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Two Alberta officials set to make appearances at the Centennial Cup

OAKVILLE – The Calgary Canucks aren’t the only piece of Alberta hockey headed to the Centennial Cup.

Alberta officials Mason Stewart and Scott Kramers have both been selected to officiate at the event, taking place in Oakville from May 9-19. The hosting Oakville Blades welcome the champions of the AJHL, SJHL, MJHL, SIJHL, NOJHL, OJHL, CCHL, LHJAAAQ and MHL to compete for Canada’s National Junior A Championship.

Both experienced officials, Stewart and Kramers bring skill and quality officiating to the table in their years on the ice.

Mason Stewart – Calgary

Stewart began officiating at the age of twelve in the Central Region. From there, he attended Central Zone Camp and Hockey Alberta Development Camp in 2013, Hockey Canada OPOE in 2015, the World U17 Championship in 2017 and the Canada Winter Games in 2019. Recently, Stewart attended the Hockey Canada National High Performance Camp in February.

Stewart has ten seasons in the AJHL under his belt, including three league finals appearances. He also has spent eight seasons with the WHL, including three appearances in the second round of the WHL Playoffs.

The Centennial Cup is Stewart’s first appearance as an official at a National Championship, and he is looking forward to the experience.

Scott Kramers – Edmonton

Kramers is in the midst of wrapping up his twelfth season officiating as he steps into the Centennial Cup. Kramers skated the preliminary rounds at the 2022 World Junior Championships in Edmonton prior to his first National Championship assignment this year. He has spent nine years officiating at the Junior A and Major Junior level, spending five seasons in the AJHL and four seasons in the WHL. Kramers is also looking forward to his first experience with a major Hockey Canada assignment.

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An End Of Year Message from CJ Senkow

Fellow Officials:

I hope that you were all able to grow and develop both on and off the ice this season. As the season concludes, we can celebrate our accomplishments, while also reflecting on our shortcomings and working hard to improve in those areas. Here are a few highlights from the 2023-24 season:

Clinics

Hosted approximately 270 clinics across the province, registering 5,729 officials (an increase of 624 from last year). A huge THANK YOU to all instructors and clinic coordinators for all the time and effort spent to get our season off to a great start. Also thank you to Dave Butler for his massive contribution in ensuring every registration for every official across the province is complete and correct.

Regional Highlights

North West (Peace):

  • Hosted the Alberta Winter Games, U21B Provincials, and this week’s National Aboriginal Hockey Championship.
  • Worked effectively with officials in NE British Columbia to support many leagues in NW Alberta.

North East:

  • Hosted a successful Level 3 & MHP Camp in August to allow officials the opportunity to upgrade their level this season.
  • Continued to foster a relationship with Hockey Saskatchewan as there are several border-crossing leagues and covering such a large number of games in a large geographical area is a challenge.

North:

  • A strong volunteer base dedicated to developing officials at the grass roots level and consistently producing quality officials for provincial and national consideration.
  • Provincial leader for female official development, with a supportive environment that has developed and prepared officials to be successful at all levels of hockey.

North Central:

  • Excellent adaptability and “get things done” attitude in recruiting and supporting new officials, as well as the many events that come with having the Hockey Alberta office in Red Deer
  • Cody Huseby to oversee Prospects Cup as a regional development opportunity which will be a huge boost to the region and province in both the short- and long-term.

Central:

  • Successfully hosted the Circle K Classic and its large number of games for both officials and supervisors.
  • Officials’ availability remains a challenge at elite levels with the population of players far exceeding the number of qualified officials.
  • Expecting more collaboration with Hockey Calgary for next season, leading to an evolution in how things are done, as well as a cultural shift to set up the Calgary area for future success.

South:

  • A constant ability to adapt to any challenge presented to them and a positive culture of quality officials always willing to support those around them.
  • This part of the province can be difficult logistically difficult but their innovative efforts to make that a non-factor for their officials are not to be overlooked.

Provincial Highlights

Provincial Assigning: There were some bumps but also many successes with this new initiative, including officials travelling for the opportunity to work U18AAA and/ or Female ACAC playoffs. Focus for next season is to improve communication on how we assign our top levels of hockey and determine which officials to include on those lists.

Many thanks to Scott Mah (North), Lisa Heddinger (South) and Dean Laschowski (AJHL and Male Elite) for assigning 1,127 games (5,104 assignments), utilizing 400 officials across the province.

Development: Enough can’t be said about the work by Colin Watt for the improvement and celebrated success for all officials (male and female) this past season.

This season’s Development events were the AEHL U18AAA, U17AAA, U15AAA showcases; Alberta Winter Games (female competition), AFHL U18AAA provincials, Alberta Cup, Alberta Challenge, and Development Camp coming in July. These events are the main pathway for officials to be identified and fine-tuned within the program with a solid foundation established for continued growth.

  • Spring Showcase (Alberta Cup and Alberta Challenge): Justin (Curt) L’Heureux coordinating the coaching of our officials at these short-term competitions. His knowledge and commitment is greatly appreciated as he has built connections with all these officials.
  • Alberta Winter Games: Referees-in-chief were L’Heureux (female event) and Dave Macpherson (male event). Very cool experience for our officials to work an event of this magnitude. Officials were brought in from across the province for the female tournament, affording some of them their first opportunity to work with an all-female crew. The male tournament was a Peace Region development opportunity for identification and development of their next crop of elite officials.
  • Development Camp (2023): A strong group of 13 males and three females took part in power skating, classroom sessions, leadership training, and other seminars. Camp was coordinated by Watt, with support from L’Heureux, Travis Toomey (NHL), Kevin Muench (WHL), Kevin Acheson (HA/WHL), Justin Slimm (HEAT), and myself. This camp provides an elite development and identification opportunity for officials to achieve their officiating goals. Ben Solomon was selected for the John Jacobs Award (Most Promising Official) and had the opportunity to complete an exchange with Hockey Eastern Ontario (Ottawa) for a weekend.

Hockey Alberta Coaching/Supervision Program: Continued progress in establishing consistent coaching for our provincially-assigned leagues. A few key individuals deserving recognition in this area:

  • Kevin Acheson (North Coordinator) and Glenn Agnew (South) and their teams providing feedback primarily focused on the U18AAA.
  • Fraser Lawrence (NHP/IIHF Official) and team providing further coaching and feedback for those officials in consideration for OPOE or NHP Seminar.
  • Curtis Nichols (AJHL VP Officiating) leveraging his team of officiating coaches across the province to support the development and identification of officials working Tier 2 (Junior A) hockey within the province.
  • Darby Readman (Female Program North) coordinating regular coaching opportunities for the female officials within the North Region, establishing a consistent pipeline of quality officials to work elite female hockey.

We have a huge number of dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to assist our officials in their development and to create a positive experience for all participants in the game. Next time you come across a mentor or have a supervisor at a game, please take the time to thank them for the time and effort they put in. Our program would not be as strong as it is without those volunteering their time to provide knowledge in supporting officials’ growth.

Hockey Canada

We continue to align our program with Hockey Canada’s updated officiating pathway. I am in regular conversation with Dan Hanoomansingh (Hockey Canada Officiating Manager), Todd Robinson (Hockey Canada Referee in Chief) and Vanessa Stratton (Officiating Coach Hockey Canada/ IIHF) to maintain this alignment as we reestablish Alberta as a leader nationally.

  • Master Officiating Developer Cohort 2024: Very excited to have Carmen Sydor representing the Branch in this new initiative from Hockey Canada.

The Officiating Program of Excellence is the pathway through which Canadian officials are selected for top national and international assignments. The objectives are to:

  • provide a clear developmental pathway for aspiring elite officials,
  • provide developmentally appropriate coaching for elite officials,
  • prepare officials for national and international competitions, and
  • assist Hockey Canada in making evidence-based decisions for national and international events.

