor Hockey Association on February 17.

The Global Girls Game is an IIHF initiative to unite the hockey community by having players from around the globe play in the same game. A cumulative score is kept around the world between Team White and Team Blue with a winner being declared after all games have been completed.

Alberta’s segment of the Global Girls Game is being hosted at the Stettler Recreation Centre at 1:30 p.m, as the U15 Tier 2 Stettler Storm take on the Red Deer Chiefs in the Blue Arena as part of their Rocky Mountain Female Hockey League season.

In Canada, teams from each game will be identified as Team White (home team) and Team Red (away team). The event kicked off on February 9 with a Rivalry Series game between Canada and the USA. Hockey Canada is providing players with jerseys, toques and helmet stickers as part of the event.

Stettler is also taking the IIHF Global Game a step further and engaging multiple levels of its female program to make it an unforgettable experience. Stettler’s U11 Tier 2 Blue team precedes the Global Girls Game event with a game against Camrose Red at 11:15 a.m, while the U18 Tier 1 Storm play game one of their RMFHL playdowns against the Lethbridge Cyclones at 4:15 p.m.

Team Alberta

Ailyn Stachniak and Calgary Fire White teammates looking forward to Alberta Winter Games

RED DEER – Everyone loves an underdog story.

Calgary Fire White currently sit in fourth place of the Alberta Female Hockey League’s U13 AA South Division behind Calgary Fire Red and Calgary Fire Black.

But it’s Fire White that is headed off to Grande Prairie to represent Zone 3 at the Alberta Winter Games.

This year’s team selection process differed from previous years, as teams in the AFHL’s newest division vied for the right to represent their zone. For Calgary’s three teams, they faced off in a round-robin followed by a final between the two highest-ranked teams in the round-robin. Fire White defeated Fire Red 5-3 and lost 3-1 to Calgary Fire Black in round-robin, before finding redemption with a 1-0 victory over Fire Black to secure their spot in the Games.

Forward Ailyn Stachniak said it was a great feeling to know that her team overcame the odds and qualified for the upcoming tournament.

“I think our team was super pumped. As the clock was counting down, I think my heart was pounding,” she said. “It was a super stressful moment but as soon as the clock was a second away from zero, I knew we had won, and we were going to represent our zone. It’s an honour and will be a good opportunity.”

Stachniak has had a strong season thus far, putting up 14 points (matching her jersey number) in 21 games, for fourth on the team. The up and coming forward said she’s having fun with her teammates and the team has gotten better as the season’s progressed.

“We’ve been able to beat some of the tougher teams throughout the season as we’ve been getting better as a team,” Stachniak said. "I really enjoy my teammates and it’s nice playing with them. They’re super helpful, our captains motivate us to get through hard games. Everyone is really kind and respectful and we’ve made a lot of memories through the highs and lows.”

The highs and lows of this season have helped Stachniak and her Fire White teammates to be prepared for the competition at the Alberta Winter Games.

“It’s a super exciting and a huge honour to be able to go and play against those teams,” Stachniak said. “We’re familiar with some of the teams we’ll be playing, but there are also some that we haven’t played before. So I think it will be nice to get to see other teams and see how they play.”

If Zone 3 can come away from the tournament with a medal, Stachniak said it would be a very rewarding experience.

“It would be very exciting for us to get to have that opportunity and such an honour to be able to win a medal,” she said. “It’ll take a lot of hard work from us to be able to do that, but it would be really exciting.”

Calgary Fire White are in Pool A with Southern Express (Zone 1), St. Alberta Raiders Bolts (Zone 5) and Lloydminster Western Financial Steelers (Zone 7). Pool B includes Rocky Mountain Raiders (Zone 2), Central Alberta Twins (Zone 4), Edmonton Ice Blue (Zone 6) and Norlan Ram PCFAC Storm (Zone 8).

Female hockey action gets underway on Saturday with round-robin action continuing through until Sunday afternoon. Semi-finals are Sunday evening, with bronze and gold medal games on Monday morning. Games are being played at the Dave Barr Arena and County Sportsplex.

ALBERTA WINTER GAMES FEMALE HOCKEY SCHEDULE >

Home Ice Feature

Black History Month – Zack Dailey’s unique journey through hockey

In celebration of Black History Month, Hockey Alberta is proud to share stories from across the province’s hockey community.

RED DEER – If you were to Google the small town of Healy, Alaska on a map Zack Dailey wouldn’t blame you.

That’s the hometown of the MacEwan University head coach. It has a population of just over a 1,000 people and it’s where the now 34-year-old got his introduction to hockey when he was seven.

“I grew up on a homestead. Our closest neighbour was a couple kilometres away. Pretty cool childhood where you just go out in the forest and go explore and do whatever you want. I grew up it was soccer in the summer and hockey in the winter,” Dailey recalled. “(Hockey) was just something I used to hang out with my friends. To be honest, the first few years I was probably the worst player on the team.”

