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Mike Campbell

Onward to the Olympics

With less than one month until puck drop in China, meet the three Canadian officials who will represent our country in men’s hockey at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games

Shannon Coulter
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January 16, 2022

Across the country, excitement is building for when Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team will take to the ice next month. In addition to those 23 players with the Maple Leaf on their chest, three Canadians have a chance to don black and white stripes in Beijing.

Mike Campbell, Olivier Gouin and Dustin McCrank have been chosen to represent Canada at the Olympics and officiate the men’s hockey tournament. Before the puck drops next month, get to know the trio.

Mike Campbell (Referee)
Hometown: Surrey, B.C.

Campbell began officiating when he was 12 years old with the Cloverdale Minor Hockey Association and now has 20 years of experience. He currently officiates in the Western Hockey League (WHL) and the American Hockey League (AHL). During his career, Campbell has had the opportunity to work at the IIHF World Junior Championship and IIHF U18 World Championship.

“I’ve been able to share the ice three times now in a medal game with another Canadian official, which is pretty cool,” he says. “A lot of those officials were friends before going to the tournament.”

Although he has experience at several international events, this will be Campbell’s first Olympics.

“Early on, you never really assume that you’re ever going to get to the Olympics,” he says. “It’s a proud moment. [It] kind of validates the years of dedication through junior hockey and the last few years of pro hockey, just staying with the process and knowing that this could potentially come to fruition.”

Outside of hockey, Campbell enjoys golfing, wake surfing and spending time with his young family. Although the 2022 Games may look different compared to past Olympics due to COVID-19 restrictions, Campbell says he’s looking forward to being with athletes from around the world, experiencing the high level of competition, and the camaraderie with his fellow officials.

“[I have] worked tournaments with two-thirds of the officials going that are from outside of Canada,” he says. “Being able to go into an environment like that gives you comfort to know that you know the other officials that are going to be there and that you can have friends that are going.”

Olivier Gouin (Referee)
Hometown: Laval, Que.

An official with 15 years of experience, Gouin currently works in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and has previously officiated AHL games. He became an official while he was a player and continued officiating after his playing career ended to stay involved in the game he loves.

“For me, it’s my favourite sport and I have the best tickets in the house,” he says. “I’m on the ice with great players, big events. We still get the adrenaline that I did when I was a player. There’s a lot of things I like about it.”

The 2022 Games will mark the second Olympics that Gouin will work, having been selected to go to PyeongChang in 2018. Gouin also participated in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he had a unique opportunity to officiate the gold medal game between Canada and the United States.

“That was special,” he says. “It was a lot of pressure because we were four Canadian officials working a Canadian game. Also, because of COVID, there was nobody in the stands, but we knew there was a lot of people watching on TV.

“That was probably the biggest game I’ve worked in my life, to be honest.”

When he’s not at the rink, Gouin enjoys golf, video games and working out. With his second Olympic experience around the corner, he says it’s an honour to represent Hockey Canada at the event.

“It’s an accomplishment,” he says. “Just to referee hockey games where medals are involved and players playing for their country. Emotions are going to be so high… It’s going to be difficult, but I’m looking forward to [being a] referee in a big stage like that.”

Dustin McCrank (Linesperson)
Hometown: Guelph, Ont.

McCrank has 24 years of experience and currently officiates in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and AHL. Growing up living close to a rink, he began officiating to get more time on the ice to work on his skating and earn some money. His passion and excitement for the game has stayed with McCrank throughout his officiating journey.

“My favourite thing is probably walking into the dressing room or walking into the rink, [and] just putting my skates on,” he says. “I think that’s my favourite thing, knowing that I get to be a part of a hockey game.”

Outside of hockey, McCrank works full-time as a firefighter in Waterloo, Ont. The positions may sound very different, but McCrank has found many similarities between the two jobs.

“[In] both positions, you have to make split decisions under pressure. You’re dealing with people, using your communication skills. I would say the biggest thing is treating your body right, getting the right amount of sleep, putting the right things in your body,” he says. “Those careers really work well off each other.”

This will be the first Olympics for McCrank, and he is looking forward to seeing his fellow officials in Beijing and sharing in that camaraderie.

“It’s kind of the last feather in my cap. It’s something I kind of realized might have been able to happen about five years ago and I’ve been striving pretty hard and competing pretty hard to try and get there,” he says. “It feels amazing.”

Jon Cooper.
© Tampa Bay Lightning/Mark Lomoglio

Jon Cooper named head coach for 2025 4 Nations Face-Off and 2026 Olympic Winter Games

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach returns to Team Canada for first time since 2017

NR.040.24
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June 25, 2024

CALGARY, Alberta – Hockey Canada has announced that veteran National Hockey League (NHL) head coach Jon Cooper (Prince George, BC/Tampa Bay, NHL) will lead Canada at the 2025 4 Nations Face-Off and 2026 Olympic Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

The Tampa Bay Lightning bench boss and longest-tenured active head coach in the NHL will make his return to the Team Canada bench for the first time since 2017, when he led Canada’s National Men’s Team to a silver medal at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

Cooper was selected by Doug Armstrong (Sarnia, ON/St. Louis, NHL), management group lead for Canada’s National Men’s Team and general manager for the 2026 Olympics, as well as Don Sweeney (St. Stephen, NB/Boston, NHL) and Jim Nill (Hanna, AB/Dallas, NHL), who make up the management group for the 2025 4 Nations Face-Off and 2026 Olympics. Player relations advisor Ryan Getzlaf (Regina, SK/Anaheim, NHL) and Scott Salmond (Creston, BC), senior vice-president of high performance and hockey operations, along with Katherine Henderson (Thunder Bay, ON), Hockey Canada’s president and chief executive officer, and Pat McLaughlin (Saint John, NB), chief operating officer and executive vice-president of strategy, also provided input as part of the executive committee preparing for the 2026 Olympics.