Officials enter the OPOE through regional identification camps, based on nominations from their Member programs.

  • OPOE 2024: Congratulations to Jesse Wood-Schatz, Matt Lattimer, Cameron Halter, Kennedy Roblin, Cassidy Brand, Lindsey Ducharme, Jessica Hammer and Emily Hill on their selection to regional camps. Colin Watt was invited as an officiating coach, further confirming the alignment between the HA and HC programs.

The National High Performance Selection Camp is an intensive four-day experience to help selected officials develop the tools needed to succeed at an elite level. Selection by Hockey Canada follows a months-long evaluation process, including input from their respective Member programs and leagues. Upon successful completion of the camp, the officials join the national high-performance program and compete for Junior A and senior national championships, and international assignments.

  • NHP 2024: Congratulations to Hayley Butz, Alex Homer, and Mason Stewart on achieving the highest level within Hockey Canada.
  • National/International Assignments:
    • IIHF U18 World Championship: Taylor Burzminski
    • USport Female: Hayley Butz
    • Centennial Cup: Mason Stewart, Scott Kramers
    • Junior A World Challenge: Brayden Arcand
    • World Para Championship (Pool B): Kevin Webinger
    • Women’s U18 National Championship: Hayley Butz
    • World U17 Challenge: Alex Homer

Provincial Exchanges

  • NEO/HA: Most Promising at Development Camp (Ben Solomon) worked games in Ottawa, while Noah Bouchard from Ottawa came to Calgary for the Circle K Classic Tournament. This well-established relationship will continue for future seasons.
  • BC/HA: Spencer Acheson, Lindsey Ducharme, Megan French, and Brandon Peterson traveled to Penticton for the CSSHL U18AAA playoff tournament. This was a new opportunity for our officials this season, and we will look to continue this partnership with Hockey BC, with them likely to send officials to Calgary for the Circle K Classic in future seasons.
  • In conversation for future opportunities with New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Quebec for future years.

Thank you to everybody who has contributed to ensure games are played across the province, and that our officials feel supported in their role in the game. The success of our program is within those actively involved year after year, and it is important to recognize that every one of those people has had a hand in the achievements of our officials.

Looking forward

As we look towards next year, I am excited:

  • Hockey Alberta Manager of Officiating: Liam MacIsaac has taken over this role as Brett Kelly has moved internally within Hockey Alberta. I want to thank Brett for all his support in the administration and evolution of our program. He has provided a clear path for Liam to continue along for the continued growth of our program.
  • Summer School: Stay tuned for more details in the coming months, but this new offering will be two advanced clinic weekends (one in St. Albert, one in Calgary) including sessions related to advanced techniques and theory, power skating, and more.
  • Provincial Assigning: We reflect upon the successes and shortcomings of the first year and plan for improvement for next season. Assignors are our front-line workers who are largely in control of the experience and morale of our elite officials across the province. There will be a working committee on this topic in the near future, if interested in participating please reach out to me directly for consideration.
  • Supervision Criteria: we all bring different experience and observations to this space. Our provincial supervision coordinators are working on a consistent standard which can be communicated and applied so everybody understands the expectations to attain higher levels of hockey.
  • AEHL Video Feedback and Monthly Communication: working within the confines of the AEHL and the HA office to establish a standard of officiating which can be consistent from all areas of the province. Using video will only improve the understanding of expectations and standards for those officials working within the province. The finer details are still being worked out, but this more regular communication will hopefully be a welcome tool for all officials and their development.
  • Regional Focused Priorities: To Train, Recruit and Retain officials. Our regions are a well-oiled machine of continued education for all officials from 12yrs old to 70+. Our regions are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations of grassroots officiating programs including clinics, shadows/supervisions, identification and promotion of those deserving, and nomination for provincial development opportunities. Our regional focus on these 3 values will only improve our involvement in the game of hockey more for all levels and those that we work with.

In closing, I want to thank the Regional Committees, the Provincial Officials Committee and every official across the province for serving and being a part of this great game. While your contributions may seem to be unnoticed, those within the hockey community know that often the best referees are those who go about their business without fanfare or recognition.

I look forward to seeing you all at a rink next season.

Golf tournament for James Sharun

Long time officials Todd Pawsey and Marty Tingstad are organizing a golf event and fundraiser for the family of James Sharun, a longtime official who we lost this year. This event is June 2 at Pheasantback Golf Course and is open to all hockey officials. A flyer for the event is included with this message. This is a time to reflect and celebrate all those who have worn the black and white jersey.

GOLF TOURNAMENT FLYER >

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Hockey Alberta officials putting their development to the test

RED DEER – Athletes and coaches aren’t the only people involved in the Alberta Cup who are looking to advance their skills with hopes of progressing to the next level.

For the third team on the ice – the officials – just getting the chance to skate at the Alberta Cup as a referee or linesperson involves going through a rigorous selection process.

“It really starts at the grassroots level where the officials who are at this tournament are identified in their local areas and are recommended for certain Hockey Alberta events over the course of the season such as the AEHL and AFHL showcases, as well as other things such as provincial playdowns and the Alberta Winter Games,” said Colin Watt, Hockey Alberta Officials, Development Coordinator.

Once officials are selected for those events, Watt and fellow coordinator Curt L’Heureux pare down the list of officials who have the opportunity to make the jump to the next level.

“We attend those events and are essentially scouting to identify which officials are our top up-and-comers,” Watt said. “Those officials get selected for regional camps for the Alberta Cup. A different group of officials get selected for the Alberta Cup itself and then a separate group also gets selected for the summer development camp that runs in July.”

There are several aspects that L’Heureux and Watt are looking for in their young officials.

“Skating fitness is one of the major components we look at. You need to be able to skate as well as the players at each level of hockey that you officiate,” L’Heureux said. “Communication is another key skill that we look for. Communication with the players, and coaches. Let the coaches know that there is an open line of communication. Judgement is another big one that we look for, regarding minor penalties … whether they get called or get overlooked. The last one is standard. We want to see if the officials establish a standard at the beginning of the game and maintain it throughout the rest of the game.”

The key part of official’s development is of course the growth they make on a year-to-year basis. Both Watt and L’Heureux said they take a lot of pride in seeing their officials take that next step.

“It’s cool. To see these officials grow from when they’re identified at 15 or 16-years-old, and see them turn into elite officials, it just goes to show our group’s dedication and hard work going to these events,” L’Heureux said.

“It’s really rewarding,” Watt added. “I really enjoy when you have some of those ‘aha’ moments, when you’ve said something to them, and they grasp it a little bit better. They put it into practice and it’s a little bit of a challenge… Trying new things puts them in kind of a spot where they’re not necessarily as comfortable. But then when they do it well and they can see the fruits of their labour as far as trying something different, that part is really rewarding for us.”

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. Watt, who is currently an official in the AJHL, said officiating has taught him a lot about himself on and off the ice.

“You learn so many life skills in officiating, whether it’s dealing with people under pressure, dealing with kind of hostile situations. One thing I really harp on a lot is just self-evaluation throughout our games, and you learn how to do that type of stuff and have a certain level of self-awareness in your personal life as well,” Watt said. “I’ve found personally that it’s made a huge difference in how I conduct myself off the ice all the time. It’s helped a ton as far in my professional life in never having these panic moments or having the ability to deal with some of the more challenging situations.”

Watt highlights the personal relationships he’s made over the years, which includes a longtime friendship with L’Heureux.

“As far as the personal relationships that you gain with the people you work with, it’s a unique situation because you’re working with your partners, but you’re also competing against them,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I think everyone in the officiating world has each’s others backs and it’s a very cool dynamic that you can have such a tight knit group who you know has your back but can also have a healthy and friendly competition with them too.”

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Alberta’s Kyle Rehman hits 1,000 game plateau in the NHL

EDMONTON – Kyle Rehman wasn’t sure if he would officiate one National Hockey League game, let alone a thousand.