Even with the early struggles on the ice, Dailey fell in love with the sport and the experience of playing where he did.

“All my friends were there, so I kind of kept with it. But yeah, it was a unique outdoorsy experience. The only rink we had was an outdoor rink so we’re out there until minus 30 and then they’d start canceling practices, but I had a lot of cool experiences,” Dailey said. “Parents gave me some quick, cool opportunities that I probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.”

Dailey got better. So much so that his family decided to move to Alberta when he was 13 so he could go up against better competition.

The level of competition in Alberta was a big step up for Dailey. In Alaska, there are ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams that are considered competitive, and then ‘C’ and ‘D’ teams are considered house league. Healy’s lone team was a ‘D’ level team and would play against other teams from towns that had populations of 1,000 to 3,000.

“I caught the eye of a coach from the ‘A’ team, but we would have to travel to Fairbanks to play. The travel was outrageous … it was two and a half hours each way, three days a week and usually with some crappy road conditions,” Dailey said. “We’d go to the (University of Alaska Fairbanks) Nanooks, Division I hockey games and everyone from their team played in the AJHL. We had no clue what that was, so we looked on the Internet and went ‘I guess that’s where they’re developing hockey players. So, we made the move to Leduc.”

Dailey’s first taste of hockey in Alberta was when he decided to play spring hockey before enrolling into the Alberta minor hockey system.

“It was a big jump. In three years, I went from ‘D’ to playing AAA. But I felt like I was ready for it … the spring hockey helped prepare me,” he said. “It was a lot more commitment, better coaching. But it was a lot of fun and I’m so thankful that my dad and mom gave me the opportunity to do that. Because without that there’s no way I would win as far as I did in hockey.”

Dailey’s minor hockey career reached its peak when he tallied 41 goals and 93 points in 39 games with the U15 AAA Sherwood Park Flyers winning him co-MVP and co-winner of the scoring title while helping Sherwood Park to the league finals. His stellar minor hockey career got him an opportunity with the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips where he went on to be named captain in his final two seasons.

Once he wrapped up his junior and university career at the University of Alberta, Dailey set out to play professional hockey overseas. When that didn’t pan out, he turned to coaching when he was named assistant coach with MacEwan University men’s team in 2017. He stayed in that role until he took over the head coaching role partway through last season and had the interim tag removed ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

“I wanted to stay involved in hockey … but I didn’t know what capacity. Coaching is something I kind of fell into,” Dailey said. “From playing to coaching, I think that helped me. With all the coaches I’ve had, I’ve had some amazing coaches. It’s great to be able to take what you like from people, and then, you know, discard the stuff you didn’t really agree with.”

After missing the playoffs last season, Dailey has led his plucky group of Griffins back to the Canada West postseason in 2024, after a collecting three of a possible four points in back-to-back games against the Manitoba Bisons.

But maybe more importantly, Dailey, who comes from a Nigerian background, has used his journey to become a role model for a new generation of Black athletes to show them that they can achieve their goals just as former National Hockey League players Jarome Iginla and George Laraque showed him when he was growing up.

“There’s obviously not a lot of Black hockey players so I’m quite proud of where I’ve gotten to and where I’m at right now. Being a Black man and leading a university hockey team is something that I’m really, really proud of,” he said. “I think that whatever path you’re going down, if you see people who look like you, and who have the same experience as you, it makes it a lot easier. I know, as a kid, the hardest thing for me was always being the only Black player on the team. There’s no one to relate to, if anything was said I was the only one dealing with it. And so that part for me was very, very hard. But you know, knowing that people have went through before and have succeeded. That’s a big plus for me. And that helped me a whole bunch. So, I’m hoping that younger kids see it that way too.”

Home Ice Feature

Black History Month - Calgary Fire’s Davina Davis making her mark on the hockey world

In celebration of Black History Month, Hockey Alberta is proud to share stories from across the province’s hockey community.

RED DEER – Davina Davis has grown up around the game of hockey.

When Davis was younger, her father would take her to see the female hockey game at her local rink. It was soon engrained in her DNA that she was going to be just like those girls.

“The girls were U14 and U18 … they were so impressive to me that I wanted to be like them when I grew up,” Davis said. “When I turned six, my mom enrolled me in an all-girls Learn to Play program with our local female hockey club, thinking it would be a fun introduction into hockey and to see if I would like it. Little did she know it would become a passion and help guide me to where I am today.”

Her career took off. She suited up for South White at Alberta Challenge last year and was named co-MVP of the AFHL’s U15 AA division, tallying more than a goal per game and finishing with 39 points in 26 games. She helped Calgary Fire Red win the provincial title.

“I was delighted,” Davis said of the achievement. “It was an honour to be chosen as co-MVP as there are so many talented players in the league. But I think the bigger accomplishment was winning provincials. Our team played well together all season and it was nice to see our hard work pay off.”