 “Jon is a world-class person, coach and leader, and his impressive resume and success in the NHL make him the perfect person to lead Team Canada over the next two years at the 4 Nations Face-Off and 2026 Olympic Winter Games,” Armstrong said. “Our management group knows that Jon will represent our country with pride while bringing his winning pedigree to the international stage, and we look forward to working with him as we build teams with the best NHL players in Canada at two marquee events.”

Cooper recently completed his 12th season as head coach of the Lightning, and is the franchise’s all-time leader in regular season games coached (879), regular season wins (480), playoff games coached (139) and playoff wins (84). During his time with the Lightning, he has led the team to 10 playoff appearances, one Presidents’ Trophy (2018-19) and four Stanley Cup Finals (2015, 2020, 2021, 2022), winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2020 and 2021. Prior to joining Tampa Bay, he spent two seasons (2010-12) with the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League (AHL), winning the Calder Cup and AHL Coach of the Year Award in 2011-12, and part of one season with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch. Internationally, in addition to his silver medal in 2017, he served as an assistant coach with Team North America at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. He was also announced as head coach of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team for the 2022 Olympics if NHL players participated.

The first six players for the 4 Nations Face-Off are expected to be announced in late June, while additional announcements regarding Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team will be made at a later date.

The 4 Nations Face-Off is a new international event that will feature NHL players from Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States. The seven-game event will take place Feb. 12-20 at the Bell Centre in Montréal, Québec, home of the Montréal Canadiens, and TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, home of the Boston Bruins.

For more information on Hockey Canada, Canada’s National Men’s Team and Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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Don Sweeney and Jim Nill.

Management group named for 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off

Don Sweeney to serve as general manager alongside associate GM Jim Nill

NR.021.24
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April 12, 2024

CALGARY, Alberta – Hockey Canada has announced that two veteran National Hockey League (NHL) general managers will lead Canada at the inaugural NHL 4 Nations Face-Off next February.

Don Sweeney (St. Stephen, NB/Boston, NHL) will make his international management debut as general manager, working alongside associate general manager Jim Nill (Hanna, AB/Dallas, NHL), who will return to Canada’s management group for the first time since 2015.

In addition, Sweeney and Nill have been named assistant general managers of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. They will work alongside Doug Armstrong (Sarnia, ON/St. Louis, NHL), who was named general manager in March.

The management group was selected by Armstrong, who serves as management group lead for Canada’s National Men’s Team, player relations advisor Ryan Getzlaf (Regina, SK/Anaheim, NHL) and Scott Salmond (Creston, BC), senior vice-president of high performance and hockey operations. Katherine Henderson (Thunder Bay, ON), Hockey Canada’s president and chief executive officer, and Pat McLaughlin (Saint John, NB), chief operating officer and executive vice-president of strategy, also provided input as part of the executive committee preparing for the 2026 Olympic Winter Games.

“As we continue to prepare for international competition over the next two years, I am thrilled to have Don and Jim lead Team Canada at the 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off, and to welcome these two experienced general managers to our management group for the 2026 Olympics,” Armstrong said. “Both Don and Jim have enjoyed successful NHL careers and will represent the Maple Leaf with pride, and we know their experience will be a valuable asset as we build teams for two major international events in 2025 and 2026.”

Sweeney is in his ninth season (2015-24) as general manager of the Boston Bruins, winning the Jim Gregory General Manager of the Year Award in 2018-19 and leading the team to eight-consecutive playoff appearances and two Presidents’ Trophies (2020, 2023). He also served six seasons (2009-15) as assistant general manager, three seasons as director of player development (2006-09) and two seasons (2007-09) as director of hockey operations with the Bruins. As an executive, Sweeney has helped lead the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final three times (2011, 2013, 2019), winning the Stanley Cup in 2011. He also served one season (2014-15) as general manager of the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League (AHL), and was announced as an assistant general manager of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team for the 2022 Olympics if NHL players participated. As a player, he played in 1,115 NHL games over 16 seasons with the Bruins and Dallas Stars, appearing in the Stanley Cup Final with the Bruins in 1990, and won a gold medal with Canada at the 1997 IIHF World Championship.

Nill has served as the general manager of the Dallas Stars for the past 11 seasons (2013-24), winning GM of the Year in 2022-23 and leading the team to seven playoff appearances and the Stanley Cup Final in 2020. He also spent 19 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, serving as assistant general manager (1998-2013) and director of player development (1994-98), helping lead Detroit to the Stanley Cup Final six times (1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008, 2009), winning the Stanley Cup four times (1997, 1998, 2002, 2008). Nill was also the GM of the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings for one season (1988-89), leading the team to a Calder Cup championship, and a professional scout with the Ottawa Senators for three seasons (1991-94). Internationally, he has served as director of player personnel (2003) and general manager (2004, 2015) of Canada’s National Men’s Team at the IIHF World Championship, winning gold in 2004 and 2015. As a player, Nill played 524 career NHL games, played in the Stanley Cup Final with the Vancouver Canucks in 1982, suited up for Canada’s National Men’s Team during the 1979-80 season and wore the Maple Leaf at the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.

The coaching staff and first six players for the 2025 NHL Four Nations Face-Off are expected to be announced in June, while additional announcements regarding Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team will be made at a later date.

The 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off is a new international event that will feature NHL players from Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States. The event will take place in two North American cities – one in Canada and one in the United States – in February 2025 and will consist of seven games played with NHL rules.

For more information on Hockey Canada, Canada’s National Men’s Team and Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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Clarke continues to climb the ranks

From small-town Drake to the Olympic Winter Games, Alex Clarke has broken barriers and inspired young officials on what has been a unique hockey journey

Jonathan Yue
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April 08, 2024

If it wasn’t for a disgruntled cow, Alex Clarke might not have become one of the best and most respected officials in the world.

