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Hockey Canada

New policy mandates cross-ice and half-ice hockey

CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada wants all of Canada on the same page when it comes to the delivery of its Initiation Program – traditionally a player's first brush with organized hockey at the ages of five and six.

Although the Initiation Program – originally developed more than 35 years ago – always recommended cross-ice or half-ice small-area games, its delivery has varied from community to community. Beginning in the upcoming 2017-18 season, a new Hockey Canada policy now mandates that Initiation-aged players receive age-appropriate programming on cross-ice or half-ice surfaces.

"You would never put a five- or six-year-old child on a full-size soccer pitch, or expect them to play basketball without any adjustments made for their size. Hockey is no different," said Paul Carson, vice-president of membership development for Hockey Canada, who notes that while some provinces and communities already deliver cross-ice programming at the Initiation level, others have always utilized full ice for practices and games.

"The Initiation Program was developed to allow kids to have fun, learn skills, and develop confidence," said Carson. "Re-sizing the playing surface to cross-ice or half-ice means more puck-touches, which result in more chances to practice puck-control and shooting, as well as overall more movement and motor skill-development – twisting, turning, balance, coordination, agility. Their field-of-play matches their size, and these players hone in on their skill-development in a way that larger ice surfaces just aren't conducive to."

The differences in skill-development opportunities with cross-ice or half-ice hockey are significant: players receive five times more passes and take six times more shots. They're called on to have to make more decisions more quickly, and are overall more engaged in the game.

Special boards and bumpers have been developed that allow for quick and easy division of a regular-sized rink into two half-ice surfaces or three cross-ice rinks, with options to create different small-area configurations. Not only does re-sizing the playing surface allow for Initiation-aged players to develop their hockey skills more effectively, it also allows communities to maximize their ice time by safely putting more teams and games on the ice at one time.

Instruction on delivering age-appropriate programming will also be available to coaches trained in the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Coach 1 – Intro Coach. This clinic, delivered by Hockey Canada's 13 members, is geared towards coaches of entry-level players to provide resources that will aid in the implementation of skill-development and game play.

To ensure all members of the Alberta hockey community understand the new mandate for the Initiation Program, Hockey Alberta will be undertaking a multi-faceted communication plan that includes the following opportunities for engagement and updates:
· May 6-7: in-person with Minor Hockey Association (MHA) presidents/executive members during Spring Conference sessions held in Okotoks and Fort Saskatchewan.
· June 17-18: in-person with Development Directors for MHAs, and Provincial Coach 1 Facilitators at the Hockey Alberta Development Seminar in Sylvan Lake.
· September: in-person with Initiation Program Directors for MHAs (date/location TBA)
· October-November 15: in-person as part of Coach 1 Clinic delivery (locations across the province)
· Online at, where Initiation Program and development materials can be accessed by any member of the hockey community.

Resources such as the Hockey Canada Network – a best-in-class skill-development resource geared to coaches – features information on the purpose of cross-ice hockey and how to run effective on-ice sessions for the five- and six-year-old Initiation age group.

Hockey Canada has also produced a video that features renowned sport scientist Dr. Steve Norris; Olympic, World Cup, world, and Stanley Cup champion Sidney Crosby (Cole Harbour, N.S./Pittsburgh, NHL); Memorial Cup, World Cup, and IIHF World Championship-winning coach Bill Peters (Three Hills, Alta./Carolina, NHL); and Olympic gold-medallist and two-time IIHF Women's World Championship silver-medallist Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) describing the importance of small area games and cross-ice/half-ice hockey.

For more information on Hockey Canada and the Initiation Program, please visit, or follow along through social media on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information, please contact:
Lisa Dornan
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada

Medicine Hat News: Hat native Stan Schwartz called to Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Medicine Hat native Stan Schwartz is heading to the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

The former Calgary Stampeders president is among six Canadian Football League greats named on Thursday morning as the induction class of 2017.

Schwartz is joined by standout players Kelvin Anderson, Anthony Calvillo, Mike O'Shea and Geroy Simon, as well as University of Saskatchewan Huskies coach Brian Towriss.

The ceremony will take place on Sept. 15 at the Hall of Fame Game in Hamilton and further celebrations will take place prior to the 105th Grey Cup game in Ottawa in November.

Schwartz joined the Stampeders in 1976 where he served as assistant coach, and he eventually became the club's president in 1996. The Stamps appeared in eight Grey Cup games during his time, winning five. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in 2005, and is a member of the Medicine Hat sports wall of fame.