But that’s exactly what the Red Deer native did when he accomplished the feat on March 28 during a contest between the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Place. Rehman was recognized by the league, the Oilers, and Kings, receiving a Tiffany crystal from the league, jerseys from both teams as well as a pair of Adirondack chairs that had his name, the NHL logo and ‘1,000 games’ on it.

“I would have never thought to do one (game), let alone a thousand, so it’s a very special milestone for me,” Rehman said. “It comes with a lot of sacrifice, not only for myself, but for my family. It’s been an incredible journey and I’ve got a long way to go.”

Rehman said the best part of the whole evening was having his family at his side and allowing them to get some recognition for everything they’ve done for him.

“I got the chance to have my two boys on the ice with me before the game, which is something I’ll never forget. Then to have my family on the ice with me during the ceremony, it was good to get them some recognition because they’ve sacrificed so much,” Rehman said. “My wife is a rockstar. She’s pretty much a driver for the kids, taking them to all their activities, so for them to get some of that recognition was cool. Then to have my brother and my parents there as well was awesome as well. They jumped on board when I was younger and really supported, pushed, and encouraged me to go as far as I can.”

The 45-year-old referee got his start in 2000 in Red Deer where he got the opportunity to officiate U18 AAA and Senior AAA games. He moved onto the Western Hockey League shortly after and got the call to the NHL in 2007. His first game was January 22, 2008, featuring the Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Over the course of his career, Rehman has gotten the chance to officiate some of the biggest events the NHL had to offer - Stanley Cup playoff games, NHL Global Series in Sweden, and the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl between the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars.

“The whole atmosphere, being outdoors with 85,000 fans, the NHL does a really good job of putting on those types of events,” said Rehman. “Both fanbases were awesome, seeing the Nashville fans travel to Dallas and seeing how much support the city gave to the Stars … it was a great game and I’m proud to say I was part of it.”

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. Rehman asks that spectators ease off the young officials.

“We’re losing officials every year. I have two boys that play hockey and I want them to be able to play games and leagues need referees. I think it’s important for people to be at the rink and to appreciate these games and volunteers,” Rehman said. “The younger kids are just learning … guys at the NHL level, we’re the top officials in the world and we sometimes make mistakes, just like the coaches and players because we’re human. Let the emotion of the game be on the ice, because if we continue to trend in the direction we’re going in, we aren’t going to have any officials left.”

For younger people hesitant to enter the game in the officiating capacity, Rehman’s advice is to go out there and do your best and enjoy the process of improving.

“Go out there and work hard every game. As long as you can come off the ice, look yourself in the mirror and say, ‘I left it all out there, I worked hard and I hustled’, it’s a great feeling to know you went out there and did your best,” said Rehman. “You don’t necessarily need to make the NHL either, there are a lot of great opportunities with Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta. I hope our younger generation of officials stick with it and continue to support one another.”

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Ten Alberta officials chosen for high performance camps

RED DEER – Over 90 officials from coast to coast to coast have been selected to attend Hockey Canada Officiating Program of Excellence (OPOE) camps, including 10 Hockey Alberta officials. 

Sixty-one officials were chosen for regional identification camps, with a further 30 attending the National High Performance Selection Camp. Additionally, the Women’s Officiating Program of Excellence is continuing for its second year. 

Alberta officials selected to attend an OPOE camp are Hayley Butz, Alex Homer, Mason Stewart, Cameron Halter, Matthew Lattimer, Jesse Wood-Schatz, Cassidy Brand, Lindsey Ducharme, Jessica Hammer and Emily Hill.  

CJ Senkow, Chair of Hockey Alberta’s Officials Committee, and Colin Watt, Supervisions Coordinator, are officiating coaches for the Men’s West Regional Camp in Calgary September 26-29. 

Notable amongst Albertans listed are Butz, who worked the National Women’s U18 Championship as well as Homer and Stewart who have worked in the Western Hockey League over the last number of seasons. They are attending the National High Performance Camp in Calgary, February 1-4, after a months-long evaluation process. 

“An invitation for the National High Performance Selection Camp represents years of hard work and dedication to the craft of officiating,” said Dan Hanoomansingh, manager of officiating with Hockey Canada. “These officials have worked tirelessly to hone their skills and are now ready to join our top group of officials and compete with the best in the world.” 

Upon successful completion of the camp, the officials will join the national high-performance program and compete for Junior A and senior national championships, as well as international assignments. 

The OPOE is the pathway through which Canadian officials are selected for top national and international assignments. Officials enter the OPOE through regional identification camps, based on nominations from their Member programs. 

“We have a lot of top officials in Alberta,” said Brett Kelly, Manager, Member Development for Hockey Alberta. “All 10 individuals have been involved and continue to be influential in the officiating community within our province and they are very deserving selections to participate in these events.” 

Hockey Alberta officials are participating in the following camps:  

National High Performance Selection Camp (February 1-4 in Calgary) 

Name 

Role 

Hayley Butz 

Referee 

Alex Homer 

Referee 

Mason Stewart 

Referee 

Men’s West Regional Camp (September 26-29 in Calgary) 

Cameron Halter 

Linesperson 

Matthew Lattimer 

Linesperson 

Jesse Wood-Schatz 

Referee 

Women’s West Regional Camp (December 7-10 in Regina) 

Cassidy Brand 

Linesperson 

Lindsey Ducharme 

Linesperson 

Jessica Hammer 

Linesperson 

Emily Hill 

Referee  

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EPISODE 8: Opportunities, Awards & Closing Comments

Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the return of the Western Canada Officiating Development Partnership and Western Canada Officiating Coaches Development Partnership, in conjunction with the Western Hockey League, Hockey Manitoba, Hockey Saskatchewan and BC Hockey.

The partnership features a series of videos that will be available for all officials in Alberta and the other Western branches throughout the 2023-24 season.

Episode 8, Opportunities, Awards & Closing Comments, can be viewed by clicking on the image above.

Future topics include:

  • Teamwork
  • Professionalism and positive attitude
  • Referee and linesperson skills
  • Officiating opportunities

This is an exciting opportunity for all officials to learn from some of the best officials in the country. All video resources are available on the Hockey Alberta Officials website’s Multi Media Gallery (along with videos from previous seasons) so you can always access them on your computer, tablet or mobile device.


2023-24 Season - EPISODE 1

EPISODE 2

EPISODE 3

EPISODE 4

EPISODE 5

 

EPISODE 6


EPISODE 7

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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.”

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Image: Hockey Alberta Officials selected for International duty


Four Alberta Officials selected for IIHF Events

RED DEER - Four Alberta officials will represent Canada on the international stage at various events over the course of the 2023-24 hockey season. 

Referees Lacey Senuk (St. Albert), Brayden Arcand (Edmonton) and Taylor Burzminski (St. Albert), and linesman Chad Huseby (Red Deer) were among 58 Canadian officials named as IIHF licensed officials for this season. 

Calgarian Todd Anderson will also work as part of the IIHF officials coaching staff this season. 

Senuk was named as one of seven Canadian Olympic officials. This will be her second Olympic Winter Games after making her debut in Beijing, China in 2022. She’s officiated multiple other IIHF sanctioned events such as the Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship and 4-Nations Cup. Senuk also made history on Sept. 3, 2022, when she became the first woman in league history to referee a game in the Ontario Hockey League.

Arcand and Burzminski are currently officials in both the Western Hockey League and Alberta Junior Hockey League. Arcand refereed the Centennial Cup final as well as a number of WHL and AJHL playoff games. Burzminski has officiated at the Hlinka Gretzky Tournament, World Junior A Hockey Challenge and the 2023 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. 

Huseby has skated in the WHL, World Junior Hockey Championships and American Hockey League, and on Dec. 22, 2022, made his debut in the National Hockey League skating in a game between the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. 