It was the spring of 2015 and Clarke (then going by her maiden name, Alex Blair) had just been drafted 53rd overall by the Calgary Inferno of the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League when was she kicked by a cow on her family farm, resulting in a lingering knee injury.

"I wasn't able to properly train throughout the summer. So, the decision was kind of made for me not to go to [Inferno training] camp and try out that fall,” recalls Clarke, who played three seasons with the Weyburn Gold Wings of the Saskatchewan Female U18 AAA Hockey League (SFU18AAAHL) before playing NCAA Division III hockey at the College of St. Scholastica in Minnesota.

But when the door on Clarke's playing career closed, another opened.

"I knew I wanted to stay involved in hockey," she recalls. "I had previously thought that maybe coaching was a good avenue for me, but at the time I was 22 years old and my personality just doesn't fit well with standing on a bench and being tied to a team schedule. So, I ended up pursuing officiating instead."

Since then, Clarke has skyrocketed through the officiating ranks. A native of Drake, Saskatchewan (population 197), she has worked in her home province in the SFU18AAAHL and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), nationally at the Esso Cup and internationally at the IIHF Women's World Championship.

In 2021 she became the first woman to officiate in the Western Hockey League (she also was the first woman to work a WHL game as a referee earlier this season) and on Dec. 5, 2021 she became the first woman to work a game in the American Hockey League.

“My love for the game is what inspires me to get out there,” Clarke says about being an official. “It's a place where I get to go and forget about everything else that’s going on. I get to have fun. I get to be with friends.

“Since I've had success, and I've been a little bit more recognized, it means a lot more to me to go out there and know that I'm somebody that people see as a trailblazer as the only female in certain leagues.”

The past few years in particular have been quiet the ride for Clarke, who reached the pinnacle of international hockey when she worked as a linesperson at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, and earlier this year she began calling games in the new Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL). Most recently, she officiated the PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase during the NHL All-Star Weekend in Toronto.

“It’s felt natural,” Clarke says of her progression as an official. “Aside from the 2021-22 season where I jumped around lot of leagues at the same time, its very similar to being a player. Being scouted [and] evaluated, and when I was ready to be put into the next level, I was ready and determined to be capable. I’ve had a lot of good experiences and never felt like I was over my head.”

Inspiring the next generation

While her pathway to becoming an official was a certainly unique, Clarke says she wouldn’t have chosen any other scenario.

“[When I was looking into getting into officiating,]Hockey Saskatchewan was really good,” Clarke recalls. “They welcomed me with open arms. After knowing my hockey background, they invited me to a referee camp and when I arrived, they were so welcoming and immediately felt like part of the family.”

As an official, Clarke hopes to show that there are many pathways to being involved in hockey and she hopes to have the opportunity to mentor more young officials.

“Anybody that’s looking to get into officiating, I would say go into it with open eyes and an open perspective,” Clarke says. “I went in for the love of the game and the desire to improve and take feedback, and it’s probably going to take you places that you probably didn’t expect.”

With the growth of women’s hockey over the last few years, Clarke has realized the importance of being a role model on the ice, even as an official. Clarke believes the added spotlight on women’s hockey thanks to the PWHL is making a huge difference.

“I have a four-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and she’s really starting to be impressionable,” says Clarke, who also has a young son. “This season, I brought the family with me to the NHL All-Star Game, and to see her reaction and having her talk about Natalie Spooner and Sarah Nurse, she wants to be around hockey. She has so much more interest and investment in it because she’s seeing other women as great examples.

“I think it just resonates with a lot of people and little girls and boys are now able to see women and moms and full-grown adults out on the ice and in the arenas, you just get a sense of equality for everybody to achieve those goals.”



As more and more leagues, such as the AHL, include women officials, Clarke hopes to continue the push for women to take the next step. With her experience at NHL All-Star Weekend, Clarke believes we could be seeing women referees in NHL games soon.

“Getting a female into the NHL, it may be two years away, it may be 10 years away, but if I can help play a role in getting a female there, whether that’s me or somebody I can mentor and develop and inspire to take that next step, I think that’s helping progress female officials as a whole, I’m looking to have an impact on the next generation.”

Aside from that, Clarke’s long-term goal is to be at the 2026 Olympic Games in Milan, Italy. But for now, her eyes are set on the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championships in Utica, New York.

“I want to earn a spot to be in the gold medal game,” Clarke says. “We as officials are competing out there and we want to earn that gold medal spot too. Ultimately, I want to have fun and better myself and the people around me.”

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Doug Armstrong.

Doug Armstrong named general manager for 2026 Olympic Winter Games

Veteran GM to serve as management group lead for Canada’s National Men’s Team over next two seasons; Ryan Getzlaf, Scott Salmond among executive committee members

NR.014.24
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March 15, 2024

CALGARY, Alberta – Hockey Canada has announced that Doug Armstrong (Sarnia, ON/St. Louis, NHL) will serve as general manager of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team at the 2026 Olympic Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and as management group lead for Canada’s National Men’s Team, overseeing the appointment of management groups that will lead Team Canada at various events over the next two seasons.

In preparation for the 2026 Olympics, Armstrong will serve on an executive committee with Ryan Getzlaf (Regina, SK/Anaheim, NHL), who will serve as player relations advisor, Scott Salmond (Creston, BC), senior vice-president of high performance and hockey operations, Katherine Henderson (Thunder Bay, ON), president and chief executive officer, and Pat McLaughlin (Saint John, NB), chief operating officer and executive vice-president of strategy.

