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Publisher’s Message

20. Wendy’s Arena Locator Map


Letter from Alberta Health


Hockey Helps the Homeless By Maurice Tougas

23. Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team Orientation Camp By Jeremy Freeborn


Simon Cudmore: From Scoring Goals on Ice to Scoring Goals in the Showroom By Shari Narine

16. Hockey Canada Skills Combine By Mourice Tougas

26. Edmonton Oilers Preview By Jeremy Freeborn 28. 32.

Off The Ice & In The Community By Andrea Rutt Do Girls Thrive Playing Hockey With Boys? By Jason Gregor

34. Spotlight on an Official By Rob Suggitt

Ten-year-old Simon Cudmore is featured on our cover. Simon is featured in this issue for his volunteer efforts dedicating to helping less fortunate kids play hockey.  For more on this story (and Simon), check out page 14 in this issue. Hockey Edmonton Magazine



MESSAGE FROM HOCKEY EDMONTON Well, hello again. Our first edition of the 2013-14 season hits the newsstands as we launch Round 1 of EFHC play with more players this year than last. To get here, members of our executive and standing committees have been busy since the end of last season as have our counterparts in the districts, operating areas and athletic clubs. Thank you for your extraordinary contributions. Ahead of us are practices, league games, tournaments, and events that make our sport and the memories we acquire by participating in hockey so special. Our mission is: “To provide through excellent integrated partnerships, strong leadership, and engaged member organizations; developmental programs and competitive opportunities that encourage and inspire holistic development of all members.” The actions of all of our members contribute to the successes our participants enjoy. I’m pleased to recognize 50 plus individuals who have dedicated an extraordinary amount of time this fall to ensure the success of our Novice Coach Mentorship pilot project. Initial response has been positive and we look forward to each of the next touch points throughout the season. 9 We have a number of teams engaged in safety initiatives once again this season. A Brain Care Centre initiative supports our AA council teams. We have two peewee initiatives - the Cohort Study with U of A and U of C and the Managing Concussions in Hockey Edmonton study with U of A. The education and services that participating teams receive are greatly appreciated. For the latter two, we are pleased to contribute to the acquisition of knowledge in this area – especially in a bench mark year. Through the sport of hockey, Hockey Edmonton aims to foster development of active, healthy lifestyles. No doubt most of you are familiar with the Stollery Family Day Classic tournament that runs annually in February. We are pleased to sanction and partner with this community fixture, which delivers such a unique developmental and competitive opportunity for young hockey players along with community capacity by introducing them to philanthropy, and provides a large injection of funding to the Stollery Hospital Foundation. Our sincere thanks are extended to Steve Serdachny and the SFDC Committee for the great work they do annually. We appreciate the recent directed-donation of $45,000 for use within our Individual Skills Development Program. This donation brings the total to $123,000 over three years. The initiatives funded by the SFDC donation are as unique and of as high standard as the ‘classic’ itself – and they are available to all members of Hockey Edmonton at no charge. In 2011-12 the Strategic Plan for Hockey Edmonton Foundation was developed. Our aim is to align Hockey Edmonton with the future of hockey while moving the board into a non-profit board governance model. We will continue to work on four key areas: board governance, recruitment and retention, operational excellence, as well as development and long term player development. Over the next few months. member organizations, via their presidents, will be engaged and asked to actively participate in moving this important project forward. In November approximately 70 leaders of hockey in Edmonton have been invited to join us in the next phase of our organizational capacity building and strategic planning process. Together, we will examine principles, best management practices, and performance measures that comprise the organizational excellence framework. Our work will centre on nine key principles including leadership involvement, alignment, focus on the customer, people involvement, partnership development, data-based decision-making, and continuous improvement. There is no doubt that Edmonton is home to some of the very best athletes, coaches, instructors, and volunteers. From entry to advanced levels of play, with long term player development as our cornerstone, Hockey Edmonton will be known for its progressive and innovative approach to hockey – measured by response to stakeholder needs and provision of a diverse continuum of opportunity. Working collectively as leaders in society we will continue to make hockey better for Edmontonians. Hockey Edmonton looks forward to celebrating another great season of hockey with you.

Respectfully, Betty Chmilar President, Hockey Edmonton

2013-2013 Executive and League Directors 10618 - 124 St., Edmonton, AB T5N 1S3 Ph: (780) 413-3498 • Fax: (780) 440-6475 To contact any of the Executive or Standing Committees please visit our website

President: Betty Chmilar Past President: Lorne MacDonald VP Admin: Mark Doram VP Operations: Vacant VP Development: Chris Hurley Treasurer: Barry Bentz Junior Chairman: George Metez Federation Chairman: Kasey Kozicky AA Chairman: Will Jang General Manager: Dean Hengel Administrator: Loree Dawson Finance: Sharon Fleming

Standing Committees Hockey Alberta Director(s): Paul Schmidt | Lorne MacDonald Hockey Alberta Manager of Operations: Betty Chmilar Hockey Edmonton Alumni President: Orest Zaozirny Registrar: Nadine Shimizu Ice: Bernie Coderre Discipline & Sanctioning: Marg Brownoff Minor Hockey Week: Marvin Babiuk School Hockey: Jason Stewart Recreational Hockey League: Murray McKinnon Referee Representatives: Herman Costa (AA) | Duncan MacDougall (Federation)

League Directors

Federation Hockey Council Midget: Terry Fulmer Bantam: Art Wilson Pee Wee: Crystal Feader Atom: David Onyschuk Novice: Lil Kordic Initiation: TBA

AA Council Bantam AAA: Ed Croken Bantam AA: Russ Lukawesky Major Midget AAA: Bob Olynyk Minor Midget AAA: Mike Grekul Midget AA: Stephan Rem 15 Midget AA: Mike Hennessey

Quikcard Edmonton Minor Hockey Week Committee Chair: Marvin Babiuk Past Chairpersons: Joan Kirillo, Rod McMahon & Terry Brown Vice Chairperson: Bill Renshaw Treasurer: Deb Bykowski Secretary: Ana Bennett Website: Doug Kirillo Central: Bill Ross Schedules: Darrell Davis Sponsorship & Marketing: Marvin Babiuk