"All five individuals have been involved and continue to be influential in the officiating community within our province," said Brett Kelly, Hockey Alberta’s Manager of Officiating. "We congratulate them all for this accomplishment."

Specific assignments will be announced by the IIHF throughout the season.

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Hockey Alberta’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The past two years have seen Hockey Alberta undertake several initiatives and engage numerous individuals to help us better understand the challenges faced by participants in our sport related to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Hockey Alberta hosted an Indigenous Hockey Summit in August 2021, and then created and hosted the inaugural 11.4 Awareness Day in 2022 with a focus on maltreatment and Hockey Canada’s new rule 11.4.

A key part of the work undertaken by Hockey Alberta has been through the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. This committee is comprised of diverse individuals with a wide range of life and athletic experiences. Members of the committee attended the Hockey Alberta Member Summit in June 2022, where they discussed the findings of the organization’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion survey.

EDI COMMITTEE AND SURVEY REPORTS >

The information gathered through these various forums has included examples of behaviors that have no place in hockey. We have heard real examples and collected data that shows that we have Equity, Diversity and Inclusion issues in hockey. It has reinforced that we have work to do to provide a safe environment and ensure that all participants have a positive experience in our sport.

EQUITY, DIVERSITY, INCLUSION AT HOCKEY ALBERTA >

The next stage in the process starts today with Hockey Alberta’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion:

Hockey Alberta’s Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Hockey Alberta acknowledges there are systemic challenges in our sport involving equity, diversity, and inclusion. All forms of discrimination and maltreatment are unacceptable and must be removed.

Hockey Alberta is committed to removing the challenges to ensure we are:

  • Creating a safe sport environment free of racism, discrimination, harassment and bullying for all participants.

  • Acting decisively to improve equity, diversity and inclusion so that our sport is accessible to all.

  • Nurturing a positive hockey culture where inclusiveness and belonging are expectations, not options.

This statement provides the framework for Hockey Alberta to address Equity, Diversity and Inclusion issues in our sport. Hockey Alberta will ensure sanctioned activities are accessible, inclusive and safe for participants of all abilities, backgrounds, and interests, and Hockey Alberta will eliminate maltreatment, bullying and harassment from the game.

Specifically, our commitments are shown in our actions. In 2023-24, Hockey Alberta will add new staff resources to our operational team to support our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee, activate on our objectives, and support our Members, as Hockey Alberta works to nurture a positive hockey culture.

Actions for 2023-24 include:

  • Engaging in a pilot with minor hockey teams that educates and brings awareness about maltreatment.
  • Continuing the education process of Hockey Alberta’s Staff, Volunteers and Board of Directors.
  • Creating a new EDI Grant for Member initiatives for advancing the game through a focus on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,
  • Identifying and implementing Safe Sport/ EDI standards, tools and resources for use by our Members,

To review the complete plan, click on the website link below:

OBJECTIVES AND KEY RESULTS >

As well, on August 16, Hockey Canada released its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Path Forward document, and asked its branches across Canada to be involved and have stake in the Path Forward. Simply put, Hockey Alberta is in – with a commitment to working at the local, provincial and national levels to ensure a safe environment and a positive experience for all participants.


For more information, please contact Hockey Alberta:

Email: [email protected]

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Congratulations to the 2023 Award winners

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

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

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

The 2022-23 Hockey Alberta Award recipients are:

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

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

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

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

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

Exceptional Provincial Host Site Awards:

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

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

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36 officials work regional camps

The 2023 Hockey Alberta Officials Regional Development Camps took place March 31 - April 2 in conjunction with the Alberta Cup Regional Selection Camps.

Officials were selected from across the province to skate in Calgary, Spruce Grove, and Red Deer for intensive on-ice and off-ice training sessions including on-ice testing, mental skills and leadership training, and in-game coaching from some of Alberta’s top officials.

Congratulations to the following officials for having been selected to attend:

Spruce Grove

               •             Brett Friesen (Grande Prairie)

               •             Reese Hagen (Fort McMurray)

               •             Kaleb Hammond (Edmonton)

               •             Nate Kasowski (Edmonton)

               •             Tyler Keller (Sherwood Park)

               •             Dawson Konowalchuk (Edmonton)

               •             Jayden Mah (Edmonton)

               •             Grayson Pollok (Edmonton)

               •             Kale Salacki (Sexsmith)

               •             Eric Scherger (Devon)

               •             Zack Snow (Edmonton)

               •             Kirklon White (Fort McMurray)

Red Deer

               •             Kameron Bauer (Edmonton)

               •             Sean Duffy (Camrose)

               •             Conor Filipchuk (Edmonton)

               •             Graham Gagne (Rocky Mountain House)

               •             Silas Johnson (Edmonton)

               •             Maverick Lynes (Edmonton)

               •             Carter Martindale (Rocky Mountain House)

               •             Grant Numrich (Lacombe)

               •             Brayden Rekimowich (Lloydminster)

               •             Nolan Spadafore (Cochrane)

               •             Keaton Spirig (St. Albert)

               •             Matthias Virues (Red Deer)

Calgary

               •             Zach Cormier (Calgary)

               •             Trent Ducharme (Fort McLeod)

               •             Emily Hill (Calgary)

               •             Carley Jewell (Lethbridge)

               •             Mathieu Laurans (Calgary)

               •             Sam Lewin (Nanton)

               •             Joshua Marshall (Medicine Hat)

               •             Jacob Martin (Nanton)

               •             Josh Meier (Calgary)

               •             Ziad Music (Calgary)

               •             Jeremiah Nudd (Airdrie)

               •             Jaydan Paul (Calgary)

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From left: Brett Kelly, Brayden Arcand


Brayden Arcand receives Hockey Alberta Official of the Year Award

SPRUCE GROVE - Hockey Alberta’s Official of the Year, Brayden Arcand received his award on Tuesday, December 20 prior to officiating an Alberta Junior Hockey League Game (AJHL) between the Blackfalds Bulldogs and Spruce Grove Saints.

Hockey Alberta’s Manager of Officiating, Brett Kelly, was in attendance to present Brayden with his award.

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Mini-officials clinic hosted at Female Hockey Day

CALGARY – Female Hockey Day, presented by ATB, is coming to Calgary! Girls Hockey Calgary will host the celebration of female hockey on January 7 at the Max Bell Centre.

Registration is now open for the day of development, growth and celebration of the game. The day will include a female-only officials mini-course to become a certified official, as well as:

  • Try Hockey event for youth and adults who have never played hockey; event includes on-ice and off-ice activities.
  • Try Goaltending session for players born in 2014 or earlier; session includes on-ice and off-ice activities.
  • U11 and U13 Skills Competition featuring teams from Girls Hockey Calgary.
  • Intro to Coaching for females who are interested in becoming a hockey coach.

Girls Hockey Calgary will be offering a parent information session for parents looking for more information GHC programming.

Register >

The day-long event also features an Alberta Female Hockey League U18 AA game, as Calgary Fire White hosts the Airdrie Lightning.

Female Hockey Day activities can be hosted anywhere across Alberta. For associations or teams interested in hosting a local Female Hockey Day event in their community, the Hockey Alberta Foundation is offering $1,000 Every Kid Every Community Grants to help support the activity. Applications for funding must be submitted by December 15.

Apply for Every Kid Every Community Grant >

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Officials Development Camp held in Red Deer

RED DEER - The 2022 Hockey Alberta Officials Development Camp took place July 6-10 in conjunction with the Hockey Alberta U16 Summer Development Camp.

Officials were selected from across the province to converge in Red Deer for intensive on-ice and off-ice training sessions including power skating, video review of game action, mental skills and leadership training, and many other sessions relevant to officiating development.