Press Release from Hockey Alberta


RED DEER – Five outstanding individuals, and perhaps one of the most celebrated families in all of hockey comprise the 2017 Induction Class for the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame (AHHF).

Hockey Alberta and the Hockey Alberta Foundation announced on Wednesday the 2017 inductees who will be recognized at the AHHF Awards Gala in Canmore:

Mel Davidson, three-time Olympic gold medalist (Head Coach, Canadian Women's national team).
Bill Hay, Stanley Cup champion, and former head of the Hockey Hall of Fame
Tony Kollman, one of the most noteable senior hockey players of the 1960s
Perry Pearn, second-winningest coach in ACAC history, including six ACAC championships.
Glen Sather, former coach, general manager and president of the 5-time Stanley Cup champion Edmonton Oilers
The Sutter family – Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Gary, Rich, Ron, Grace and Louis.
Inductee Bios >

We invite you to celebrate the legacy of these Alberta hockey legends on Sunday, July 23 at the Coast Hotel in Canmore. For ticket information, click here.

For further information, please contact:

Brad Lyon
Senior Manager, Communications
Hockey Alberta


Danielle Kraichy
Manager, Marketing & Events
Hockey Alberta


Press Release from Hockey Alberta


RED DEER – Six months of regular season and tournament action, including up to six weeks of games in Zone playdowns, culminates this month, as teams prepare to "March to a title" at the 2017 Hockey Alberta Provincial Championships, presented by ATB Financial.

Tournament action will determine the majority of the 2017 provincial champions. 14 titles will be awarded on March 19. March 26 will see another 16 champions crowned. The remaining five champions will be determined on April 2. Tournament champions will emerge from a weekend of round-robin pool play and playoff action in their respective tournaments.

The slate of provincial championship tournaments starts this weekend, March 16-19 in fourteen locations around Alberta.

Provincial championships set for March 16-19 include: Midget Female AAA (Okotoks), Bantam A (Grande Prairie), Bantam B (Springbank), Bantam C (CNN), Bantam D (Hanna), Bantam Female Elite (Olds), Bantam Female B (Leduc), Atom AA Major (Fort McMurray), Atom AA Minor (Sturgeon), Atom A (Foothills), Atom B (Fairview), Atom C (Provost), Atom D (Delburne), Atom Female (Battle River).

Provincial championships set for March 22/23-26 include: Junior C (Calgary), Minor Midget AAA (Grande Prairie), Midget A (Strathmore), Midget B (Rocky Mountain House), Midget C (Slave Lake), Midget D (Elk Point), Midget Female Elite (Sherwood Park), Midget Female A (Edmonton), Midget Female B (High Prairie), Bantam Female A (Edmonton), Peewee A (Lloydminster), Peewee B (3 Cs), Peewee C (Athabasca), Peewee D (Kneehill), Peewee Female A (Calgary), Peewee Female B (Lacoka).

Provincial championships set for March 30-April 2 include: Senior AA (Wainwright), Junior B (St. Paul), Midget AA (Okotoks), Bantam AA (Olds), Peewee AA (Edmonton).

Four champions will be determined via league playoffs: Senior AAA, Junior A, Midget AAA, and Bantam AAA.

For schedules, arenas, host organizations, and other event-specific information, check the Hockey Alberta website at or the Provincial Championships website at

Provincial championship host locations were awarded in mid-December, and in the ensuing months, organizing committees in communities across Alberta have been busy securing local sponsors, organizing opening ceremonies, confirming teams and schedules, ordering souvenirs and player gifts, arranging for accommodations, and numerous other tasks to ensure that the participating teams have a memorable experience.

In addition to the on-ice action, several communities will participate in True Spirit of Hockey Day activities in their location communities. In conjunction with the Provincial Championship tournament hosts in these communities, a local school is hosting a number of fun activities, allowing students to learn about hockey, and the teamwork and friendships that can be generated in the sport. Participating communities are: 3Cs, Athabasca, Battle River, Delburne, Elk Point, Fairview, Fort McMurray, Hanna, High Prairie, Kneehill, Okotoks, Olds, Rocky Mountain House, Slave Lake, Sherwood Park and Strathmore.

Photo: Brian Calkins – On Sight Photography from 2016 Provincial Championships.

For more information, please contact:
Brad Lyon
Senior Manager, Communications



It is with great sadness that the Calgary Stampeders learn of the death of Stamps legend Ezzrett (Sugarfoot) Anderson on Wednesday at the age of 97.