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PUBLISHER’S MESSAGE Welcome back to another hockey season! In this issue of the magazine, we have a special article on the Hyundai Hockey Helpers program, which was launched in partnership with KidSport in 2012. Fundraising generated through this program helped over 240 kids in our province lace up skates last season. Also in the spirit of giving back to the community is a program called “Hockey Helps the Homeless,” which was launched in 1996. This year marks the first time the event took place in Edmonton. Noteworthy is that over $5 million has been sent to organizations that work with the homeless across Canada since the first tournament took place. Finishing up under the category of community giving, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) plays a prominent role in our city. Focussing on helping out in the areas of education, health and wellness, one of the foundation’s largest projects to date has been the re-development of Edmonton’s Inner City High School. In looking at the EOCF’s overall community support, the foundation has contributed over $22 million since it’s inception in 2001. And as the foundation is quick to acknowledge, this would not be possible without the generosity and support of Oilers fans. For Oilers fans, there is hope and optimism for the future, and while the team is off to a bit of a rough start (at press time), we’re hoping the team can turn things around, and be in playoff contention by the Christmas break or the Olympic break. And with this season being an Olympic year, we sent one of our senior writers to Calgary this past summer to do a feature on the Olympic Orientation Camp, which included Oilers players Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle as prospects to make the Olympic team. Getting back to minor hockey, we would like to draw attention to a mainstay in the magazine – our “Spotlight on an Official” feature which graces the last pages of the magazine. We started this feature 12 years ago and to date over 30 young officials have been highlighted. We think it’s important to take the helmets off these young participants in the game, so that parents, coaches and fans are reminded that officials are similar in age to the kids who play the game. Players make mistakes, and so do officials, but positive encouragement goes a long way to keep our kids involved in this great sport! Until next time, we wish everyone all the best this hockey season!

Credits President and Publisher Rob Suggitt Vice President Stephen Kathnelson Art Director Christine Kucher Graphic Designers Cailey Buxton Cole McKelvie Contributing Writers Jeremy Freeborn | Shari Narine Rob Suggitt | Terry Skidnuk Maurice Tougas | Andrea Rutt | Jason Gregor Cover Photo Provided by Avonlea Photography Studio Copy Editing Shari Narine Photography Credits SC Parker Photography Andy Devlin - Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club © Avonlea Photography Studio Gary Peterson - Action Sports Images Hockey Canada Images Administration Suzanne Peacock Playhouse Publications Ltd. also publishes the Citadel Theatre Playbill, Edmonton Opera Playbill, Arden Theatre Playbill, Fringe Theatre Adventures Arts at the Barns Magazine and the Calgary Opera Program #950, Bell Tower, 10104 - 103 Ave., Edmonton, AB T5J 0H8 Ph: 780-423-5834 • Fax: 780-413-6185 The Hockey Edmonton Magazine is a product of Playhouse Publications Ltd., an affiliate of Suggitt Group Ltd.

President & CEO Tom Suggitt President & CFO Rob Suggitt All rights reserved. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed within do not necessarily represent the opinions of the publisher or Hockey Edmonton. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher. Printed by: R.R. Donnelley

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook Sincerely, Rob Suggitt Publisher, Hockey Edmonton Magazine

Hockey Edmonton Magazine



Hockey Edmonton Magazine



By Maurice Tougas Photos provided by SC Parker Photography

Back in 1996, a soft drink company executive organized a oneday hockey tournament for hockey fans in the industry. Today, that same executive oversees a nationwide series of hockey tournaments that combine the fun of playing with former NHLers with the serious business of fighting homelessness. Hockey Helps the Homeless took to the ice for the first time in Edmonton at the Terwillegar Rec Centre on Sept. 7, joining the ranks of other NHL cities that have embraced the concept. Collectively, Hockey Helps the Homeless has sent more than $5 million to organizations that work with the homeless across the country. Gary Scullion, president and CEO of Hockey Helps the Homeless, was with the Coca-Cola Company in Toronto in the 1990s. One of his jobs was to organize a fun hockey tournament for people in the industry, which was held at the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens. The response was tremendous, Scullion recalls, so much so that a couple of his friends suggested that they charge a bit for the tournament and turn the money over to a charitable cause. But what cause? At the time, the issue of “squeegee kids” ( homeless teens who would squeegee car windows at stop lights, whether you wanted it or not, in return for money) was a hot issue in Toronto. With homelessness the issue of the day, Scullion and his friends came up with the idea of turning the proceeds of the tournament over to organizations that help the homeless. From there, Hockey Helps the Homeless was born. The first tournament in 1996 raised $8,300. “We realized that we were onto something,” said Scullion. In the beginning, Scullion and the other organizers took a hands-on approach to their mission. They used the proceeds to buy what they called “survival kits” for the homeless — hats, gloves, scarves, sleeping bags, and other necessities.

Hockey Edmonton Magazine


“We would actually load up a couple of vans, and go into the streets of Toronto and find homeless people and hand them out.”

“Since it began in 1996, Hockey Helps the Homeless has raised more than $5 million and distributed it to dozens of organizations that aid the homeless.”

That probably wasn’t the most efficient way to spend the money, but for Scullion, meeting the homeless was “a life-changing moment. Just engaging with the homeless made me realize that no one in this country should be homeless. That drove my passion and the passion of other committee members.” What separated Hockey Helps the Homeless from other fundraisers was the inclusion of former NHLers. Hockey Hall of Fame member Mike Gartner, a popular ex-Maple Leaf, enlisted some of his former teammates to join the event. With the added element of beer league hockey players getting a chance to play with actual National Hockey Leaguers, the idea took off. In 2000, Hockey Helps the Homeless branched out to Montreal, where it met with similar success. That’s when it dawned on Scullion that the concept should be expanded to every Canadian city in the NHL. Scullion, who was then running Cadbury Canada, made the decision in 2007 to devote himself to running Hockey Helps the Homeless full-time. With a full-time CEO in place, Hockey Helps the Homeless expanded to Calgary, Vancouver and Ottawa from 2008-10, and this year Edmonton, Winnipeg, and London, Ont. joined. Hockey Helps the Homeless now has four full-time staff members, and a growing army of 250 volunteers. Most significantly, the organization has more than quadrupled the money it will give out to organizations that work with the homeless this year — more than $1 million this year alone. Since it began in 1996, Hockey Helps the Homeless has raised more than $5 million


and distributed it to dozens of organizations that aid the homeless. “The whole idea is to provide a pro experience for a day to the average Joe — and Jill,” said Scullion.