Armstrong will oversee Team Canada at the 2024 IIHF World Championship, 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off and 2025 IIHF World Championship, appointing and working with Canadian general managers and executives to help build Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team for the 2026 Olympics. Getzlaf will work directly with Armstrong and Salmond, acting as a liaison between athletes, the executive committee and management groups for the four upcoming events, ensuring consistency between teams, athletes and staff.

“There is a wealth of experienced and successful Canadian executives throughout the NHL, and we believe Doug is the best person to lead our National Men’s Team and build our management groups from a talented pool of executives at each event leading up to and including the 2026 Olympics,” McLaughlin said. “Doug and Ryan both bring accomplished careers and many years of NHL and international experience to Hockey Canada, and Scott has been instrumental in the success of Canada’s national teams at all levels for more than 20 years.

“We know all three individuals will be invaluable pieces of our executive committee as we build teams that will make Canadians proud over the next two years. Wearing the Maple Leaf is an honour and a privilege, and our executive committee is committed to ensuring our players and staff are supported on and off the ice to achieve continued success, while upholding the character and values that Canadians expect of our organization and teams.”

Armstrong has won two Olympic gold medals as a member of the management group with Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team (2010, 2014), as well as the 2016 World Cup of Hockey championship as general manager. He was also announced as general manager of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team for the 2022 Olympics if NHL players participated. Armstrong has won gold medals at the IIHF World Championship in 2007 (special assistant), 2016 (senior advisor) and 2023 (general manager), and silver in 2008 (assistant general manager) and 2009 (general manager). He was also part of the Worlds staff in 2002 and 2013. Armstrong is in his 14th season (2010-24) as general manager of the St. Louis Blues, also serving as president of hockey operations, winning the Stanley Cup in 2019 and the NHL GM of the Year Award in 2011-12. He recently became the 11th NHL general manager to record 800 career wins, and is the second-fastest to reach 800 win milestone. Armstrong previously spent 16 years (1992-2008) with the Dallas Stars, winning the Stanley Cup as assistant general manager in 1999.

Getzlaf is set to make his international management debut after a 17-year playing career with the Anaheim Ducks (2005-22), with whom he served as captain for 12 seasons (2010-22) and won the Stanley Cup in 2007. Getzlaf appeared in 1,157 NHL games, recording 1,019 points (282 goals, 737 assists), appearing in three NHL All-Star Games (2008, 2009, 2015). Internationally, he won gold medals at the 2003 IIHF World U18 Championship, 2005 IIHF World Junior Championship, and 2010 and 2014 Olympic Winter Games, in addition to the2016 World Cup of Hockey. Getzlaf also won silver at the 2004 World Juniors and 2008 IIHF World Championship, suited up at the 2002 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and captained Team Canada at the 2012 Worlds. He is in his first season as player development coordinator with Anaheim.

Salmond was promoted to senior vice-president of hockey operations with Hockey Canada in 2018 after serving as vice-president of national teams for four years. In this position, Salmond oversees all operations for Canada’s men’s, women’s and para hockey teams. He has helped lead Canada to gold medals at two Olympic Winter Games (2010, 2014), six IIHF World Championships (2003, 2004, 2015, 2016, 2021, 2023), seven IIHF World Junior Championships (2007, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2018, 2022, 2023), two IIHF U18 World Championships (2013, 2021), one IPC World Para Hockey Championship (2017) and one Paralympic Winter Games (2006), as well as a World Cup of Hockey championship (2016) and a Spengler Cup three-peat (2015, 2016, 2017). Salmond joined Hockey Canada in 2001 and has held increasingly senior high-performance roles during his tenure with the organization.

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Men’s Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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Officials selected for 2024 U SPORTS championships

Hockey Canada names 26 officials for men’s and women’s national championships

Dan Hanoomansingh
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March 12, 2024

Twenty-six officials – 13 referees and 13 linespersons – have been selected by Hockey Canada for the U SPORTS championship tournaments.

The tournaments will run concurrently from March 14-17, with the men’s University Cup taking place in Toronto and the Women’s Hockey Championship taking place in Saskatoon.

The 2024 championships will feature a veteran crew in stripes, with a wealth of experience at the domestic and international levels. The roster for the men’s tournament is headlined by referee Mark Pearce (North Vancouver, BC) who refereed the gold medal games at the 2022 U Cup and 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship. The roster for the women’s championship led by Olympic officials Alexandra Clarke (Drake, SK), Stéphanie Gagnon (Princeville, QC) and Cianna Lieffers (Cudworth, SK).

“Hockey Canada would like to congratulate all the officials on their selection to the USPORTS championships,” said Dan Hanoomansingh, manager of officiating with Hockey Canada. “Our university championships provide top-tier amateur competition, in a challenging, single-elimination tournament. These officials are at the top of the amateur game and continued to hone their craft throughout the season to be ready for this event.”

Name Member Role
Men's University Cup (Toronto, ON)
Nick Albinati BC Hockey Linesperson
Nick Arcan Ontario Hockey Federation Linesperson
Birkhoff Birkhoff Ontario Hockey Federation Linesperson
Josh DeYoung Hockey Nova Scotia Referee
Danny Emerson Ontario Hockey Federation Referee
Maxime Ferland Hockey Québec Linesperson
Jesse Gour Hockey Québec Referee
Troy Murray Hockey Saskatchewan Referee
Mark Pearce BC Hockey Referee
Luke Pye Ontario Hockey Federation Linesperson
Women's Hockey Championship (Saskatoon, SK)
Ali Beres OWHA Linesperson
Jennifer Berezowski OWHA Referee
Melissa Brunn BC Hockey Linesperson
Hayley Butz Hockey Alberta Referee
Alexandra Clarke Hockey Saskatchewan Linesperson
Marie-Éve Couture Hockey Québec Referee
Brandy Dewar OWHA Referee
Stéphanie Gagnon Hockey Québec Linesperson
Audrey-Anne Girard Hockey Québec Referee
Laura Gutauskas OWHA Linesperson
Amy Laroche BC Hockey Linesperson
Cianna Lieffers Hockey Saskatchewan Referee
Amy Martin Hockey Manitoba Referee
Shauna Neary Hockey Nova Scotia Referee
Sophie Thomson Hockey Nova Scotia Linesperson
Erin Zach OWHA Linesperson

The officiating coach for the men’s U Cup will Marc Maisonneuve (Gatineau, QC). The officiating coach for the Women’s U SPORTS Championship will be Vanessa Stratton (Windsor, ON).