Congratulations to the following officials for having been selected to attend:

  • Spencer Acheson (Edmonton)
  • Kyle Edwards (Edmonton)
  • Brandon Granson (Coaldale)
  • Jordyn Gyurkovits (Grande Prairie)
  • Jacob Hicks (Red Deer)
  • Andrew Hutton (Edmonton)
  • Brennen Jasonson (Sherwood Park)
  • Andrew Lattimer (Calgary)
  • Dylan Leaney (Edmonton)
  • Jordan Mandel (Camrose)
  • Flynn McGeough (Calgary)
  • Sean Nault (Stony Plain)
  • Dylan Ouellet (Okotoks)
  • Phillip Tanguay (Calgary)
  • Jesse Wood-Schatz (Eckville)
  • Dyson Zukiwsky (Red Deer)

Additional congratulations to Jesse Wood-Schatz, the 2022 winner of the John Jacobs Most Promising Official award for his efforts at the camp.

Officials interested in attending next season’s camp can apply now.

2023 DEVELOPMENT CAMP APPLICATION >

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Officiating a family affair for the Woods’

LETHBRIDGE – For Brent, Ryan, and Levi Woods, a life in the game of hockey has come in the form of officiating.

Growing up in small town British Columbia, Brent Woods was recruited to become an official from a family friend around the age of 14 or 15. When he moved to Alberta for university, he debated whether to continue with officiating, and ultimately opted to stick with it as it was a good way to make some extra money and spend his spare time.

He would eventually begin a role with the South Region Officials Committee as the lead of the mentoring and supervision program, which would continue with for many years. Along with that role, Brent also took on a role as an assigner. After taking a break from the Board, he is now back on as the Vice-Chair and lead of their grassroots program, which is aimed at recruiting more officials, particularly in rural areas.

With such a prominent role on the officials committee, it was only natural that his two sons, Ryan and Levi, would step in and join their father. Ryan has now been an official for six seasons, claiming that his love for the game was the reason for getting into it. When he stopped playing hockey, it was a great way for him to still be involved.

Levi just completed his first season as an official, which he says had some bumps in the road, but he continued to progress and get more comfortable with every game that he was a part of. He says that he would lean on his Father and Brother for advice throughout the year.

The trio were able to work a few games as crew, something that they said was a fun and unique experience.

“It makes it easier when we’re out there,” said Ryan. “When I’m refereeing a game and I know that my two linesmen are my dad and my brother, it’s easier for me because I know them personally, and I know I can have good communication between them.”

As a mentor, Brent’s best advice to a young official is to just go out and try it, and if you see a penalty, call it. Whether it’s the right or wrong call, if you saw it, trust your judgement, and make the call. That advice is something that both of his sons echo as younger officials.

“This is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” said Brent. “It gives me comfortability and confidence when I can be out there with them, and make sure they are getting respect from the coaches, fans, and players.”

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Hockey Alberta Officials Called to National Events

RED DEER – Nine Hockey Alberta officials have been named to Hockey Canada’s 2022 spring national events. Three officials are headed to Okotoks for the Esso and Telus Cup May 16-22. While six officials will travel to Estevan, Sask., for the Centennial Cup May 19-29.

Officials named to the tournaments include:

Kelsey Hagan

Referee

Esso Cup

Kennedy Roblin

Linesperson

Esso Cup

Kael Maltais

Referee

Telus Cup

Brayden Arcand

Referee

Centennial Cup

Colin Stefanyk

Referee

Centennial Cup

Kevin Webinger

Referee

Centennial Cup

Scott Fulmer

Linesperson

Centennial Cup

Will Mosswick

Linesperson

Centennial Cup

Jason Nedinis

Linesperson

Centennial Cup

Congratulations to each official who will be donning the stripes.

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2022 Alberta Cup officials announced

Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the 12 officials who will be working the 2022 Alberta Cup.

Spencer Acheson (Edmonton), Parker Adam (Edmonton), Kyle Edwards (Sherwood Park), Jared Gilbeau (St. Albert), Brennen Jasonson (Sherwood Park), Andrew Lattimer (Calgary), Dylan Leaney (Edmonton), Flynn McGeough (Calgary), Dylan Ouellet (Okotoks), Jack Saunders (Sherwood Park), Jesse Wood-Schatz (Leslieville), and Dyson Zukiwsky (Red Deer) will all be skating into the next step of their officiating careers.

The Alberta Cup is the first step in the Hockey Alberta Official’s Development Program. The 12 officials were selected based on their performance at the three Alberta Cup Regional Camps recently held in Spruce Grove, Red Deer and Calgary.

The 2022 Alberta cup runs from April 28 - May 1 at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in Red Deer.

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Skating into the history books

PICTURE BUTTE – Ten female officials were a part of Hockey Alberta history in Picture Butte during the U13 Female A Provincials this past weekend.

For the first time in Provincial Championship history, the officiating crew at the tournament was made up of all female officials.

Among that group was 15 year-old Picture Butte resident Rayann Campmans, who, with just two years of officiating under her belt, was the youngest official on the crew.

“When I was growing up, there were no female officials to be seen (in Picture Butte), or even Lethbridge, so I feel honoured to be a part of it,” she said. “Female Hockey has started to become a big thing, and there’s a lot of changes happening, so I feel proud to be part of that change.”

Campmans added it was a welcome sight to have fans back in the stands in her hometown rink, and a relief to be back on the ice.

“I am very elated that hockey is back,” she said. “I played for the majority of my life, and I missed it so much. Now, I’m proud that I can be giving back in a way that keeps me skating and keeps me involved in the game.”

Ten-year officiating veteran Brooke Akune, who turned 21 the day before the tournament kicked off, is happy to see increased visibility for female officials, and was honoured to be a part of history.

“I’ve always reffed with boys,” she said. “This is kind of my first two years of reffing female hockey. I was born in a small town, and that’s where I started reffing – with a bunch of boys.”

Piper Ell, an 18-year old official with six years of experience, echoed Akune’s sentiment, and hopes to be a role model for younger females in the game.

“It means quite a bit,” she said. “I grew up in boys hockey, and I never had a female official in my town, so it was always really cool to see a female official. Now, I’m really happy to be able to be that female official for the young girls.”

Francis Rankin, the Officials Supervisor for the U13 Female A Provincials, and the Female Coordinator for the Southern Region Officials Committee, said all ten officials earned their spot in the tournament, and should be incredibly proud to be a part of history.

“It shows and showcases what these females have accomplished,” he said. “They’re not out there just because they happen to be female. “They’re out there because they’re the ones who are qualified to do this tournament. Hopefully, this continues and will encourage younger females to stick with the game.”

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A Dream Come True

Lacey Senuk’s goal of working as an on-ice official at the Winter Olympics seemed like a pipe dream - until she got the call.

The Level 5 official from St. Albert will be skating the XXIV Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, China as a referee in the Women’s Hockey competition.

“It’s the pinnacle of officiating for myself. It’s an unbelievable honour to be selected as part of the group that’s going. It’s been a unique couple years and to finally reach that goal is pretty surreal,” said Senuk.

Senuk is no stranger to the international stage. Her experience working IIHF tournaments, including the 2021 Women’s World Championships, placed her on a preliminary list of officials being considered for the Olympics. After traveling to Denmark for fitness testing and classroom work in November, Senuk was designated to Czechia to work an Olympic qualifier tournament before the IIHF officially named her as a referee on January 7.

“It’s always been a pipe dream just because it’s every four years, it’s a very small group of officials going. But now that dream has come true,” said Senuk. “You don’t have the words, it’s pretty indescribable. The pipe dream has come alive and it’s come to fruition.”

With less than a month until the tournament begins, Senuk’s preparation is unusual compared to her normal routine. Under normal circumstances, Senuk would work games right up to when she leaves. Due to the COVID-19 environment, she is instead turning her focus to her off-ice fitness, studying the rulebook, limiting her interactions to just her “bubble”, and hitting the ice when it is convenient for her.