The 16-year-old forward is now in her first season playing in the U18 AAA division with the Calgary Fire.

“It’s been an adjustment. Players are bigger, faster, and stronger,” she said. “It forces you to know what you’re going to do before you get the puck, and you always must be aware of what’s happening both on offense and defense. The older players on my team have been great role models for showing me what it takes to play at this level.”

Davis comes from a multiethnic background, as her dad is half black and half white, while her mom comes from Sri Lanka. Davis is very proud of her heritage and says that she’s had a very positive hockey experience thus far.

“I haven’t been treated differently from others because of my racial heritage,” Davis said. “The teams I’ve been on have been positive and encouraging environments to play and train in. I think so far I have been defined by my hockey skills more than my race.”

Davis wants to follow in the footsteps of her idols Connor McDavid, Taylor Heise and Sarah Fillier and play professional hockey when she’s older.

Collegiate hockey is absolutely an aspiration of mine, along with playing professionally, especially since the PWHL has made it a reality for young women,” Davis said. “If I ever advance far enough to possibly be a role model for younger hockey players, I hope it would be for anyone regardless of background.”

News

Hockey Alberta Offers Stream – Goaltending 2 Clinic

Hockey Alberta is pleased to welcome the return of the Instructional Stream - Goaltending 2 clinics this month.

The Instructional Stream Goaltending 2 Clinic will take a deep dive into the position as well as the structure and philosophy of coaching it. Attendees are expected to enter the clinic with an understanding of the position and will leave with a deeper knowledge of the structure and skills necessary to teach the position.

Coaches will be given the opportunity to set forth questions and learning objectives that they find prevalent in their experiences coaching the position. The structure for this clinic will allow for coaches to learn in a classroom environment for a deeper dive into the philosophy and tactics of the position as well as the opportunity to get on the ice and gain first hand practical experience in teaching.

Hosted by Matt Weninger, Manager, Goalie Development, there are two clinics available for goalies this month. The first clinic will take place in St. Albert on February 19, while the second clinic will take place in Calgary on February 23.

Details

Clinic 1:

Date: February 19, 2024

Time: 6:15-10:15 p.m.

Location: Servus Credit Union Place, St. Albert

REGISTER FOR CLINIC 1 >

Clinic 2:

Date: February 23, 2024

Time: 5:00-9:00 p.m.

Location: World Pro Goaltending, Calgary

REGISTER FOR CLINIC 2 >

Should you have any questions, please contact Matt Weninger, Manager, Goalie Development.

Team Alberta

Coaching applications open for 2024 Team Alberta programs

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is now accepting coach applications for the 2024 Team Alberta programs.

Team Alberta U18 Female is looking for one head coach, two assistant coaches, one video coach and one goaltender coach to guide the team at the 2024 National Women’s Under-18 Championship. The event takes place in November at a location that will be determined later.

U18 FEMALE COACH APPLICATION >

Team Alberta U16 Male is seeking two assistant coaches, one video coach and one goaltender coach for the 2024 WHL Cup. The WHL Cup is slated for October, in Red Deer.

U16 MALE COACH APPLICATION >

Applicants must:

- Be 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.

Inquiries can be directed to Mike Kraichy, Manager, High Performance at [email protected].


Derrick Martin to lead Team Alberta’s U16 Male at the WHL Cup

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

Martin is in his first season as the bench boss of the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Camrose Kodiaks. He spent the 2023 cycle with Team Alberta as an assistant coach at the WHL Cup. He also served as the Video Coach for Team Alberta at the 2023 Canada Winter Games.

Martin’s past Team Alberta program experience includes coaching and mentoring in the Alberta Cup program.

Hockey Alberta News

News

Korea University men’s hockey team facing ACAC competition

RED DEER – The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) had an international flavour the past month, as Alberta teams welcomed the Korea University Tigers for a set of exhibition contests.

The Tigers, who are based in Seoul, began their trip to Alberta on January 12 against the Concordia University (Edmonton) Thunder, with Concordia winning 4-3 in overtime. Korea University would follow that up with games against NAIT, Portage College, Augustana and Briercrest. A game against SAIT was cancelled due to the injury bug hitting the Trojans roster.

Mark Kosak, Chief Executive Officer of the ACAC, said that the planning for this exhibition tour started in September when Korea University played Augustana in a pair of exhibition matchups.

“The Korean team was here in Canada, exploring the opportunity to play some Canadian competition,” Kosak said. “They’re the dominant university team in Korea so they were here for a couple of exhibition games.”

While the team was in country, the Tigers had their eyes set on potentially playing more games against ACAC oppositions.

“They reached out to my office to see if they could discuss the prospects of joining the ACAC at some point in the near future … it seemed like a crazy idea at the time that they’d want to play in our conference,” Kosak said. “We met so I could get a better understanding of their vision. One of the requirements was for them to return this year and play our teams to see if they were competitive and could legitimately be an ACAC team.”