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Life between the lines

A late starter in hockey, Ali Beres didn’t let that stand in her way of reaching her goals and setting herself up for a successful second act as one of Canada’s top young linespersons

Katie Brickman
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March 08, 2024

Once Ali Beres sets her sights on a goal, she will most likely accomplish it.

Switching from ringette to hockey to transitioning to officiating after her U SPORTS hockey career and embracing other athletic pursuits, Beres’ determination keeps her chasing new goals.

“I’m lucky to have athletics be a huge part of my life growing up,” says the 27-year-old. “I feel very fortunate to be involved in sports and at the level that I am with the opportunities I’ve had.”

Growing up in Lions Bay, B.C., about 30 minutes from Vancouver, Beres and her sister Maegan played ringette as there were no girls’ hockey programs. When she was 13 years old, she switched to hockey, intending to play at the university level.

Transitioning from ringette to hockey required Beres to learn new skills, including stickhandling and shooting the puck.

“When I switched from playing ringette to hockey, there was a skill and knowledge gap,” she says.

A coach told her that she was behind her peers at that age and probably shouldn’t bother, but her drive led her to participate in skill development camps and shooting 200 pucks in the family garage so she would be able to play.

“I remember that conversation with this coach when I was 14 years old. That moment shaped me and who I am today,” says Beres. “It taught me that if you want something badly and you put in the effort and hard work and you have the determination, you can still achieve your goals. Most importantly, to never give up on something you love.”

That love and passion led her on a successful hockey path, including playing for B.C. at the 2013 National Women’s Under-18 Championship and varsity hockey at Western University in London, Ontario, where she won a U SPORTS national title in 2015, a silver medal at nationals and two Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships.

As Beres finished her university career, she thought about what would come next. She knew she wanted to stay involved in the game and leaned on an aspect of the game she used to participate in – officiating.

“I wasn’t ready to just hang up the skates and call it quits after my U SPORTS career. The rink has been a part of my life since I was three,” she says. “As soon as the final game ended, it was so emotional. I knew after that I was going to have to get a job and that I wasn’t going to be playing anymore. I remembered that I loved officiating growing up.”

Beres decided she wanted to put on a new jersey, play on a new team and see where officiating could take her. After graduating, she got re-certified in Ontario.

“I just kept skating lots of games with so many different people and games as possible and learn as much as I could,” she says. “I saw so many people ahead of me in the program and saw all their accomplishments and telling my mentors that those are the assignments that I’d love to take on.”

Since transitioning to officiating, Beres has had the opportunity to participate in the Hockey Canada Officials Program of Excellence (OPOE), which is a performance pathway for officials to reach their high-level goals.

Since then, she has been a linesperson at some significant events, including the 2014 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship (Division 1B) and the Professional Women’s Hockey League Battle on Bay Street game between Toronto and Montreal earlier this year.

“I’m grateful to have had so many opportunities through officiating,” says Beres. “What I love about officiating is that you’re still part of the game. It’s intense … there’s pressure on your shoulders and you’re still competing as an athlete. It is our job to make sure the game is played fair and safe.”

Beres wouldn’t be able to balance life as a solution engineer with a procurement company, officiating and competing in triathlons without the support system of her family, particularly Maegan.

“We are best friends and we’ve always been competitive,” she said. “We’ve always tried to push each other. Our parents instilled solid values in us. While we were competitive, we also supported each other, and knowing that each other’s successes doesn’t mean the other isn’t successful.”

Like Ali, Maegan had hockey aspirations that she was determined to achieve. She played NCAA hockey for Boston College and with the Toronto Six of the Premier Hockey Federation, and won a silver medal with Canada at the 2017 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.

“We’ve always been super close, and she turned into such a big role model for me and being the younger sister, you kind of idolize your big sister,” says Maegan. “When I had a lot of success in my hockey career, she was one of the closest people to me and I always leaned on her for advice and support.”

Being athletically fit is important to stay at high-level hockey pace, but it also helps Ali stay mentally fresh and healthy and able to balance her professional career as well. Outside of officiating, Ali competes in triathlons, a sport she quickly fell in love with.

“The players are giving 100 per cent, so we need to be able to match that and give it our all too. I was a little bored of the gym, so I wanted to push my athletic comfort zone, so I signed up for an Ironman 70.3 (also known as a half-Ironman) and I got really addicted,” Ali says.

As Ali continues to set goals for herself – including officiating at the Olympics, her sister knows her drive is what will get her there.

“Once she has a glimpse of that goal, I just know she will do everything in her power to get there and accomplish it,” says Maegan. “I am very proud of her and what she’s accomplished and seeing her transition from her playing career in hockey into officiating. I’m excited to see where this journey takes her.”

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Hockey Canada statements on NHL participation at 2026 and 2030 Olympic Winter Games, 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off

February 02, 2024

CALGARY, Alberta – The following are statements on behalf of Hockey Canada on the National Hockey League (NHL) and National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) decision to participate in the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Winter Games, and host the 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off:

“Earlier today, the NHL, NHLPA and International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) made a highly anticipated announcement that NHL players will participate in the 2026 and 2030 Olympic Winter Games, and that the NHL will host the 2025 4 Nations Face-Off. Hockey Canada recognizes this was a lengthy process that required a lot of deliberation and consideration, and we believe this decision is in the best interest of not only Team Canada, but international hockey as a whole.