“I owe a lot of gratitude to Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada for where I am and the association that I started with in St. Albert,” said Senuk. “If it wasn’t for the individuals involved there that saw potential and helped me, it’s hard to say, would I be where I am today? You don’t know but I am very thankful for the part that every single person has played in my development as an official.”

In total, 21 females will skate the women’s tournament, making it the second Olympics that will be entirely officiated by female officials. Women’s hockey action begins on February 3, and continues through until the gold medal game on February 17.

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Three Albertans Called to Officiate 2022 World Juniors

RED DEER – Three Albertans will be officiating at the IIHF World Junior Championship on home ice this holiday season.

The three Hockey Alberta officials - Fraser Lawrence, Kyle Kowalski and Cody Huseby - will be part of crew of 26 officials donning the stripes in Red Deer and Edmonton.

For Lawrence (Edmonton), this is his third consecutive appearance at the World Juniors. He skated in the Edmonton bubble in 2021 and in the Czech Republic in 2020. Lawrence also worked the Western Hockey League final in 2019 and also has skated a number of other International assignments. He was named the Official of the Year for Hockey Alberta for 2019-20.

Kowalski (Edmonton) is also returning to the World Juniors after officiating in the Edmonton bubble, where he skated the Bronze Medal game in 2021. The son of a Hockey Alberta official and former member of the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons, Kowalski has worked the 2018 World Junior A Challenge, 2018 Hlinka/Gretzky Cup and was selected to officiate the 2020 USports Cup that was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Huseby (Red Deer) is getting his first call to the World Juniors. Huseby’s international experience includes the 2018 World Under 20 Division II Tournament and the 2017 Ivan Hlinka tournament in the Czech Republic. In 2011, he and his twin brother, Chad, became the first twins to work the lines together in the WHL. Cody is also the Regional Coordinator for Hockey Alberta’s North Central officials’ region.

For more information on the World Juniors visit iihf.com or becoming a Hockey Alberta official, visit officials.hockeyalberta.ca.

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Hockey Canada announces new maltreatment playing rule for 2021-22 season

CALGARY - In furthering its commitment to being leaders in safety and inclusivity, Hockey Canada has introduced an update to its rulebook to focus on recognizing and reporting incidents of maltreatment.

In a special meeting of the Members held on June 22, 2021, Hockey Canada and its 13 Members unanimously approved the adoption of Section 11 – Maltreatment in the Hockey Canada Rulebook starting this season, which includes bringing all forms of maltreatment under one section of the rulebook and providing guidelines for escalating penalties based on the severity of the inappropriate behaviour from players and team officials.

“Hockey Canada has made a firm commitment to making the game safe and inclusive for all who wish to participate, and the introduction of Section 11 provides our 13 Members, local hockey associations and officials across the country with clearly-defined criteria for enforcing rules related to many different forms of inappropriate conduct,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “We believe this is a great step towards ensuring we limit the number of incidents that occur on and off the ice, and will allow players of all ages to enjoy our game free from abuse, discrimination, racism and all forms of maltreatment.”

As part of the new rules, certain infractions will include an indefinite suspension pending a hearing, as well mandatory hearings for repeat offenders. To read Section 11 of the Hockey Canada Rulebook in its entirety, please CLICK HERE.

In a further effort to eradicate discrimination of all forms from the game, Hockey Canada and its 13 Members also approved a new national reporting system for incidents of discriminatory taunts, insults or intimidation, both on the ice and outside of game play. The new rule and reporting system includes, but is not limited to, discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, skin colour, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.

The national reporting system will allow Hockey Canada and its 13 Members to have a better understanding of where maltreatment incidents occur and their frequency, and will allow the organization to take progressive steps to eliminating incidents through action and education. A number of tools and resources will also be provided to Hockey Canada’s 13 Members and local hockey associations across the country to help educate participants on maltreatment, including a Rule 11 officiating module and coaching resource document.

“The addition of Section 11 to the Hockey Canada Rulebook is a major step towards making the game more inclusive for all, but the reporting system will allow Hockey Canada and its 13 Members to proactively implement change through education and create a better understanding of where issues are occurring,” said Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada. “As we continue to learn and help foster an environment that is diverse, inclusive and safe, we believe the updated playing rule will greatly benefit all participants and allow more young children and adults to enjoy the game.”

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Matthew Wass and David Westwood Receive Kenneth R. Stiles Memorial Scholarship

Matthew Wass and David Westwood – members of the Hockey Alberta officials’ program – have been named by Hockey Canada as recipients of the Kenneth R. Stiles Memorial Scholarship for the 2020-21 season.

The scholarship is awarded annually to members of the Hockey Canada Officiating Program (HCOP) to help offset the cost of post-secondary education, supporting their efforts to reach their university or college goals, and to reward their interest in mentoring the next generation.  

Wass, of Medicine Hat, has been in the HCOP for 11 years. He is currently entering his third year of the education program through Mount Royal University at the Medicine Hat College campus.

“Winning this scholarship is a huge accomplishment that brings together two things that I’ve worked very hard to succeed in, my education and officiating. I always say hard work pays off and this just proves right here that it does,” said Wass. “I feel honored and proud to represent Hockey Alberta and South Region Officials in being named one of eight to receive the scholarship.”

Westwood, from Red Deer, is currently completing his Bachelor of Education from Burman University. In addition to skating as a hockey referee, Westwood is also a referee in the National Lacrosse League.

The Kenneth R. Stiles Memorial Scholarship was established by the Seaman Hotchkiss Hockey Foundation (formerly Project 75) and Hockey Canada in 2006 in recognition of Ken Stiles, a former president of Project 75. Stiles made significant contributions to grassroots hockey throughout Canada. He was a catalyst in planning and designing an initiative aimed at players and officials who demonstrate excellence in sport and commitment to education.

Scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, officiating achievement and community involvement.

There were eight recipients this year’s Stiles scholarship. Other recipients are Hazel Barthel and Melissa Brunn (BC Hockey), Lauren Fox (Hockey Manitoba), Sophie LeBlanc (Hockey Nova Scotia), and Jonathan Bolduc and Noémy Brisebois (Hockey Quebec).

For more information on Hockey Alberta officials visit Officials.HockeyAlberta.ca or the Hockey Canada Officiating Program, visit HockeyCanada.ca.

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2021 Hockey Alberta Officials Committee Scholarship Recipients Announced

The Hockey Alberta Officials Committee has awarded three scholarships for the 2020-21 season. Logan Parsons (Calgary), Kennedy Roblin (Sherwood Park) and David Westwood (Red Deer) each received $1,500 to put towards their post-secondary education.

Recipients of the scholarships must be active officials in good standing with Hockey Alberta, holding a minimum of Level 2 certification. The applicant’s on-ice ability and off-ice contribution to his/her region may also be considered. A maximum of three scholarships are awarded annually.

To see the application criteria and to apply, Click Here >

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George McCorry receives 2021 Hockey Canada Officiating Award

Congratulations to George McCorry on receiving the 2021 Hockey Canada Officiating Award.

Over the last 55 years, McCorry’s name has become synonymous with officiating in Alberta.

Donning the black and white for the first time at 12 years old, McCorry achieved the top level of refereeing certification, Level VI, by the time he was 30. He took on national and international assignments for Hockey Canada, including three national university championship appearances and a role in the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France. Two years later, McCorry refereed 10 games in the NHL.

While the list of on-ice accomplishments is lengthy, his continued work developing officials may be more meaningful to the long-term success of the game. For over 25 years, McCorry has been an instructor for the National Referee Certification Program, and he’s been supervising officials in Alberta for 38 years. He has served as referee-in-chief with Hockey Alberta and as chair of the Hockey Alberta Referees’ Council. Since 1999, McCorry has been the vice-president and supervisor of officials for the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

On and off the ice, McCorry has been keeping the game in check and teaching the next generation of officials how to do the same.