Players get the VIP treatment, complete with pro-style jersey, on-site sports therapist, a chance to rub shoulder pads with two former professional players per team, and posttournament banquet. Each player chips in $150 to reserve a spot on a team. But their spot is not guaranteed until they raise a minimum of $350. With the money raised from the players, and the assistance of dozens of national and local sponsors, a typical event will raise between $200,000 to $300,000 for a one-day tournament, with some raising close to $400,000. Each tournament has a local hero flavour among the 150 former NHLers who have participated over the years. For the inaugural Edmonton tournament, participants laced up the blades with Marty McSorley, Mike Krushelnyski, Craig Simpson, Mike and Paul Comrie,

Jason Strudwick, Dave Lumley, Louis DeBrusk, Fernando Pisani and others. The Edmonton women’s teams included multiple Olympic medal winners Sami Jo Small and Cherie Piper. In Edmonton, for the inaugural tournament, eight men’s teams and four women’s teams took to the ice, totaling nearly 200 players. The expected $100,000 raised will go to a program run by the Jasper Place Health and Wellness Centre that trains 10-15 formerly homeless people to help them re-enter the workforce, and towards helping the centre expand its capacity. “What we’re trying to do as an organization is to leverage this great national pastime to really help educate and maybe change people’s perceptions about why people are on the street,” said Scullion. “It’s not just the individual who has a substance abuse problem who is on the streets. Over 50 per cent of people living on the streets suffer from mental health issues, and the fastest growing population on the street is youths under age 18.” Scullion is quick to add that Hockey Helps the Homeless wouldn’t exist without the volunteers who donate their time to running the show in each city. The support of volunteers allows the organization to keep its organization costs low; Scullion says 76 per cent of the net revenue generated from the tournaments went directly to support outreach programs across the country last year. This year, he hopes that number will reach 85 per cent.

For more information on the tournament, go to

Hockey Edmonton Magazine


Ten-year-old Simon Cudmore has turned his skill for scoring goals on the ice to scoring goals in the showroom. And with every puck the talented forward for the SWAT atom team sinks, he earns money to help less-fortunate kids play hockey. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Simon, who didn’t think twice about dedicating his spare time on weekends in October to don a Hyundai Hockey Helpers jersey for West Edmonton Hyundai and raise funds for KidSport, dedicated to registration, equipment and other hockeyrelated costs to allow more youngsters to gear up and get the same experience Simon does on the ice. Simon’s dad, Willie Cudmore, works at West Edmonton Hyundai. Simon was asked to donate his skills with his hockey stick for one weekend as the dealership took a unique approach to Hyundai’s month-long national campaign to raise money for the Hyundai’s Hockey Helper program. Every time a vehicle was taken a for test drive, the dealership donated $5 to the cause. Simon was given the opportunity to up the ante by as much as $40: all he had to do was deposit a ball in the pocket marked $40 in a hockey net set up in the showroom. He could also hit $10, $20 and $30 pockets. Simon had so much fun the first time around, he said he would do it every weekend in October. Simon’s enthusiasm for the project surprised his mother. “He’s kind of a quieter kid, but it’s a great cause, he loves hockey and it’s a fun thing to do to raise money,” said Susanne Large-Cudmore. “He puts in quite a few hours, whatever he can manage there because it’s busy at the dealership and it brings a lot more attention and focus to the program.” Simon’s time on West Edmonton Hyundai’s dealership floor is sandwiched around one or two games each weekend. “I do it because I can’t imagine what it would be like without hockey for a kid that wants to play,” said Simon, who is already a veteran with five years of experience having started playing at the initiation level. Not only is Large-Cudmore impressed with her son’s willingness to help a worthy cause, she is also impressed with Hyundai’s dedication to give back. “Any time companies can come on board and provide money and grants for any type of sport, it’s a good thing,” she said. “It’s just a great, great cause to be part of.” After operating for 30 years in Canada, Hyundai Canada decided it was time to give back.

By Shari Narine Photos provided by Avonlea Photography Studio


“We looked around and we noticed that the cost of hockey was starting to rise and the accessibility of the sport was getting out of reach for a growing number of families,” said Chad Heard, public relations manager with Hyundai Canada, out of Markham. “Organized hockey really teaches kids more than how to shoot a puck. It teaches team-work, resiliency, dedication, and determination. Those are life skills that we saw this growing population missing out on.” Hyundai approached KidSport and KidSport agreed to administer Hyundai’s efforts, dedicating the money the car dealership raised to all-things minor hockey. It is the second year for Hyundai Hockey Helpers. Funds raised last year helped 240 kids from Alberta and close to 1,900 from across the country get in the game for 2012-2013. Heard expects that number to break 2,500 for this season.

While the directive for the October month-long efforts for fundraising came from the national office, each dealership was left to devise their own plan. Heard thinks West Edmonton Hyundai’s approach is “pretty unique.” Simon agrees totally. “A lot of (the customers) say, ‘Shoot for the $40.’ They say lots of encouraging things.” While Simon has never hit the $40 spot, he has been successful with the $30. For Large-Cudmore, she sees her son taking the skills he’s learned from the game and using them in his life.

“I’m very proud of him,” she said. “I think it’s a great leadership role to take for kids, showing other kids what they can do on the side to support a worthy cause.”

The response to the fundraising efforts has been “incredible,” said Heard. “It’s the first time we’ve ever done anything like this.”