“The participation of NHL players on the international stage in 2025 and at the Olympics marks a return to best-on-best competition in men’s hockey, and we know this decision will be well-received among the sporting community and hockey fans across the globe. We look forward to supporting our men’s, women’s and para hockey teams in their journey to the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.”

  • Katherine Henderson (Thunder Bay, ON), president and chief executive officer of Hockey Canada and co-chair of Canada’s Winter Sport Caucus 

“Representing Canada at the Olympic Winter Games is the pinnacle of sport, and the decision by the NHL and NHLPA to return to the Olympics and host the NHL 4 Nations Face-Off in 2025 is a significant announcement for our organization. We are excited to begin the process of building teams that include the best Canadian NHL players from across the country for the first time since the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, and to surround those athletes with high-quality management, coaching and support staffs that will do everything they can to help our athletes achieve their goal of winning Olympic gold medals. 

“We look forward to working with our hockey operations staff to build teams for the 2025 NHL 4 Nations Face-Off, and the 2026 and 2030 Olympics, with the goal of returning to the top of the podium beginning in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.”

  • Pat McLaughlin (Saint John, NB), Hockey Canada’s chief operating officer and executive vice-president of strategy

For more information on Hockey Canada and the Canada’s National Men’s Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along through social media on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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OIS/Joe Toth

Canada finishes fourth at 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games

Di Iorio notches record-tying goal as Canada falls to Finland in a shootout

NR.006.24
|
January 31, 2024

GANGWON, South Korea Canada’s men’s hockey team has finished in fourth place at the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games after falling 5-4 in a shootout to Finland in the bronze medal game Wednesday at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.

Alessandro Di Iorio (Vaughan, ON/Vaughan, GTHL), Tynan Lawrence (Fredericton, NB/Shattuck-St. Mary’s, USHS) and Keaton Verhoeff (Fort Saskatchewan, AB/RHA Kelowna, CSSHL) scored 41 seconds apart to give Canada a 3-0 lead less than seven minutes into the first period. Di Iorio’s tally marked his tournament-leading sixth goal, tying Ryan Gropp (2012) for most goals by a Canadian in a single Youth Olympics.

Finland responded with a pair of first-period goals from Jiko Laitinen and Luka Arkko before Wilmer Kallio and Viljo Kahkonen scored in the middle frame to give the Finns a 4-3 lead.

Mathis Preston (Penticton, BC/Okanagan Hockey Academy, CSSHL) evened the score for Canada with just over six minutes remaining in the third period, firing home a cross-crease pass from Ryan Lin (Richmond, BC/Delta Hockey Academy, CSSHL) and sending the game to a shootout.

“I am so proud of our team. We played great the entire tournament, but unfortunately there were a few unlucky bounces that did not go our way,” Di Iorio said. “Wearing the Maple Leaf is an honour, and I know our entire group will remember this experience for a long time.”

Carter Esler (Okotoks, AB/Okotoks, AEHL) was stellar in the Canadian goal, turning aside 32 shots.

“We had a good start to today’s game. We went up by three goals early, but Finland was able to bounce back and put us on our heels,” said Markus Ruck (Osoyoos, BC/Okanagan Hockey Academy, CSSHL). “While we would have loved to go back to Canada with a medal, the Youth Olympics was an amazing experience and everything about our time in Gangwon has been great.”

Canada finished the preliminary round in first place in Group B after wins over South Korea and Finland before losing 6-5 in a shootout to the United States in the semifinals.

Since 2012, Canada has collected one silver medal (2016) and two bronze (2012, 2020) at the Winter Youth Olympic Games.

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s men’s hockey team at the Winter Youth Olympic Games, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow through social media on Facebook, X and Instagram, and by using #Gangwon2024 and #YouthOlympics.

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Officials chosen for high performance camps

91 officials selected to attend Officiating Program of Excellence for 2023-24 season

Dan Hanoomansingh
|
January 29, 2024

Nearly 100 officials from coast to coast to coast have been selected to attend Hockey Canada Officiating Program of Excellence (OPOE) camps.

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

“We are excited to provide this opportunity for our top officials to compete at the national level,” says Dan Hanoomansingh, manager of officiating with Hockey Canada. “Our regional camps provide officials with an introduction to the national level and prepare them to compete for national assignments at the U18 level.

“We are thrilled to continue the Women’s Officiating Program of Excellence for a second year and are grateful for the support of the Hockey Canada Foundation, as a presenting partner, without whom this would not be possible.”

The OPOE is the pathway through which Canadian officials are selected for top national and international assignments. The objectives are to provide a clear developmental pathway for aspiring elite officials, provide developmentally appropriate coaching for elite officials, prepare officials for national and international competitions, and assist Hockey Canada in making evidence-based decisions for national and international events. Officials enter the OPOE through regional identification camps, based on nominations from their Member programs.

The 30 officials who will attend the National High Performance Selection Camp will participate in an intensive four-day experience intended to help them develop the tools needed to succeed at an elite level. They were part of a months-long evaluation process, including input from their respective Member programs and leagues, prior to a final selection by Hockey Canada.