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Hockey Canada Officials Pathway unveiled

The Hockey Canada Officiating Program (HCOP) offers participants of all ages an opportunity to be involved in the game beyond playing. By following the levels of development, and with hard work and dedication, officials can find fulfillment in their advancement while making the game safe, fair and fun.

The Hockey Canada Officiating Pathway is the foundation for all officials across the country. Hockey Canada has categorized hockey into five basic streams, each with different priorities. They include:

  • Introduction
  • Recreational
  • Competitive
  • High Performance
  • Adult Recreational

The pathway has been developed to address the following components of the program at both the Member and national levels:

  • Inclusivity and gender neutrality.
  • Defining a process to allow individuals to join the system at the appropriate level.
  • Providing equal opportunities for officials of the same skill level.
  • Developing a national standard that is adhered to by the Members.
  • Building flexibility into a linear system.

For full details, go to the Officials Pathway page:

Officials Pathway Plan >

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Alberta’s Lacey Senuk to officiate at 2021 Women’s World Championship

HALIFAX/TRURO - Alberta’s own Lacey Senuk is among the on-ice officials selected to work the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Nova Scotia in May.

She was named today by the IIHF as a referee for the event. The 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship runs May 6-16 in Halifax and Truro.

Senuk is a Level 5 referee in the North Region and has worked many prestigious international hockey events. In 2017-18 season, she earned an IIHF U18 assignment in Russia. And this year, she followed up by refereeing the 4-Nations Cup gold medal game. She also refereed the gold medal game from the world women’s championship in Espoo, Finland in 2019.

Senuk was named Hockey Alberta’s Official of the Year for 2019. Her career includes having worked two Esso Cups, the Canada Winter Games, two U18 Women’s national championships, three 4-Nations Cup events, and eight IIHF championships. She also serves as an important resource at the regional level as a mentor and instructor for aspiring officials in the Edmonton area.

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In Memoriam - Ron Panchyshyn

RED DEER - Ron Panchyshyn, one of the founders of the Officiating Program in Alberta, passed away on February 27 at the age of 82, after a courageous battle with cancer.

Ron started his officiating career in 1964, working at all levels including University and Major Junior, and multiple national and international championships. Ron was one of the first Level 6 officials in Alberta and Canada, when the Level system started in 1976. Off the ice, Ron was a tireless volunteer who served as tournament chairman at dozens of local and national events. He spent four years as the North Zone Chair, 13 years as the Past Chair, and was the third Provincial Chairman in Alberta (1986-90). Ron also served 14 years on the Board of Directors for Hockey Alberta.

Ron was inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 and was named a Life Member of the Hockey Alberta Officials Committee in 1998.

Ron was also an influential referee supervisor, mentoring officials such as George McCorry, Mike Rebus, Dave Shaw, and Lance Roberts, who all became Level 6 officials. He was committed to Grassroots officiating, teaching clinics as early as 1973 and was the first referee coordinator for the Edmonton Minor Hockey Week which started in 1964. One of his proudest accomplishments was negotiating the donation of officiating services to that tournament, a tradition that carries on to this day.

Ron was a loving and devoted husband to his wife, Joyce, and a man who lived and loved for his children and grandchildren. One of Ron’s favourite things was to watch his grandchildren play hockey and football.

The family is asking for those that wish to do so, donations be made in Ron’s name to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

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Western Branches Officiating Development - Season 3, Episode 2: Recruitment

For the third straight season, the Western Hockey League, in association with BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, and Hockey Manitoba, are producing an episodic video series about development as an official. Episode 2 focuses on the recruitment of new officials.

 Episode 2: Recruitment

See the entire series, including seasons 1 & 2 here.

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Three Albertan Officials selected for World Junior Championship

RED DEER - Three Albertan Officials have been selected to work the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Referees Kyle Kowalski and Fraser Lawrence, and Linesperson Deion Foster will all take to the ice when the World Juniors comes to the Edmonton bubble in December.

Kowalski (Edmonton), the son of a Hockey Alberta official and former member of the AJHL’s Drumheller Dragons, has worked the 2018 World Junior A Challenge, 2018 Hlinka/Gretzky Cup and was selected to officiate the 2020 USports Cup that was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Foster (Edmonton) grew up playing in Lloydminster, and now calls Edmonton home. He has officiated the 2016 & 2019 National Jr A Championship, worked the 2019 WHL Championship Series between the Vancouver Giants and the Prince Albert Raiders.

Lawrence (Edmonton) officiated the 2020 World Juniors last January in the Czech Repulic and also worked the WHL Final in 2019 and many other International assignments, Lawrence was named the Official of the Year for Hockey Alberta for the 2019-20 Hockey Season.

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Western Branches Officiating Development - Season 3, Episode 1: Introduction

For the third straight season, the Western Hockey League, in association with BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, and Hockey Manitoba, are producing an episodic video series about development as an official. Episode 1 is an introduction to the new season, which has come with a lot of changes.

 Episode 1: Introduction

See the entire series, including seasons 1 & 2 here.

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Hockey Alberta crests & Hockey Canada patches now available at select retailers

Hockey Alberta left breast crests and Hockey Canada left arm shoulder patches are now available for purchase at the following retailers:

United Sport & Cycle
7620 Gateway Blvd NW
Edmonton, AB

Tuxedo Source for Sports
2520 Centre St N
Calgary, AB

TBS Hockey Store
6013 48 Ave
Red Deer, AB

Ernie’s Sports Experts
11500 100 St
Grande Prairie, AB

Player Bench Team Apparel
612 13 St N
Lethbridge, AB

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Photo credit: Rob Wallator


Hockey Alberta officials working to end racism and inequality in hockey

RED DEER – As officials from across Alberta prepare for the 2020-21 season, a special emphasis is being put on battling racism and inequality on the ice.

A number of topics were covered during the annual Officials Leadership Weekend (which was done virtually this year), with social injustice and inequality at the forefront.

Referee in Chief Craig Decoursey says equality on the ice begins with how officials treat each other.

“Part of your support will be ensuring you are inclusive, and supportive of your fellow officials, no matter their race or background,” he says. “Combating discrimination starts with us all working together to ensure a welcoming and safe refereeing environment.”

Sanjeev Bhagrath, a Sikh official from Edmonton, says he’s faced many challenges as an official who is a member of a visible minority.

“It is disappointing, unfortunate and disheartening the number of times I’ve had coaches, players and fans call me a Paki, Taliban member, or terrorist,” he says. “These comments have impacted me to the point where I’ve thought of quitting, and that I would never be accepted by the hockey world because of my colour.”

“However, my family and friends have always encouraged me to continue on and persevere,” Bhagrath says. “I will never understand why I have to be seen as a ‘brown official’ and not just ‘an official.’ We need change in hockey to make us all equal.”

In order to ensure a safe environment on the ice and respect amongst players, an increased emphasis is being put on officials to enforce discipline in situations of racism, discrimination, or inequality directed from one player, or a group of players, to another.

Charle Dumba, a Hockey Alberta official whose son, Matt, is currently working hard to lead change in the National Hockey League with the Hockey Diversity Alliance, offers his perspective as a parent and an official.

“As referees, we have a very important role to play, because we are at the grassroots level of where all of this starts,” he says. “As parents, we all want our kids to grow up a certain way, and be respectful, but we never really get to hear what they say on the ice, or hear what someone has said to them on the ice.”

“The Officials Leadership Weekend, organized by our Volunteer Leadership Coordinator, Chris Bruce, was a rousing success,” says Brett Kelly, Hockey Alberta’s Manager, Officiating. “Inequality and racism conversations are difficult to start, but that’s what we believe we’ve done – started the conversation around these vitally important causes.”

Kelly says the rule emphasis on inequality and discrimination, and the penalties associated with it, will be taught at all Hockey Alberta Officials clinics throughout the 2020-21 season.