Hockey Edmonton Magazine


It’s a pleasant June Saturday morning in Edmonton. The sun is warming the day, and moms and dads and kids are streaming into the gleaming new Terwillegar Recreation Centre. The long winter is just a memory, spring is nearly over, summer is beckoning, and inside the rec centre dozens of kids are sweating it out in their …. hockey gear? Ah, Edmonton, where the off-season for hockey lasts maybe two weeks. What brings more than 60 young hockey players inside to play a winter game on a lovely spring day?

“In the end, they should get a prescription of what they need to work on to allow themselves to be better, and potentially roster at a higher level then they have been capable of rostering before,” said Dean Hengel, the general manager of Hockey Edmonton, which hosted the Sport Check Hockey Canada Skills Combine.

“the players get a report card that tells them where they rank within their group and nationally, based on the drills and tests done across the country.”

It was the Edmonton stop of the Sport Check Hockey Canada Skills Combine, a chance for young hockey players to test their on and off-ice skills and compare themselves to others. The players were put through their paces in a series of drills, with their results recorded. At the end of the weekend, the players get a “report card” that tells them where they rank within their group and nationally, based on the drills and tests done across the country. On the ice, it’s drill, drill, drill. In one timed drill, a player does a complete loop outside the face-off circle, races towards the blue-line where he performs a tight circle around a pylon, races across the rink


to circle another pylon, then does another loop around the other face-off circle and finishes behind the goal line. Volunteers (who gave up large parts of their weekend, in return for a Hockey Canada track suit, a Bauer longs-sleeve shirt, Nike apparel and shoes) with stopwatches and clipboards monitor and record their times.

It gives them an accurate measure of their abilities, and gives them time to improve in the off-season. Ideally, Hengel says, hockey associations or clubs can use the same programs and run them pre-season, once or twice mid-season, then post-season to chart the progress of the athlete. While it all sounds quite intense, Hengel says the kids on the ice on a June day are not necessarily the high-end athletes.

“It’s a mixture of A, AA and AAA athletes,” he said. What these peewee and bantam kids have in common is their love of hockey and their desire to become better players. The Sport Check Hockey Canada Skills Combine traces its history back to the 1999 Molson Open Ice Summit on Player Development in Canada. At that meeting, delegates from the game’s grassroots asked Hockey Canada to look into ways to celebrate skill development in hockey. With the emphasis on games and team play, it’s often easy for skills — the backbone of the game — to get the short end of the hockey stick. In Canadian minor hockey, Hockey Canada says coaches should be encouraged to foster the development of the skills required to play the game at the minor level. But the question was, how to do this? The best way is to measure and provide feedback on skills development, and Hockey Canada set out to develop a program that allows players, parents and hockey associations to measure success beyond the traditional metric of wins and losses. This is where the Hockey Canada Skills Combine comes in. The series of six individual skill tests were designed by Hockey Canada to measure the skill level of players. The tests may be run

by a team coach, and they require little equipment other than pylons, stopwatches and clipboards. The tests include: agility weave skate, agility transition skate, and speed skate both forward and backward. Players should be tested twice a season, but if ice time is available, three times is ideal. Regular testing allows the coaches, parents and the players to track their progress (or lack thereof) during the season, and allows all parties to see where the player needs to improve — or where the coach needs to improve. Hockey Canada says it is important that the “testing environment” is set up in the same way at each test, so that the data can be meaningful and accurate. The tests should be run at the beginning of the season (establishes the baseline for the player and the team), mid-season (measures

Hockey Edmonton Magazine


improvement), and end of season (measures improvement from start of the season). With just six assistants, a six-station test can be administered during one ice session, with all stations active at the same time. But it wasn’t all on-ice activity. In the second part of the combine, the players were put through the Nike SPARQ protocol. During the protocol, the players weight and height were recorded, as were their results in events like a two-hop jump, rotational power ball throw, a 20-meter sprint, and others.


Hockey Edmonton Magazine



Hockey Edmonton Magazine



For two days in August at Canada Olympic Park’s Markin McPhail Arena, it was difficult not to be star struck. As 45 of the best Canadian hockey players in the National Hockey League went through various ball hockey drills for the Canadian Olympic Men’s National Hockey Team Orientation Camp, it was amazing to witness the calibre of talent gathered together in one arena at a single time.

Watching head coach Mike Babcock take the all-star team through his systems he has developed in preparation for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, left many of the media in awe.

“There are so many things to do in preparation for the Olympics”

On the floor you had the reigning Ted Lindsay Award winner Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins; the reigning Art Ross Trophy winner Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning; the last two Selke winners— Jonathan Toews, of the Chicago Blackhawks and Patrice Bergeron, of the Boston Bruins; 2011 Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks; along with Norris Trophy winners Duncan Keith, of the Chicago Blackhawks and P.K. Subban, of the Montreal Canadiens; just to mention a few.

TSN’s Jermain Franklin was asked by a cameraman how he was doing, and Franklin turned back, smiled and said, “I’m living the dream.”

Hockey Canada Vice-President Paul Carson said the orientation camp served a number of purposes including as a preperation tool for the Olympics, to allow for player interviews, player profiles, or player sizing for Canadian Olympic Committee apparel, and protocols surrounding the Olympics. “It also gives the management and the coaching staff not only (a chance) to meet and engage in planning, but also to engage with the players and spend some time in that environment where they get to know the players a little better,” he said.

Hockey Edmonton Magazine


“His system is a lot like the L.A. Kings’ system,” according to star defenceman Drew Doughty, who should be counted on by Team Canada to play many minutes in an attempt to shut down the elite forwards of opposing teams. “Playing against him, we study Detroit’s systems all the time, so I know exactly how he wants to play. It is obviously a successful system. He has had great teams over the years.” One of the most intriguing storylines at the camp was about one player who had the chance to suit up as a forward. With Philadelphia Flyers’ captain Claude Giroux out with a broken finger from a golf injury and San Jose Sharks’ captain Joe Thornton having to miss because of a family illness, former Spokane Chiefs forward Dylan Walchuk got the opportunity to practice on a line with Taylor Hall, of the Edmonton Oilers, and Jordan Staal, of the Carolina Hurricanes. “It was pretty overwhelming,” said Walchuk of the once in a lifetime experience. “Just going into a room full of superstars like that was pretty cool. Something I will never forget for sure. It was an experience I learned a lot from and something I really enjoyed.” A major part of the camp was the players being able to understand the systems implemented by Babcock, the head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, who is returning after being Canada’s bench boss at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Even though Walchuk was with team Canada for only a short period of time, he gave Hockey Edmonton Magazine insight into Team Canada’s video analysis. “(Babcock) demanded everyone be responsible with the puck and that they are not going to take players that aren’t responsible with the puck. He wanted players that can skate and be smart. That was emphasized a lot during the video sessions,” said Walchuk.