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

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

National High Performance Selection Camp (Calgary, AB – Feb. 1-4)

Name

Member

Role

Josh Albinati

BC Hockey

Referee

Gillian Allan

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Linesperson

Tara Benard-Rae

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Referee

Ali Beres

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Linesperson

Brian Birkhoff

Ontario Hockey Federation

Linesperson

Mathieu Boudreau

Hockey Québec

Referee

Hayley Butz

Hockey Alberta

Referee

Cynthia Côté

Hockey Manitoba

Referee

Elizabeth Dornstauder

Hockey Saskatchewan

Referee

Maxime Ferland

Hockey Québec

Linesperson

Audrey-Anne Girard

Hockey Québec

Referee

Nick Grenier

Hockey Manitoba

Linesperson

Alex Homer

Hockey Alberta

Referee

Darby Hucaluk

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Referee

Chad Ingalls

Ontario Hockey Federation

Referee

Ryan Jenken

Ontario Hockey Federation

Referee

Yannick Jobin-Manseau

Hockey Québec

Referee

Brendan Kane

Ontario Hockey Federation

Referee

William Kelly

Hockey Québec

Referee

Anthony Lapointe

Hockey Québec

Linesperson

Amy Laroche

BC Hockey

Linesperson

Jarrod Lucoe

BC Hockey

Referee

Bob Millette

Hockey Saskatchewan

Referee

Harrison O'Pray

Hockey New Brunswick

Referee

Luke Pye

Ontario Hockey Federation

Linesperson

Wyatt Rapsky

Hockey Manitoba

Referee

Jack Robinson

Hockey PEI

Referee

Ty Skene

Hockey Saskatchewan

Referee

Mason Stewart

Hockey Alberta

Referee

Brennan Walker

BC Hockey

Linesperson

The staff for the National High Performance Camp include Hanoomansingh, Dr. David Hancock, Megan Howes, Steve Lidstone, Pat Malloy, Kevin Muench, Todd Robinson and Vanessa Stratton.


Women’s Atlantic Regional Camp (Halifax, NS – Sept. 14-17)

Name

Member

Role

Brianna Bolivar

Hockey Nova Scotia

Referee

Bailey Carr

Hockey PEI

Linesperson

Lauren Clark

Hockey Nova Scotia

Linesperson

Rachel Hopkins

Hockey NL

Referee

Shannon Ivey

Hockey NL

Referee

Jenna Leighton

Hockey Nova Scotia

Referee

Blaire MacKinnon

Hockey Nova Scotia

Linesperson

Alexis Ouellet

Hockey PEI

Referee

Leah Rideout

Hockey NL

Linesperson

Mykaela Sherry

Hockey Nova Scotia

Linesperson

Jennifer Stewart

Hockey PEI

Referee

Megan Sullivan

Hockey New Brunswick

Linesperson

The officiating coaches are Gabrielle Ariano-Lortie, Meghan MacTavish and Shauna Neary.


Men’s West Regional Camp (Calgary, AB – Sept. 26-29)

Name

Member

Role

Ethan Crawford

BC Hockey

Linesperson

Kaden Fiacco

Hockey Saskatchewan

Linesperson

Michel Fournier

Hockey Manitoba

Linesperson

Cameron Fynney

Ontario Hockey Federation

Referee

Josh Grimm

Hockey Saskatchewan

Referee

Cameron Halter

Hockey Alberta

Linesperson

Brandon Koop

BC Hockey

Referee

Matthew Lattimer

Hockey Alberta

Linesperson

Carson McDonald

Hockey Manitoba

Referee

Carter McKnight

Ontario Hockey Federation

Linesperson

Shane Steenhoek

Ontario Hockey Federation

Referee

Jesse Wood-Schatz

Hockey Alberta

Referee

The officiating coaches are Hanoomansingh, CJ Senkow and Colin Watt.


Men’s East Regional Camp (Sherbrooke, QC – Oct. 26-29)

Name

Member

Role

Alex Allain

Hockey New Brunswick

Linesperson

Maxime Carré

Hockey Québec

Linesperson

Simon Cholette

Hockey Québec

Referee

Antoine Dénommé

Hockey Québec

Referee

Justin Deveau

Hockey Nova Scotia

Referee

Nicolas Gaudet

Hockey New Brunswick

Referee

William Kelly

Hockey Québec

Referee

Joey Kramar

Hockey Eastern Ontario

Linesperson

Julien Lapointe

Hockey Québec

Referee

Olivier Lapointe

Hockey Québec

Linesperson

Cole Sellers

Hockey Nova Scotia

Linesperson

Kalib Snow

Hockey PEI

Referee

The officiating coaches are François Fortin, Marc Maisonneuve, Peter Moraitis and Kirk Wood.


Women’s Central Regional Camp (Montréal, QC – Nov. 11-13)

Name

Member

Role

Laurie-Anne Éthier

Hockey Québec

Linesperson

Catherine Fournier

Hockey Québec

Referee

Bailey Kennedy

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Referee

Daphnée Lemay

Hockey Québec

Referee

Raphaëlle Locas

Hockey Québec

Referee

Michelle Ngan

Hockey Québec

Linesperson

Francesca Pedulla

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Linesperson

Abiguèle Perreault

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Referee

Hailey Perreault

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Linesperson

Shadei Saadé

Hockey Québec

Referee

Marlowe Schott

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Linesperson

Evelyn Wilson

Ontario Women's Hockey Association

Linesperson

The officiating coaches are Ariano-Lortie, Stéphanie Campbell and Theresa Llorente.


Women’s West Regional Camp (Regina, SK – Dec. 7-10)

Name

Member

Role

Karissa Alford

Hockey Saskatchewan

Referee

Emma Benoit

Hockey Saskatchewan

Referee

Cassidy Brand

Hockey Alberta

Linesperson

Hailey Cromie

Hockey Manitoba

Linesperson

Julianne Desjardins

BC Hockey

Referee

Lindsey Ducharme

Hockey Alberta

Linesperson

Dana Edamura

BC Hockey

Referee

Jessica Hammer

Hockey Alberta

Linesperson

Emily Hill

Hockey Alberta

Referee

Annika Kohlman

Hockey Saskatchewan

Referee

Taylor Pearson

BC Hockey

Linesperson

Kassandra Speicher-Cook

BC Hockey

Linesperson

Katie Watson

Hockey Saskatchewan

Referee

The officiating coaches are Stratton and Ashley Desjardins.