Anderson joined the Red and White in 1949 and retired as an active player in 1955 but he was a Stampeder for life. The Nashville, Ark., native settled in Calgary after his playing career and remained active with the Stamps as a ticket account rep and ambassador into his 90s.

Anderson, the only player in franchise history to wear "00," earned legions of friends with his good humour and story-telling prowess.

"Sugarfoot is an iconic figure in Stampeders history," said Stamps president and general manager John Hufnagel. "He was a link to the early days of the franchise and he was a frequent and welcome presence at McMahon Stadium and Stampeders functions for many years. He will be sorely missed and we offer our condolences to his family and his many, many friends."

Anderson was a West all-star at the end position in 1949 and he made 142 catches for 2,020 yards as a member of the Red and White while scoring 10 touchdowns. He was added to the Stampeders Wall of Fame in 1990 and to the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

In addition to his football achievements, Anderson did some acting. He appeared in the 1949 Shirley Temple film The Story of Seabiscuit and had uncredited roles in five other movies including The Snows of Kilimanjaro starring Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward and Ava Gardner.

Aricle from CBC News Edmonton: This Canadian basketball team ruled the world — and now gets a moment of fame

Kay MacBeth is 95 years old and the last surviving member of one of the greatest dynasties in sports, a group of Canadian athletes whose accomplishments have been, until now, often overlooked.

"I was part of something special," she says. "I didn't realize how special."

MacBeth, as a teenager, was a player on the Edmonton Grads, an unbelievably successful women's basketball team. The Grads became Canadian, North American and world champions in the 1920s, titles the team held for years.

The Grads played hundreds of games against challengers from Canada, the U.S. and Europe, winning about 95 percent of their matches, an astonishing success rate for any team in any sport.

Many Canadians have never heard of the Grads, but now a Heritage Minute spot about the team has been released, in honour of International Women's Day.

Dr. James Naismith, the Canadian who invented the game of basketball, said the Grads were "finest basketball team that ever stepped out on a floor."

Created in 1915, the team disbanded in 1940, the record-setting run ended by World War II and the lack of suitable competition. The Grads simply won too often.

'It was my life'

MacBeth, who now lives in a retirement home in Toronto, was on the final team.

"It was my life," she says. "I loved it."

The Grads first won a Canadian title in 1922 and were declared world champions the next year, after defeating a team from Cleveland.

Women's basketball was not an Olympic sport in that era, but the Grads regularly toured Europe and competed against other squads in matches held in conjunction with the Olympic games.

The Grads often won by devastating margins. In 1928, for example, they beat a French team 109–20.

"They were a group of ordinary women who did the extraordinary," says Ann Hall, who wrote The Grads Are Playing Tonight!, a book about the amateur team and its legacy.

"They were clerks and salesgals and typists," she says. "They had to work the whole time they were practising and playing."

They were also role models. When the team was founded, many people thought the idea of women competing in sports was unseemly and even unhealthy. The success and popularity of the Grads changed attitudes.

Naismith wrote the team a glowing letter in 1936, praising the team for what else it accomplished, beyond its wins, championships and trophies.

Playing for the Grads was a serious commitment. For 25 years, the team's coach was J. Percy Page, who demanded both effort and excellence.

"You must play basketball, think basketball and dream basketball," he told his players.

Making the team wasn't easy. Staying was tough too.

"There was no drinking," MacBeth says. "If you smoked, you were off the team."

Page emphasized teamwork and, no matter how important the game or tough the competition, sportsmanship.

"We were told to be ladies at all times," MacBeth says. "You didn't shove anybody around. You didn't give them an elbow. Just played a nice lady-like game, be fast and smart."

MacBeth shook her head at the thought of women being discouraged from playing sports.

"We practiced against men all the time," she says. And they practiced hard. Anything less than full effort and the offender would be ordered to run dozens of laps around the court.

Shooting Stars, a National Film Board documentary released in the 1980s, told the story of the Grads. The Heritage Minute is expected to reach millions more Canadians.

"It was certainly a very important part of my life," says MacBeth. More than 75 years after the team folded, she hasn't lost her instincts.

Handed a basketball and asked to hold it to demonstrate her shooting style, MacBeth immediately fired the ball.

It was too low for her taste.

"I can't do anything," she says. "I have a bum shoulder."

Then she fired the ball again, this time right into my stomach.

The competitive spirit that drove the Grads to hundreds of victories hasn't left her. Nor has her satisfaction with being part of one of the most successful sporting teams in history.

"It's still with me," she says. "It's in my heart."

And the message from all those wins all those years ago?

"Women can do it too."