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2023 BFL Female Coach of the Year Winners Announced

22 recipients selected across Community, Competitive and High Performance categories

June 7, 2023

CALGARY, Alta. – In partnership with BFL CANADA, Hockey Canada has announced the national and provincial/territorial winners of the 2023 BFL Female Coach of the Year award, which recognizes coaches who led by example in demonstrating fair play and a commitment to the development of every player and staff member, and made significant contributions to the game during the 2022-23 season.

Nominated by parents and players from coast to coast to coast, 21 provincial and territorial winners in the Community and Competitive categories were chosen by the selection committee, which included Canadian women’s hockey leaders, accompanied by leaders from BFL CANADA and Hockey Canada.

From that group of 21, national winners were selected for Community and Competitive, and a national High Performance winner was chosen separate from that group.

“We are thrilled to recognize this year’s recipients of the BFL Female Coach of the Year award,” said Marin Hickox, vice-president of women and girls hockey for Hockey Canada. “Each of our award winners have devoted countless hours to coaching and influencing young athletes on and off the ice, and are extremely deserving of this honour.”

Haneet Parhar (B.C.), an assistant coach with the women’s hockey team at the University of British Columbia (UBC), is the national winner in the High Performance category and will receive an invitation to Canada’s National Women’s Team training camp in September and a $5,000 bursary. Parhar, a former student-athlete with the Thunderbirds, has been behind the bench for three seasons with UBC in addition to coaching with the Vancouver Female Ice Hockey Association.

Alicia MacDonald (N.L.) is this year’s national winner in the Competitive category, and will receive a $2,500 bursary. A member of the NHL Coaches’ Association’s Female Coaches Development Program, MacDonald has coached for more than 20 years, including in the provincial program with Hockey Newfoundland & Labrador, including as head coach of the provincial female U14 team and as an assistant at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. During the 2022-23 season, she served as an apprentice coach with the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers.

As the national winner in the Community category, Julie Venselaar (B.C.) will receive a $2,500 bursary. A full-time teacher, Venselaar has been influential in the growth of the women’s game in Powell River, B.C., serving as a coach and mentor and helping create the first all-girls teams in the West Coast community.

Provincial/territorial winners in the Community category included: Kristy Wilson (Alta.), Venselaar (B.C.), Laura Cowling (Man.), Julie Pelchat (N.B.), Shandie Chambers (N.L.), Lori Kinnear (N.S.), Courtney Fraser (North), Allyson Middaugh (Ont.), Sydney Powers (P.E.I.), Émilie Bouchard (Que.) and Kristen Bear (Sask.).

Provincial/territorial winners in the Competitive category included: Tara Swanson (Alta.), Melanie Jue (B.C.), Jessica Kaminsky (Man.), Kristen Nash (N.B.), MacDonald (N.L.), Ilsa van Oostrum (N.S.), Kaylee Grant (North), Lindsay Oliver (Ont.), Jordan Miller (P.E.I.) and Sina Bourbeau (Que.).

The 19 provincial and territorial award winners who were not selected as national winners each receive a $1,000 bursary.

For a full list of all winners, visit

For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit, or follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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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