According to Sidney Crosby, the meetings in Calgary were beneficial. “There was a lot of information. You know just things and details in the way we want to play. Just trying to grasp all that is important. You’ve got to make the most of it. There isn’t a ton of time over there (in Sochi), so you make the most of having the time here together and trying to get a grasp of what the team wants.” One major difference players will experience at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi is the larger ice surface compared to the National Hockey League. The European ice surface is 10 feet longer and 13 feet wider than in North America. However, Crosby does not plan to make any major changes to the style of his game. “I don’t think so. You don’t really change the habits or things that have given you success.” One area of concern for the Canadian management and coaching staff could be goaltending. After decades of elite Canadian goaltenders at the national team’s disposal, that does not seem to be the case this time around. While the United States, Sweden and Finland can declare the position of goaltender as a strength, this is not the case for team Canada, who are looking to defend their Olympic title.

Questions surround the consistency of front runners Carey Price, of the Montreal Canadiens; Roberto Luongo, of the Vancouver Canucks; and Corey Crawford, of the Chicago Blackhawks. Players who have a strong start to the regular season may have an opportunity to be on the Olympic roster. At the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Sidney Crosby, Marc Savard, Eric Staal, Jason Spezza, Jonathan Cheechoo and Patrick Marleau did not make the primary team (Staal and Spezza were named alternates) despite the fact they all finished the year in the top 20 in National Hockey League scoring.

The selection for the Olympic team will be highly scrutinized this season. The decisions made by Steve Yzerman and his staff, which includes Edmonton Oilers president Kevin Lowe, are expected to be debated in hockey arenas throughout Canada. Who do you think will make team Canada? Let us know at and the consensus will be published in the Winter Issue of Hockey Edmonton Magazine. Please note the roster size for men’s hockey at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi is now 25 players: 14 forwards, eight defencemen and three goaltenders.

Hockey Edmonton Magazine


There is no question that the Edmonton Oilers hockey club remain in a period of transition. The franchise still has a significant amount of work to do to compete with many teams in the Western Conference, and in 2013-14, the newly formed Pacific Division. The Oilers have not made the playoffs since they advanced to the Stanley Cup final in 2006, and even though the team finished in third place in the Northwest Division in 201213, the club was still 10 points back of the Minnesota Wild for a playoff spot. In the off-season, the Oilers once again tinkered with their lineup, but tried not to disrupt the core of their youth movement that includes Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sam Gagner and Nail Yakupov. In the pre-season however, Gagner suffered a broken jaw after being high-sticked in the mouth by Zack Kassian, of the Vancouver Canucks. (Gagner ended up missing the first 13 games of the season.) The new Oilers this upcoming season consist of veteran defenceman and Edmonton native Andrew Ference, from the Boston Bruins; left winger David Perron, from the St. Louis Blues, acquired in a deal for Magnus Paajarvi; free agent right winger Boyd Gordon, from the Phoenix Coyotes; free agent winger Jesse Joensuu, from the New York Islanders; defenceman Denis Grebeshkov, who returns to the Oilers after spending the last four years in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League; Danish defenceman Philip Larsen, acquired in an off-season trade with Dallas for Shawn Horcoff; and goaltenders Richard Bachman, from Dallas, and Jason LaBarbera, from Phoenix, who are expected to battle for the back-up position behind Devan Dubnyk. Bachman and LaBarbera have the capability of potentially playing a greater percentage of games than Nikolai Khabibulin did for the


Oilers last year if either one of them gets hot. On July 5, Khabibulin signed with the Chicago Blackhawks to back up Corey Crawford. Other new Oilers regulars include Mark Arcobello, (who spent last year with the Oilers’ American Hockey League affiliate in Oklahoma City), enforcer Luke Gazdic, who was claimed off-waivers from the Dallas Stars on Sept. 29, and forwards Will Acton and Ryan Hamilton, who were each regulars for the Toronto Marlies of the AHL last season. With all of the changes the Oilers made in the off-season, there was a need to make a captaincy change. A spot was open when Shawn Horcoff was traded to Dallas. On Sept. 29, it was announced that Ference would be the 14th captain in the Oilers’ franchise. From catching up with Taylor Hall at the Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team Orientation Camp in Calgary in late August, Hall looks forward to the new Oilers coming on board. “We needed some more grit and needed some more guys that were going to go in and grind it out and battle it out. I think these guys (Ference, Perron and Gordon) are going to come in and do that. I’m really looking forward to the mix on our team.” A big change will also be at head coach. Dallas Eakins has replaced Ralph Krueger behind the Oilers bench. Eakins comes to the Oilers after spending the last four seasons as the head coach of the Toronto Marlies, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate. Eakins becomes the fourth Edmonton Oilers head coach in the last five years. “The coaches have been blamed for a lot of things when they just didn’t have good enough players. Sometimes it’s the players, not the coach,” said Edmonton Journal hockey writer Jim Matheson.