The Tigers proved they could hang with their Alberta counterparts, defeating Portage College 7-3 and losing a pair of close games to NAIT and Augustana. The Tigers wrapped up their trip with a 5-1 loss to top ranked Briercrest College.

“It did surprise me, it shouldn’t have because they wouldn’t have asked for this opportunity or gone on this tour, unless they were confident that they could be competitive,” Kosak said. “They did their research, I give them credit, because they knew the level of playing the ACAC, and they felt that they could compete with our ACAC athletes. What we’ve observed is that they’re highly skilled, and they’re very structured.”

The team has since put in their application to play in the ACAC as early as next season. Their application is currently under review with a decision coming in May. There are a lot of logistics to sort through to make this a feasible option. Would Korea University play all road games? Would they have a home base in Canada? Kosak said that the two sides were working on piecing a possible solution together.

“It’s got a whole lot of moving parts and it’s not something that’s happening quickly. But the plan is that they would relocate to Calgary and play their games out of Seven Chiefs Sportsplex,” Kosak said. “They would move to Calgary in October, with the entire team, a delegation of support staff plus about 30 players, and they would stay in Calgary until the end of March and fulfill a schedule just like every other ACAC team.”

The academic year in South Korea is different than it is in Canada. The first semester begins in March and ends in the middle of July, then starts up again in August and goes until the middle of February. Exhibition games in the ACAC begin in September and conference play typically begins in mid October. Korean students would take online courses for the duration of their time in Canada and return in March once the season is over.

“It’s unique. The notion of them joining our league is entirely out of the box. No one else has ever done this, thought about it or been approached for it,” Kosak said. “I’m very proud of our conference that we are open minded because the easy decision would have been to say, no, no, we can’t do this. It’s crazy. Let’s not even spend the effort, the time and effort. I think everyone involved has an obligation to the sport of hockey to do what we can to contribute to the growth of hockey around the world. The ACAC has always been limited in what we can do in that respect. But this is our opportunity to help grow hockey in South Korea.”

The ACAC currently has seven teams, with bye weeks incorporated into the schedule so adding an eighth team to the conference would allow for teams to play games on a more frequent basis.

News

Regulation and Playing Rule Amendment

Hockey Alberta is currently accepting recommendations for additions, deletions and/or
amendments to the regulations of Hockey Alberta.


Any Member in good standing is eligible to submit a proposal for change, provided that the
change is for their respective stream/ level of hockey. Categories of Member Organizations are:


a. Minor Hockey Association
b. Senior or Junior League
c. Accredited School
d. Recreational Hockey Program
e. Para Hockey Program


All proposals must be submitted to the Hockey Alberta Office, using the proper submission form,
through the Member’s respective President and/ or General Manager (Executive Director). The
form must be completed in its entirety and must be accompanied by detailed rationale outlining
why the amendment is required and the positive impact it would have on the players/ game:


Hockey Alberta Regulation Amendment Form


Proposals for changes to the Hockey Alberta Regulations must be submitted prior to February 28,
to be considered for next season.


Submitted proposals will be reviewed and, if deemed necessary, Members may be asked to
review proposals and provide feedback to support Hockey Alberta in making final decisions.


If you have any questions about this process, please do not hesitate to contact the Hockey
Alberta office.

HOCKEY ALBERTA BULLETINS 2023-24 >

Ice Times Newsletter

News

Former NHLer Cory Sarich finding his place in the broadcasting world

RED DEER – Going from being a professional hockey player to retirement can be tough for some athletes.

For former NHL defenceman Cory Sarich, he found a relatively smooth transition from the ice to the broadcast booth.

Sarich played parts of 15 seasons in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, Tampa Bay Lightning, Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche, suiting up in 969 games, amassing 158 points and over 1,000 penalty minutes while also appearing in 57 playoff games. He won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with Tampa Bay.

He transitioned to the broadcasting world once he retired, making a regular appearance on the Sportsnet telecast as an intermission analyst during Calgary Flames home games.

“I’d had people mention it towards the end of my career. I think conveying my thoughts while on camera, it never seemed to be much of an issue for me,” Sarich said of his post hockey career which also includes a number of charity events, such as Glencross Invitational that took place in October. The charity hockey tournament raises funds for the Hockey Alberta Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities® Alberta.

“Maybe it’s because I talk a lot too. Someone told me ‘Hey we think you might be good at filling some air time and filling some dead air’.”

Photo: Ellery Platts

Photo: Ellery Platts

While Sarich has made the move to the media look smooth, he said it wasn’t something that he actively pursued.