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WHL Beyond Hockey: Austin Weisgerber — Constable

From whl.ca:

WHL Beyond Hockey is a brand new series celebrating the outstanding community contributions beyond the world of hockey made by those associated with the Western Hockey League. From Officials to Team Doctors, and everywhere in between, countless individuals across the WHL continue to put their best foot forward as they serve their community during this uncertain time.

Whether he’s helping diffuse tense situations on the ice or in the line of duty, Constable Austin Weisgerber has taken it upon himself to serve and protect.

Operating in unprecedented times, Weisgerber has showcased a strong commitment to his local community with the Medicine Hat Police Service.

“Our response and interactions have certainly changed now, with the safety of the public, ourselves, and families still at the forefront,” Weisgerber said. “Our patrol shifts now start and finish with about a 15-minute clean of our vehicles to ensure they are safe and sanitized, as well as a check of our PPE supply so we can appropriately respond to any situation protected against the virus.”

Weisgerber has also put in more than a decade of service on the ice as a hockey official. He joined the WHL for the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season and has refereed 32 WHL regular season games to date. He was also selected to work at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.

The 26-year-old has quickly adapted shared qualities from both of his professional roles.

“They’re both very similar in the sense that typically emotions are high, trying to be reasonable in unreasonable situations,” Weisgerber said. “You’re trying to be the calm voice out there to deescalate situations.

“The two go pretty well hand-in-hand.”

Under the tutelage of WHL Officials and other leaders in the field, Weisgerber said he’s realized a new level of importance for the work he does on the ice.

“You need to make sure that you’re doing your part too to keep the integrity of the game going and making sure you’re not the one controlling the outcome out there.”

In his community, the importance of the role has been heightened as well in a time when so many rely on first responders for assistance. When he’s pressed into action, he’s ready to help in any way he can.

“As much as we are trying to control some of the environments we are in, we are always ready to immediately help anyone in an emergency or potentially dangerous situation,” Weisgerber added. “One thing I have been proud of is the way our service and community have been working together to help each other out and navigate our way through these unique times.”

The WHL commends Constable Austin Weisgerber for his commitment to both professions as well as his contributions to protecting his local community.

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Hockey Alberta announces 2019-20 award winners

RED DEER - Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the recipients of the annual Hockey Alberta Awards, with three officials earning honours.

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

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

Officials receiving 2020 Hockey Alberta Awards are:

  • Official of the Year: Fraser Lawrence (Edmonton). Fraser is a Level 6 official from Edmonton who represented Canada internationally last season at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic. He has been involved provincially and regionally as an Instructor and Supervisor at Hockey Alberta’s Officials Development Camp and supervising the Alberta Cup.
  • Ernie Boruk Award: CJ Senkow (Grande Prairie). CJ has been involved in various capacities in both the North Central and Peace Region executives since 2001. He has worked all levels of hockey in Alberta and the WHL, officiated numerous Provincial and National championships, and just retired this year from the AJHL.
  • Dave Ganley Award: Geoff Da Silva (Calgary). Geoff has been officiating since the age of 16. Through Geoff’s efforts, Central Region has been able to identify and develop officials effectively and efficiently. Geoff’s ongoing contributions include participation as a league supervision in both the Alberta Junior and Midget AAA levels.

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

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Western Branches Officiating Development - Season 2, Episode 10: Conclusion

For the second straight season, the Western Hockey League, in association with BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, and Hockey Manitoba, are producing an episodic video series about development as an official. Many different topics will be covered, including nutrition, off-ice presence, and communication. There will also be interviews with current and former WHL and NHL officials. For anybody who is interested in further developing as an official, or even is just curious about what goes into officiating at the top levels, it is highly recommended you check out this series.

Episode 10 - Conclusion

See the entire series, including the seven episodes from the 2018-19 season here.

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Western Branches Officiating Development - Season 2, Episode 9: Officials Appreciation Night

For the second straight season, the Western Hockey League, in association with BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, and Hockey Manitoba, are producing an episodic video series about development as an official. Many different topics will be covered, including nutrition, off-ice presence, and communication. There will also be interviews with current and former WHL and NHL officials. For anybody who is interested in further developing as an official, or even is just curious about what goes into officiating at the top levels, it is highly recommended you check out this series.

Episode 9 - Officials Appreciation Night

See the entire series, including the seven episodes from the 2018-19 season here.

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Western Branches Officiating Development - Season 2, Episode 8: Communication

For the second straight season, the Western Hockey League, in association with BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, and Hockey Manitoba, are producing an episodic video series about development as an official. Many different topics will be covered, including nutrition, off-ice presence, and communication. There will also be interviews with current and former WHL and NHL officials. For anybody who is interested in further developing as an official, or even is just curious about what goes into officiating at the top levels, it is highly recommended you check out this series.

Episode 8 - Communication


See the entire series, including the seven episodes from the 2018-19 season here.

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Western Branches Officiating Development - Season 2, Episode 7: Work/Life Balance & Recruitment

For the second straight season, the Western Hockey League, in association with BC Hockey, Hockey Alberta, the Saskatchewan Hockey Association, and Hockey Manitoba, are producing an episodic video series about development as an official. Many different topics will be covered, including nutrition, off-ice presence, and communication. There will also be interviews with current and former WHL and NHL officials. For anybody who is interested in further developing as an official, or even is just curious about what goes into officiating at the top levels, it is highly recommended you check out this series.

Episode 7 - Work/Life Balance & Recruitment

See the entire series, including the seven episodes from the 2018-19 season here.

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Chad Huseby (right) and Fraser Lawrence (2nd from left) represented Alberta and Canada at the IIHF World Juniors.


Chad Huseby reflects on the World Juniors

CHAD HUSEBY RECENTLY RETURNED FROM THE IIHF WORLD JUNIOR HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIPS, AND REFLECTED ON HIS TIME IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC.

Recently I had the opportunity to represent Hockey Alberta, Hockey Canada and the Western Hockey League on the international stage at the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is something that I will truly never forget.

My journey started on December 23 as I made the long journey to the Czech Republic. Upon arrival in Ostrava I was introduced to the rest of the officiating team, along with the IIHF officiating coaching staff that was assigned to this event. Twelve referees and 10 linesmen along with four officiating coaches and the IIHF officiating manager is what made up the 11th team of the tournament. This team of 27 was very diverse with officials and coaches coming from eight different countries. It was extremely special to sit in our meetings on Christmas Day as we prepared for what we were facing in the coming days. We all come from different backgrounds and different styles of game play but for the next two weeks we knew we would need to trust each other and work together to serve the game and the tournament as best as we possibly could.

The games and the atmosphere around the games was amazing! They do hockey differently in the Czech Republic, the games have a party atmosphere that is tough to match in North America. That made being on the ice and being in the stands special. The tournament was very well attended and the people in Ostrava love the game of hockey! It was amazing to see how many Canadian fans made the long journey across the pond; it was very cool to be part of a tournament that means so much to Canadians.

I ended up having a very successful tournament and was fortunate enough to work seven games in total. I worked four games during the round robin and then was assigned to work a quarter-final, a semi-final, and then ultimately the bronze medal assignment on the final day of competition.

I feel extremely thankful for this amazing opportunity. Every game we had a detailed supervision from one of the officiating coaches as well as detailed video work that helped us as we moved throughout the tournament. I know that officiating always seems to be a topic of discussion at these events, but after having been to one and having seen the work that the IIHF and the officiating team puts in behind the scenes I can tell you that I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the 11th team at the tournament and I am proud of the work that we did.

I would be remiss not to thank my wife Lindsay for her support, having four young children, it was a huge sacrifice for me to leave for 2 weeks at the busiest time of the year. I also need to thank Hockey Alberta, Brett Kelly, and Curtis Nichols for their continued support. It was awesome to work with the other Alberta official, Fraser Lawrence, in all three of my playoff assignments. I feel like we were able to show the world the level of officiating that this province produces.

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