Hall understands that Eakins has a different coaching style compared to Krueger. “He seems to be really into the fitness part of hockey and seems like he is going to be hard on us. At the same time, he is going to be fair. I think that’s all you can really ask for in a coach. I’ve heard great things from guys who have played for him and that’s a great sign. I am looking forward to playing for him.” According to Jonathan Willis of the Edmonton Journal, Oilers assistant coach Steve Smith has stated that Eakins plans to change the defensive zone tactics in the neutral zone to more of a “swarm system or a collapse system.” When asking Hall if there are going to be any significant changes in strategy for the Oilers this season, he offered this response. “I think we will definitely be more of an aggressive team. (Eakins) seems like a kind of guy who really wants to go after the puck and making sure we’re putting teams on their heels. I have no problem with that. I think that’s why he puts such a big focus on fitness and everything like that. He wants us to be on a team that can play hard to the last minute. I’m excited for that. I think it is a really good fit for our young team. It should be good.” For the Oilers to be better, Matheson believes the Oilers clearly need to improve on their overall team defence. “Their style of game may change, but until the Oilers learn how to play away from the puck, it won’t matter. They have to play tighter defence because the puck was in their end of the ice far too often last year.”

For the Oilers to generate more points in the standings, Hall understands the Oilers need to be effective both offensively and defensively. Playing well at both ends of the ice is something Hall has improved on. Despite a shortened season because of the lockout in 2012-13, Hall posted a career high of 34 assists and was a plus player for the first time as an Oiler at plus five. Hall definitely has the offensive skill to post excellent numbers annually, and that was a major reason why the Edmonton Oilers drafted him with the first overall pick in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft. But Hall realizes he still needs to work on his defensive zone coverage to be considered an elite all-around player. “That’s primarily what I need to do I think, just from watching some of my games last year. Any hockey player wants to get better, and they want to become a mature player as they go along, and I’m no different.” At the orientation camp, Hall was having fun, but at the same time treating it as a learning experience. “I’m enjoying myself and trying to take in everything I can and make sure that if there are any little pointers they can give me, I’m open to them.” The process of the young core group of players getting better is something that Oilers fans will have to remain patient with as the 2013-14 National Hockey League’s regular season develops. Positive experiences like the ones Hall encountered in Calgary with the best Canadian hockey players, has the potential of benefitting the Edmonton Oilers in the long term.

Hockey Edmonton Magazine




& in the


Find out what the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation has been up to.

By Andrea Rutt Photos courtesy of Andy Devlin, Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club

If you were asked how many Stanley Cups the Edmonton Oilers have won, it wouldn’t take very long to answer five. If you were then asked how many books the Oilers Foundation has donated to Oil Country students, would you know the answer?

28 28

If you happened to guess over...


you’d be correct!


hile the Oilers are known for what they do on the ice, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) helps support and foster their initiatives off the ice and in the community. Working yearround, the foundation continues the Oilers legacy of giving back by helping to improve the communities where we work, live and play. “Our goal is simple,” said Natalie Minckler, EOCF executive director. “We want to change lives in Oil Country.” The foundation is guided by a community-led board of directors and works with registered charitable organizations who focus their activities in the areas of education, health and wellness for youth. One of their largest projects to date, ticking off all three boxes, has been the re-development of Edmonton’s Inner City High School. Accredited by Alberta Education, Inner City High offers high-risk youth in Edmonton’s inner city a safe and welcoming environment to achieve their high school education. “Without taking care of the students’ lives as a whole, we have no hope of giving them an education,” said Dr. Joe Cloutier, director of Inner City High School. “We are building bonds of trust by saying, ‘You don’t have to worry about this anymore.’” In a partnership that began eight years ago, the foundation helped find a new school for the staff and students, and continues to fund various programs and renovations including a new gym, recording studios and a commercial grade kitchen where a chef provides three meals a day.

For many youth who come from broken homes and lives rooted in the street, finding something that’s constant and stable can be difficult, but vitally important. In a true testament of the amazing work being done at Inner City High, students are earning their high school diplomas, graduating and even pursuing post-secondary education. Moving from high school to the other end of the learning spectrum, the EOCF joined forces with Lauderdale School to create Oilers Kindergarten, a full-day kindergarten program that ensures the youngest learners have the opportunity to reach their full potential. “We know that by the time children are five years old, their brains are 75 per cent developed,” said Sandra Woitas, director of the Edmonton Public Schools Foundation. “All the learning that’s going to follow will help them get ready, set and continue to grow.” At this year’s Edmonton Public Schools Foundation Ready For Life Breakfast, the foundation’s board of directors made a special announcement, committing to funding another full-day kindergarten in the Capital Region. Another project, the EOCF’s Share a Book program, aims to spark the imagination of young minds through the gift of reading. New books and book bags are distributed to Grade 1 students across Oil Country, with previous titles including Just One Goal by Robert Munsch and Subway Mouse by Barbara Reid.

Hockey Edmonton Magazine


“It’s always fun to come here, it puts a smile on their faces and puts a smile on ours, too.” The Oilers and their families are also involved in various programs and community initiatives when they’re not busy taking on their opponents, that is. Each year, the entire team takes a day to visit with sick children and their families at various hospitals throughout Edmonton and surrounding areas – a tradition the players look forward to all year. They sign autographs, visit with patients and have even been known to partake in the odd Just Dance dance-off. “It’s always fun to come here, it puts a smile on their faces and puts a smile on ours, too,” said Oilers forward Taylor Hall, of his visit to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. “I don’t think my dance moves are as good as they should be but it’s just fun to participate with them.” By the end of hospital visits, the challenge is always deciding whose smiles are bigger, the patients’ or the players’. While the players’ schedules are fairly strict during the season, their wives and girlfriends ensure that the charitable work continues. The EOCF and Oilers Ladies participate in numerous community events, including initiatives like Soup Sisters, where they spend an evening making soup for women and children at Edmonton’s WIN House, and the Christmas Bureau Luncheon, a festive fundraiser that helps raise $100,000 annually for the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton. In-game, fans can look forward to three annual fundraisers that support all of the EOCF’s initiatives above, and many more. Kicking off the season, the Oilers host a Rally Against Cancer night in conjunction with the NHL’s league-wide initiative, Hockey Fights Cancer. Fans have the unique opportunity to purchase an exclusive Oilers item, and rumour has it your hands will thank you this year!