“I knew when I was done hockey that I was going to take time for my family. Now I have a bunch of teenagers so I’m starting to have a bit more time on my hands, but it’s not easy, the transition into post career,” Sarich said. “I am at a great spot in my career now, as a freelancer of sorts with Sportsnet. I still have lots of time with my family, and it’s in a great spot. Some athletes are very prepared, some are a little more unprepared, but you just kind of roll with the punches after your career is done.”

While making that career move wasn’t planned or necessarily thought out, Sarich always had a lot of respect for those who did the job while he was playing.

“At times you have different relationships as a player with the media. At times you think they know nothing and other times you think ‘you know what they can help boost my career’,” Sarich said. “I always tried to treat people with the utmost respect, and it always seemed very interesting to me. The way that they come up with stories, the time and commitment they put into following one specific team, players, whatever it is.

He said he was also fortunate to have some quality people help him with the move to the other side of the microphone.

“I was fortunate enough to be given a chance by the likes of Roger Millions. Ryan Leslie has put some faith in me, so it’s been an easy transition,” Sarich said. “Especially when you’re talking about the sport of hockey. I’m just trying to learn every day from the professionals. As a player you only get to see one side of it, but now that I’m on the other side, you see the prep work … you can’t just talk about the game itself. You’ve got to dig up stories and have a relationship with the players. You also must find the balance between being complimentary and critical.”

Hockey and broadcasting have more similarities than the average person might recognize, starting with pre-game preparation.

“As a player I was always prepared and you need to be prepared going on TV or radio, just so you aren’t tripping over your own tongue,” Sarich said. “There are some other things that are similar between the two … poise, thinking on your feet, teamwork. It might be Ryan Leslie kicking me under the table, telling me to get out, I’m taking too long, and we need to go to break or bailing me out when that thought doesn’t come into my head. So, there’s a lot of similarities between the two and I’m really enjoying myself.”

News

Ladd Foundation’s 1616 initiative helping youth teams focus on mental fitness and wellbeing

RED DEER – Two-time Stanley Cup champion Andrew Ladd and his wife Brandy are ensuring that youth hockey teams across Alberta and North America are focusing on their mental, physical, and social well-being through their 1616 initiative.

1616 focuses on making those three traits a more significant focus for youth hockey. It’s also looking to shift the culture in minor hockey to one that not only emphasizes hockey performance, but also development of character, confidence, and connections through environments both with parents and coaches that promotes this healthy development.

"Having grown up in the game I understand the challenges players face,” said Andrew Ladd. “At 1616 we are intentionally leveraging stories of the top athletes in our game to teach the next generation that in every challenge lies an opportunity to strengthen your mind and grow as a person."

The program is designed by a team of experts to create a 16-module experience with video content from some of the best hockey players in the world including Adam Oates, Blayre Turnbull, and Mark Giordano. It features guided in-person discussion prompts for coaches and parents, as well as on-ice drills to enhance on-ice performance, and challenges to help participants apply 1616 principles.

The benefits of 1616 have already been noticed from players, teams and parents who have previously participated in the initiative. 1616 has grown exponentially, as the pilot project in 2021 had 500 participants across North America.

Since then, it has grown to 88 teams across North America including 36 teams from Alberta in 2022 and more than 200 teams in 2023 with over 100 teams coming from this province.

The Hockey Alberta Foundation has played a key role in the success and growth of 1616, partnering with the Ladd Foundation through two donations totalling $120,000 in the last year.

"This program was recommended to the team by a family physician and we’re having a great experience. My son is very introverted and quiet, and it’s been great for helping him think about how to build more connections with his teammates... and the resilience aspect, seeing famous hockey players have a similar experience as him has been meaningful. At this age of 10-12 years old, they’re starting to understand the world and become self conscious, so it’s great."

1616 Parent/ Caregiver

"I would like to say thank you to the program... I can feel that my son is being shaped and developed mentally along his hockey path. It is much more difficult for parents to communicate or teach our children directly, especially when they are transitioning to teenagers. With the program saying it, the program, coaches and players are actually working as a team, and it seems quite effective. You have full support from our family. Cheers to 1616."

1616 Parent/ Caregiver

In the 2023 season 1616 expanded its reach. The program launched a school partnership with Edge School in Calgary where more than 40 families enrolled into a facilitated 1616 experience. The Ladd Foundation also took 1616 and partnered with Jumpstart to bring to bring the experience to new communities across Canada. On top of that, The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers Foundations partnered with 1616 to bring expanded support and awareness to teams across the province, which resulted in more Alberta based teams participating than anywhere else in North America.

“Every parent wants the best for their kids, whether that’s opportunity or health,” Ladd said. “Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to provide those things to their children. We have great compassion for those parents and if we can alleviate some of the stress that comes with facing these issues, we want to help.”

For more information on 1616, registration or placing a donation please visit www.1616.org.

Team Alberta

Prospects Cup 2024 Regional Camps Registration Now Open

All 2011-born male players, registered with a Hockey Alberta-sanctioned Minor Hockey Association are now able to register for a Regional Camp and try out for the Prospects Cup.