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Markus Ruck and Liam Ruck

Bonded as brothers, together through hockey

They learned to skate together, they were drafted by the Medicine Hat Tigers together, and now identical twins Markus and Liam Ruck are wearing the Maple Leaf together at the Youth Olympics

Jonathan Yue
|
January 27, 2024

Markus and Liam Ruck are twins through and through. Born eight minutes apart on Feb. 21, 2008, the brothers have been inseparable on and off the ice ever since.

From playing minor hockey in the small town of Osoyoos, B.C., to rising through the ranks in the South Okanagan Minor Hockey Association, to being drafted by the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first round of the 2023 Western Hockey League (WHL) Prospects Draft, Markus and Liam have been by each other’s side, stride by stride.

The Rucks are what the medical community categorizes as mirror identical twins, which is when a pair twins possess opposite traits that mirror each other. Markus is a playmaking left-handed centre, while Liam is the goal-scoring right-handed winger. By definition, they complement each other perfectly.

“We do everything together, on and off the ice,” Liam says. “We’re competitive off the ice, always trying to beat each other, and on the ice, we push each other, want to make each other better, and make our jobs easier out there.”

“It’s been really special to have us together,” Markus adds. “It’s always a little bit easier to have my twin with me throughout my whole life.”

Now, the brothers are making their international debuts together at the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games in Gangwon, South Korea.

“We’re going to go out there and show what we can do on the international stage, as a team and as individuals and play the way we play,” says Liam.

“We’re looking forward to putting our names out there, wearing that Canadian jersey,” Markus adds. “The goal is to find success with the team and come back with the gold.”

A family affair

Markus and Liam first hit the ice when they were two years old on the family's backyard rink and then at public skates. By the time they were four, they were already making plays to each other in games. With hockey smarts to back their chemistry, their skills were quickly noticed in their hometown.

“They loved the game from a very young age,” says Jim Liebel, the twins’ coach from ages four to 12. “They were committed to hockey, from shooting in their living room to showing up to the rink. They were soft spoken, but you could tell they really wanted to be hockey players back then. The plays they made, they just knew where the other brother would be, and that connection was just so special to see.”

Their connection has been evident for as long as they’ve been lacing up their skates. In 2018, the pair were members of the B.C. Junior Canucks at The Brick Invitational in Edmonton. Liam finished with a team-leading seven goals and co-led with 10 points. Markus had four points, including two assists, both of which came on goals scored by Liam.

Skating with the U15 Prep team at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in Penticton, B.C., last season, Liam led the Canadian Sport School Hockey League (CSSHL) with 90 points (53-37—90) in 27 games, just ahead of Markus and his 87 points (22-65—87). So it was no surprise when Liam was selected ninth overall in the WHL draft by the Medicine Hat Tigers, 12 spots before the Tigers traded up to select Markus.

“We love playing together,” Markus says. “We love our give-and go-plays, our passes in between sticks and feet to create those two-on-one opportunities on the ice against the defenders, but the small community here [in Osoyoos] gives us lots of ice time and that support is always there.”

“We support each other a lot out there,” Liam adds. “Markus makes my job as a goal scorer a lot easier when he sets me up, so we definitely get a lot of good chances out there together. Our parents spend countless hours supporting us as well, and the all-around support from them and the community, it makes our lives easier to focus on hockey.”

It’s not only on the ice where the family connection is strong. Away from the rink, hockey has become an activity that has brought the Ruck family together on numerous occasions.

From the competitive mini-stick battles with their younger brother Landon, to family vacations scheduled around hockey, the sport has brought the whole family together. It’s something that the brothers’ parents, Nina and Derek, are thankful for.

“We’ve got to go all over Canada and the United States as a family,” Nina says. “We’ve had so many great memories with hockey and people sometimes ask if we even do family vacations, and I tell them ‘Of course,’ whether it’s to The Brick tournament or to Montreal for Meltdown, its some of the best memories of our lives so far together.”

The Youth Olympics will be a proud moment for family and friends, who will be cheering them on from Osoyoos.

“Kids in Osoyoos look up to them as leaders,” Liebel says, thinking about how emotional it will be to see the twins take the ice in Gangwon. “It’s a small town here and the kids see what Markus and Liam are doing on the ice and their level of commitment to hockey; they are the perfect types of people for kids in the community to look up to.”

International success runs in the family

When Markus and Liam hit the ice for Canada’s preliminary-round opener against the host Koreans on Jan. 27, it won’t be the first time a member of the Ruck family competes with the Maple Leaf on their chest. Their father played three years in the WHL with the Lethbridge Hurricanes (1998-2001) before winning the Allan Cup in 2007 as a member of the Powell River Regals, a year before the twins were born. The Regals were invited to represent Canada’s National Men’s Team at the Belarus Cup and Derek skated in three games for Canada.

And then there’s their second cousin, Taylor Ruck. She is a four-time Olympic medallist (a silver and three bronze) in the swimming pool, representing Canada at the 2016 and 2020 Summer Games, and tied a Commonwealth Games record with eight medals (one gold, five silver, two bronze) at the 2018 Games in Australia.

With all that success in the family, the twins hope to continue to represent the Ruck name with pride on the international stage.

“We’ve both dreamed of putting on that jersey,” Liam says. “A lot of Canadian kids have that dream, and to have the opportunity to do that is really exciting for us and the family."

“Ever since watching the World Juniors and the Olympics, we always dreamed to be in their positions and in their shoes,” Markus adds. “We have the opportunity now, it’s going to be unbelievable.”

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For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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