Just in time for the holidays, a full roster of signed jerseys are given away through the Shirts off Our Backs program in December. Fans can purchase raffle tickets during the evening and winning numbers are drawn periodically throughout the game. Finally, the month of January brings with it Hockey Talks, a month-long initiative to increase dialogue and awareness about mental health and effective treatment. In its inaugural year, seven Canadian teams dedicated a game night to Hockey Talks during the month of February. This year, even more NHL teams will be joining forces to lend a voice to mental health awareness. On January 24, the EOCF and Oilers Ladies will be raising money through the sale of limitededition, hand-signed pucks, accompanied by a player card. While the EOCF has their hands full throughout the year, they realize that none of it would be possible without the generosity and support of Oilers fans. It’s this generosity that has allowed the EOCF to contribute more than $1.4 million back into our community each year, reaching a total of over $22 million since the foundation’s inception in 2001. Whether it’s a child learning to read, a teen turning to education rather than the streets, or a hungry family receiving a festive meal, the EOCF has made a significant impact on the community and will continue to strive to change lives in Oil Country. For more information on what the foundation is up to throughout the year, visit or follow them on Twitter at @Oil_Foundation.

Hockey Edmonton Magazine


Hockey season is upon us. The NHL season is under way, junior hockey has been playing for two months, and minor hockey players in Edmonton are settling in to their new teams. It truly is a great time of year for hockey players, parents and fans, especially those kids who are playing for the first time. Many of those players are now girls. Ten years ago, approximately 4,000 girls played minor hockey in Alberta, but this year over 10,000 girls will lace up their skates and play. One of the biggest decisions many hockey parents face this time of year is whether to register their daughter on a girls’ team or have them play with the boys. In many communities, specifically rural, girls only have the option to play with boys due to limited enrolment. However, for those who have the option, is there a better choice? Mel Davidson is the matriarch of female hockey, not only in Canada, but around the world. She is the only coach, male or female, in the history of the Olympics to have coached a team to consecutive gold medals; she won in 2006 and 2010. Davidson is now the general manager for Hockey Canada’s women’s team, and she works for the International Ice Hockey Federation Ambassador and Mentor program.


Davidson has worked tirelessly for over 25 years helping to grow the women’s game, and she knows the challenges many girls face, but also the successes they can achieve. “Girls aren’t going to the NHL,” said Davidson. “However, there is a path for women in the game, and there is a career for them as a player, coach or official.” I asked Davidson which path was a better option for girls; playing with the boys or on an all-girls team. “I always tell parents it is a personal choice. I’m not going to tell them how to raise their daughters, but eventually there is a social aspect that comes into it. “You can pick out the girls that have played with the boys in a heartbeat, as soon as they walk in the dressing room. Unless they are involved in team sports in school or very active in other areas, they do not know how to socialize or be a part of the female culture or environment. Around 80 per cent of girls who played in that setting (with boys) never advance very far in the girl’s game, because they can’t get comfortable within a female dressing room,” said Davidson. The three-time gold medal winning coach was quick to point out that there is one obvious benefit to playing with the boys. “Girls have to learn how to compete, and how to battle. The one advantage for girls, who play with the boys at a young age, is they learn how to compete, and they learn it isn’t personal.”

a girl. She sees and thinks things differently, and you might not realize it and she might not tell you, but she does.” You wouldn’t expect your daughter to act like a boy around the house or in school, so why would you want her to act like one on the ice? Davidson ended our conversation with a statement that really grabbed my attention. The key element all hockey parents need to recognize is that boys play a different style of hockey than girls do. “The girls’ game is very different,” Davidson said. “It’s a puckpossession game; there are a lot more puck touches in our game, at the minor level, than there is at the guy’s level. We see that a lot when girls move over from boys’ hockey. They are not as good with the puck as the girls who played with girls growing up. The girls who played with boys are more physical, and maybe stronger on their skates, but by peewee I believe a parent needs to make a decision.” The women’s game is growing, especially in Canada and the United States, and more and more girls are getting scholarships. The opportunity to get a paid education for female hockey players is higher than ever, but so is the competition.

“If I said to any father, ‘We are going to take your daughter as a 13-year-old, a 14-year-old, a 15-yearold or a 16-year-old, and we are going to put them in a closed room with 15 other boys their age who are going to be half-naked at most times, and you’re not going to have any control over what goes on for the most part,’ I don’t know a father that would put their daughter in that situation, yet they fight like hell to put them in a hockey dressing room,” said Davidson. Hockey is constantly changing, from the introduction of new technology to the pros and cons of spring hockey to now trying to recognize what hockey scenario works best for your daughter. Maybe it as simple as remembering what Davidson said; she is a girl, not a boy.

Davidson mentioned that hockey dads tend to struggle more with how they interpret and understand their hockey playing daughter. “Fathers always try to tell me that their daughter is just like a boy on the ice,” she said. “No matter what you say about your daughter, she is

Hockey Edmonton Magazine


By Rob Suggitt Photos provided by SC Parker Photography

For this edition of the magazine, we met up with Brandon Perri, who started officiating hockey at 13 years old. Brandon (who is now 16) is in grade 11, and is a defenceman in his second year of midget with the Northwest Zone. We met up with Brandon in late August, just prior to the hockey season, and he took the time to answer a few questions about himself, and what it’s like to be a minor hockey official. What other sports or activities do you participate in? I play hockey myself and I also play on the O’Leary Spartans rugby team. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

Have you ever officiated during Minor Hockey Week? And if so, what makes you volunteer your time?

Yes, I have officiated Minor Hockey Week and I will continue to do so as long as I officiate. Others do not like to do Minor Hockey Week because there is no pay but I like to do it regardless. For me I enjoy helping out and it is not all about the money. It is also about giving back to the community.

Do you have any highlights related to big games or tournaments to pass along? Any awards or achievements?

What made you decide to be a hockey official?

I wanted to see the game from a different perspective and I wanted to meet new people who have the same interest in the game as I do. I also do it to help the young players understand the game better.

My first Minor Hockey week game was a big moment, it was a novice game and was tied and went down to a one-on-one overtime. A player hooked the other and it left me with no choice but to call a penalty shot. Since any penalty in a one-on-one situation is a penalty shot. I was nervous because I never had to do that before and didn’t know what coaches and spectators would say and there were many people there watching the game.