REGISTER HERE >

Positions at the four Regional Camp tryouts are limited and awarded based on the order that registration is completed and confirmed in the online registration system. Regional Camps are scheduled for the weekend of April 12-14 at the following locations:

  • South (Olds Sportsplex – Olds)
  • Calgary (Don Hartman NESS – Calgary)
  • Capital (The Meadows – Edmonton)
  • North (Wally Fedun – Vegreville)

REGISTER IN THE CORRECT REGION

Prior to Regional Camp registration, please review the Prospects Cup registration directory to determine in which region your child resides.

2024 PROSPECTS CUP REGISTRATION DIRECTORY >

Athletes are only permitted to register for the region in which they reside and the position (goaltender, defence or forward) for which they wish to be considered for the Prospects Cup. Any athlete who registers for an incorrect region or position may have their registration refunded (less an admin fee) and is not guaranteed a spot at to the Regional Camp tryout, subject to position availability in the correct region.

Please ensure you have your athlete’s Alberta Health Number when registering. This is a required field. Player Hockey ID numbers are not required.

The cost to participate in a Regional Camp is $250 (plus tax and admin fee) and includes:

  • Four ice sessions
  • One practice jersey
  • Three zoom webinars in March to help athletes prepare for the Regional Camp, and learn more about Short Term Competition, and the Team Alberta program.

Once registered, a confirmation email will be sent to the billing email. Athletes who register will be sent webinar information in February. Approximately one week prior to Regional Camp weekend, rosters and schedules for the tryouts are sent to each player.

REGIONAL CAMP WAIT LISTS

It is expected that registration will fill up quickly on January 22. In the event the region and position your child falls within, or the registration in its entirety is sold out at the time you try and register, do not attempt to register for another position or camp. Instead, please do the following:

  • Email Hudson Kelly ([email protected]) to be added to a waitlist
  • In your email, provide the following information for the player you are looking to add to the waitlist:
    • Full name,
    • Position (F,D,G),
    • Region (South, Calgary, Capital, North)
    • Date of Birth
    • Current team

PROSPECTS CUP

Two teams of 20 players are selected from each Regional Camp to compete at the Prospects Cup, May 8-12. The cost for those selected for the Prospects Cup is being finalized (usually approximately $1000 per player) and includes:

  • 5 days and 4 nights of accommodations and meals (including busing to offsite meals) at the event
  • One practice on Wednesday of the event
  • One practice on either Thursday or Friday
  • 4 games from Thursday – Sunday
  • Team jersey and socks
  • Team Alberta apparel

News

Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup Returns for Season 8

The Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup program is making its return once again for its eighth season!

To date, the program has had a wide positive impact on hockey communities, achieving more than 1,000 Good Deeds and donating over $700,000 to charities all over the country.

Hockey Alberta has watched proudly as Alberta teams such as the U13 Canmore Eagles (2021) and the Lloydminster Female U13 Blazers (2022) became finalists for the program, with the Blazers becoming the first Alberta team and the first female team to win the Good Deeds Cup.

The Blazers charity donation was to Inclusion Lloydminster, an organization that advocates on behalf of children and adults with developmental disabilities and their families, with the goal of meaningful family life and community inclusion.

This season, the 2024 Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup is all about doing as many good deeds as possible, no matter the size and scope of the good deed. This year, the target is a minimum of 150 teams across Canada, completing over 1,500 good deeds. Teams are encouraged to do multiple ‘smaller’ and more frequent good deeds as opposed to one big deed. These deeds will add to your team’s total – players on these teams are welcome to also do individual deeds, which will also add to your team total. In addition to this, members of the community can complete good deeds themselves on behalf of their team. Big or small, there’s so many ways to add to your team’s total for good deeds!

Good Deeds will be tracked online via a live leaderboard on the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup website. The program runs until March 3.

Upon completion of a deed, teams/individuals are asked to submit their completed good deed online via picture or video on any social channel available, tagging the following:

  • @ChevroletCanada
  • #GoodDeedsCup
  • #Contest
  • #MinorHockeyTeamName + Age Division + Level (ex. #CanmoreEaglesU13A)

This program is open to U11, U13 and U15 teams registered with Hockey Canada/ Hockey Alberta. The champion of the Good Deeds Cup receives a $100,000 donation to the registered Canadian charity of their choice.

REGISTER HERE >

In addition, the first 150 teams to complete and submit a good deed online are rewarded with Team Kits, with contents valuing around $400. These kits feature:

  • Branded toques
  • Towels
  • Stick tape
  • Stickers
  • A letter from the Season 7 winners with some tips and tricks on how to get started.
  • The box the Kits are sent in can are branded Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup and are to be repurposed for additional good deeds, such as a canned goods donation box or toy drive box

The 150 teams who win a Team Kit will be connected to their local Chevrolet dealerships to increase community impact!

