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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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