How many games did you officiate last season?

What do you enjoy most about officiating hockey games?

I officiated a total of 73 games from October to April.

Approximately how many games do you plan on officiating this season?

I am hoping to officiate as many games as I can fit into my schedule.

What level of hockey are you currently officiating?

I officiate novice, atom, pee-wee girls and I am a linesman for bantam.


The thing I enjoy is being assigned to do the early morning games with the younger kids. They are always so much fun when they are still so new to the game and learning.

What kind of training were/are you provided?

I was provided a two-day clinic which was taught by Duncan McDougall. And each year there is a new clinic as rules may change and some of us need to brush up on the rules again.

Do you have a role model or mentor who has helped you along the way? How have you improved your skills as an official?

I would have to say I have two mentors, my dad and my grandpa. My dad has been coaching me since I first started playing hockey in prenovice and my grandpa was a coach for many years and was also a scout for a high ranking Junior “A” team in Alberta.  They are both very supportive and have not only helped me improve my hockey sense as a player but also help in how I see the game being played while I am on the ice as a ref.

What is the toughest part about being a referee?

The toughest part about being a referee is not being able to see everything around you. Something could happen behind you and you do not see it and then the parents and coaches start to get angry.

Ever suffer any injuries as an official? Any close calls?

I have never suffered any injuries besides getting the puck or a stick in the leg. Sometimes there are a few close calls and you just have to be careful.

How do you handle criticism on the ice?

When I’m on the ice and I hear criticism I would just go along with the game like I never even heard it. When I am off the ice I am always open to constructive criticism and I will take that feedback to help make myself a better ref.

Do you have comments you wish to share with parents, coaches or anyone watching minor hockey?

We are all out there to have fun. Coaches are out there to teach the players, the players are out there to learn and play, and fans are there to enjoy watching the game. We as refs are not perfect and we cannot see everything but we do try our best to be fair and call what we see as we see it.

Hockey Edmonton Magazine



If a player pushes, body-checks or cross-checks an opponent from behind, a checking from behind penalty may be called. It’s a game misconduct (ejection), coupled with a two-minute or fiveminute penalty, depending on the severity of the offense. The referee’s signal is a forward motion of both arms, with the palms of the hands opened and facing away from the body, fully extending from the chest at shoulder level.

BOARDING If a player is checked into the boards in a violent manner, then the ref may call a boarding penalty. A two-minute penalty will be assessed for boarding, and in situations where the offense is more serious (when a player is vulnerable, etc.), a five-minute major penalty and game ejection may be called.

BODY-CHECKING Body-checking is not allowed until the peewee level in Hockey Edmonton. Delivering a body-check in the lower divisions will result in a two-minute penalty being assessed.

BUTT-ENDING If a player jabs (or attempts to jab) another player with the shaft of the stick above the upper hand, a butt-ending penalty may be called. The referee holds one forearm over the other; the lower is moved back and forth, across the body.

CHARGING If a player takes more than two steps or strides, or jumps into an opponent when body-checking, a charging infraction may be called. The referee signals by rotating clenched fists around each other in front of the chest. Since bodychecking isn’t allowed until the pee wee level, you will rarely see this called in the first few years.



A minor and misconduct penalty, or a major and game misconduct penalty, at the discretion of the referee, based on the degree of violence of impact, shall be assessed to any player who checks an opponent to the head area in any manner. A match penalty could also be assessed under this rule. If a player is injured, a major and game misconduct penalty, or a match penalty must be assessed.

CROSS-CHECKING When a player uses the shaft of his stick, held between the hands, to check an opponent at any height. The referee signals with a forward and backward motion of the arms with both fists clenched and about a foot apart. (This signal imitates the action of a cross-check.)

ELBOWING This is when a player is checking an opponent with his elbow. The referee signals by tapping either elbow with the opposite hand.

HIGH-STICKING This occurs when checking an opponent with the stick above the normal height of the shoulders, either purposely or accidentally. A more severe penalty may be called for flagrant high-sticking fouls, including ejection from the game. The referee signals this call by clenching both fists and mimicking a player holding a stick above their shoulders.

HOLDING This is called when a player grabs an opponent’s body or stick with the hands. The referee motions this call by grabbing either wrist with the opposite hand in front of his body.

HOOKING This is called when a player slows down an opponent by hooking his stick on any part of the opponent’s body or stick. The referee signals this call with a tugging motion with both arms.

INTERFERENCE This penalty is called when a player impedes the progress of an opponent who doesn’t have the puck. The referee signals this call by crossing his arms in front of the chest.

KNEEING If a player uses his knee (or sticks his knee out) to take down or check an opponent, the referee may call a kneeing penalty. If the infraction is of a more serious nature, the referee may consider this a major penalty (and a game misconduct) instead of a minor penalty (two minutes).


This penalty may be called when a player exhibits extreme and inappropriate behaviour toward another player or a game official. Depending on the severity of the offense, the player may be given a 10-minute misconduct or game misconduct penalty. It is also a game misconduct when a player checks another player from behind. With the exception of checking from behind, the penalized team does not play shorthanded.

ROUGHING This penalty may be called when a player uses his arms or fists to hit or punch another player. The signal for this call is a clenched fist and arm extended out to the front or side of the body.

SLASHING This penalty is called when a player deliberately hits an opponent with his stick. The signal for this call is a chopping motion with the edge of one hand across the opposite forearm.

SPEARING Spearing occurs when a player thrusts or jabs the blade of his stick at an opponent. Players are usually ejected from the game for spearing. The signal for this call is a jabbing motion with both hands thrusting out in front of the body.

TRIPPING This penalty may be called when a player uses his stick or any body part to trip the puck carrier. If the player touches the puck prior to contact with the player, there is usually no penalty called. The referee signals this call by striking their leg with either hand below the knee (usually bending down to do so), keeping both skates on the ice.

UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT This penalty may be called when a player exhibits poor sportsmanship or inappropriate behaviour on the ice.

Hockey Edmonton Magazine



Hockey Edmonton Magazine



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