News

Prospects Cup 2024 Regional Camp Registration Reminder & Details

IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ THIS MESSAGE IN ITS ENTIRETY

RED DEER - Registration for the 2024 Prospects Cup Regional Camps opens on Monday, January 22 at 4 pm (MT) on the Hockey Alberta and Prospects Cup websites.

All 2011-born male players, registered with a Hockey Alberta-sanctioned Minor Hockey Association or are eligible to register for a Regional Camp and try out for the Prospects Cup.

Positions at the four Regional Camp tryouts are limited and awarded based on the order that registration is completed and confirmed in the online registration system. Regional Camps are scheduled for the weekend of April 12-14 at the following locations:

  • South (Olds Sportsplex - Olds)
  • Calgary (Don Hartman NESS – Calgary)
  • Capital (The Meadows - Edmonton)
  • North (Wally Fedun – Vegreville)

REGISTER IN THE CORRECT REGION

Prior to Regional Camp registration, please review the Prospects Cup registration directory to determine in which region your child resides.

2024 PROSPECTS CUP REGISTRATION DIRECTORY >

Athletes are only permitted to register for the region in which they reside and the position (goaltender, defence or forward) for which they wish to be considered for the Prospects Cup. Any athlete who registers for an incorrect region or position may have their registration refunded (less an admin fee) and is not guaranteed a spot at to the Regional Camp tryout, subject to position availability in the correct region.

Please ensure you have your athlete’s Alberta Health Number when registering. This is a required field. Player Hockey ID numbers are not required.

The cost to participate in a Regional Camp is $250 (plus tax and admin fee) and includes:

  • Four ice sessions
  • One practice jersey
  • Three zoom webinars in March to help athletes prepare for the Regional Camp, and learn more about Short Term Competition, and the Team Alberta program.

Once registered, a confirmation email will be sent to the billing email. Athletes who register will be sent webinar information in February. Approximately one week prior to Regional Camp weekend, rosters and schedules for the tryouts are sent to each player.

REGIONAL CAMP WAIT LISTS

It is expected that registration will fill up quickly on January 22. In the event the region and position your child falls within, or the registration in its entirety is sold out at the time you try and register, do not attempt to register for another position or camp. Instead, please do the following:

  • Email Hudson Kelly ([email protected]) to be added to a waitlist
  • In your email, provide the following information for the player you are looking to add to the waitlist:
    • Full name,
    • Position (F,D,G),
    • Region (South, Calgary, Capital, North)
    • Date of Birth
    • Current team

PROSPECTS CUP

Two teams of 20 players are selected from each Regional Camp to compete at the Prospects Cup, May 8-12. The cost for those selected for the Prospects Cup is being finalized (usually approximately $1000 per player) and includes:

  • 5 days and 4 nights of accommodations and meals (including busing to offsite meals) at the event
  • One practice on Wednesday of the event
  • One practice on either Thursday or Friday
  • 4 games from Thursday - Sunday
  • Team jersey and socks
  • Team Alberta apparel

Hockey Alberta Foundation

Hockey Calgary’s NHL/NHLPA First Shift Program continues to grow

RED DEER – Hockey Calgary’s NHL/ NHLPA’s First Shift Program has shown exponential growth over the past few seasons, with help from the Hockey Alberta Foundation.

In just four years, First Shift has taken a huge leap in Calgary growing from two and a half programs to seven, helping increase the diversity of hockey programming not just in the city but in the province. Funding for Hockey Calgary’s First Shift programs comes from Hockey Alberta’s Every Kid Every Community (EKEC) program, supported by the Hockey Alberta Foundation.

“With the generous support of the Hockey Alberta Foundation, we have been able to grow our programs, increase the number of ice times, recognize our volunteer coaches, and introduce the game of hockey to over 300 new players and families,” said Kevin Kobelka, Hockey Calgary’s executive director. “The future of hockey is bright in Calgary, and the Hockey Alberta Foundation has a lot to do with that future.”

Hockey Calgary operates three co-ed programs, one female program, and three programs that have reserved spots for BIPOC participants. Without EKEC funding, Hockey Calgary would likely need to raise costs to cover operational and human resources, reduce ice sessions, further cap registration, and/or remove or reduce ice subsidies.

“Hockey Calgary strongly believes in its responsibility to grow the game and introduce hockey to new and diverse families,” said Kobelka. “Our Try Hockey First Shift programs continue to be in high demand.”

Hockey Calgary has operated both six and 12 session programs in the past but plans only to offer 12-session programs moving forward to give the participants a better experience and a better sample of the sport. This leads to a higher percentage of the participants enrolling in full-time hockey programs the following season.

The First Shift Program is open to children, between the ages of six and 10 years, who have never previously enrolled in minor hockey in Canada or the NHL/NHLPA First Shift Program. Children who are new to hockey are introduced to the sport in a fun, stress-free, and inclusive environment where they create and develop friendships within their communities. Additionally, children are given the opportunity to be physically active while learning life skills such as resiliency, hard-work, teamwork, and communication.

EKEC grants are available to assist amateur sports organizations, minor hockey organizations, youth groups, recreation groups, or any community group with an idea, project or program that helps establish an event or program to get local children active in hockey.

APPLY FOR EKEC GRANT >

News

Brayden Arcand officiates in World Junior A Challenge

RED DEER – Hockey Alberta official Brayden Arcand was part of the officiating crew selected to work the World Junior A Challenge December 10-17 in Truro, Nova Scotia.

“It was a great experience. It was my first international experience in a while and Hockey Canada did a good job making sure that it was ran professionally,” Arcand said. “The volunteers and the town of Truro were great hosts and the support the tournament had was strong. It was a great overall experience for me.”

Not only was Arcand one of the few officials selected to referee games in the tournament, he was part of the crew that earned the right to officiate the gold medal final between Canada West and Canada East.

“I think any time an official gets asked to be part of a tournament, the end goal is to do the last game,” Arcand said. “Anytime you get selected it’s a really good feeling. It’s a feather in your cap for all the hard work you put in over the course of the tournament as well as the season. There are so many good officials to pick from, it was an honour to get selected.”

This isn’t the first high-level event in which Arcand has taken part. The 32-year-old has called games throughout several AJHL playoffs, an AJHL final and the Centennial Cup. He said the World Junior A Challenge is up there with those accomplishments.

“It’s hard for me to rank them honestly,” he said. “I think getting to officiate in a national championship such as the Centennial Cup is definitely an honour. The World Junior A Challenge has a different flair to it, it’s a little bit shorter and there is a smaller group of teams so there’s much more focus on each game…. I think it’d be hard to rank them because they’re all special in their own way and I’m happy to be part of them.”

Arcand has been an official since he was 13 and has made it part of his full-time occupation over the past 10 years.

“Right now, I’m just taking it day-by-day. You always try and set goals for yourself … and I’ve been very lucky to achieve some of those goals,” he said. “But with where I’m at with my career outside of hockey and my family, I think taking it day-by-day is the best thing for me right now.”

Numerous sports, including hockey, look to recruit new officials each year, but there are challenges, especially when it comes to abusive behaviour from coaches, players and fans.

“My brother was one of those officials that got abused as a young official and he quit,” Arcand said. “I don’t know why we’re so hard on our young officials …. At the end of the day, we were losing such a high number of officials.”

But Arcand also has a positive message for those who are hesitant to dip their toes into the officiating world.

“For me officiating helped me in a lot of different areas. It’s helped me with my communication, professionalism, and learning to be part of a team … there’s so many aspects that you can translate over to the real world that are very important. It also helped me stay close to the game I love. A lot of officials just love hockey and being part of it in any capacity is a plus. I think officiating is a good way of doing that, being able to balance your work and social life, I’ve gotten to travel all over North American to referee a hockey game so there are a lot of benefits that come with officiating as well. I always look back and am grateful to becoming an official because it helped me get to a lot of place I otherwise wouldn’t have gotten to as a player.”

Team Alberta

News

Three U18 teams being added in Elite Female Hockey

The highest levels of elite female hockey in Alberta are increasing by three teams for the 2024-25 season.

The Alberta Female Hockey League (AFHL) U18 AAA division is expanding to eight teams with the addition of teams within Hockey Calgary and Sherwood Park Minor Hockey Association.

There will also be a U18 Female Accredited School team operated by OHA Edmonton.

The new teams are the result of work over the past two years where Hockey Alberta has engaged several parties to help measure the successes of the Elite Female Hockey Model and where the model can be improved. Remaining focused on the principles of the model, the recent growth of female hockey has been evaluated, along with the opportunities available for players to progress within Alberta’s female hockey system.

The Elite Female Hockey Model was implemented in the 2016-17 season, after a three-year independent review commissioned by Hockey Alberta in 2013. The model established provincial criteria for the number of teams permitted at each level within the Elite system. The U18 AAA division was reduced from 11 teams to six; Accredited School expansion of female hockey programs was put on hold; and the AA system was created to help players develop their skills at the right level for their age, and to help them progress to the next level of hockey.

Since 2016 and the implementation of the new model, registration numbers for female players in Alberta have increased by 22 per cent overall. This includes a 28 per cent increase in registration at the U15 level, 38 per cent at U13, and 41 per cent at U11.

The first portion of the current review of elite female hockey saw two changes to the AFHL implemented for this season (2023-24):

  • creation of a U13 AA division to provide a competitive all-female entry point for female athletes to access elite hockey.
  • expansion to 14 teams within the U15 AA division to provide more opportunities for the increased numbers of female players in the system.

Hockey Alberta Bulletins 2023-24 >

Team Alberta