The 2019 Alberta Cup runs April 24-28 in Red Deer. Alberta Cup coach and trainer applications will be released October 9.
Regional Camp registration will open in January. Regional Camps run March 29-31, and team training April 13, locations TBA.
The Alberta Cup aids in the identification and selection of potential players for Hockey Alberta’s Team Alberta program, with hundreds of players annually trying out for 120 spots (20 positions on each of the six regional teams).
In addition to player development, the Alberta Cup also features opportunities for administrators, referees, coaches, therapists and equipment managers to be identified for potential positions at higher level events, such as the World U17 Hockey Challenge and Canada Winter Games.
The Alberta Cup began in 1986 as a program for midget-aged hockey players, running until 1988. It went on hiatus until 1993 when it re-emerged as a bantam level competition.
Through the Regional Camps, the hockey players are able to measure themselves against other players of the same age and receive instruction from some of the best coaches in the province. For those selected to the regional teams, the Alberta Cup is a taste of top level competition. The pressure felt in the Alberta Cup has been said to come close to that of the Western Hockey League. Bantams are getting a taste of the pressure of high performance hockey as well as the opportunity to excel under that pressure.
Over the years, the Alberta Cup has evolved into an event known for its professionalism. It is not only an athlete development program, but it also encompasses development opportunities for administrators, referees, coaches, therapists and equipment managers. The competition identifies top level ‘hockey people’ for potential positions at higher level events such as the World U17 Hockey Challenge and Canada Winter Games.
Starting this season, the Alberta Cup has been amended to a regional format of three ‘tryout’ / selection camps with each camp leading to the selection of two teams. The six teams of players will then move on to compete at the Alberta Cup tournament.
This updated model establishes a better environment for providing ‘best-on-best’ competition for 14-year old players.
Prior to changes by Hockey Canada to the national U17 program several years ago, the Alberta Cup was the entry point for Hockey Alberta’s Team Alberta program. The current model now places the Alberta Cup age group and program as the ‘pinnacle’ program leading to the U16 Team Alberta that competes at the WHL Cup.
Since then, Hockey Alberta has revamped the Team Alberta program to offer more development opportunities to players of Peewee and Bantam ages. The new Alberta Cup format is the latest step in the evolution of Hockey Alberta’s high-performance programming.
Over the past five years, several new opportunities within the Team Alberta program have been created.
The Peewee Prospects Cup and Alberta Winter Games now serve as the entry point to Team Alberta programming, providing the environment for players to learn and grow through a short-term competitive atmosphere. The format for the Alberta Winter Games shifted from club teams to a zone selection process in 2014, and in 2015, the inaugural Peewee Prospects Cup was held. Peewee Prospects and Alberta Winter Games are now held in alternating years for peewee-aged players.
Hockey Alberta has also created skill development opportunities such as the Team Alberta/ Peewee Skills Camp, Team Alberta/ WHL Skills Camp and AJHL Development Camp. These programs focus on developing the mental and physical skills and character traits that players need to be successful at provincial, national and international competitions. Hockey Alberta has partnered with the Alberta Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League to access some of the top instructors in Canada – thereby enhancing the learning opportunities for our players.
Combined, the adjustments to the Team Alberta program provide more options than ever before for players to access high performance development opportunities throughout their prime developmental years. Hockey Alberta is continually reviewing our Team Alberta program to provide better and more opportunities for players to enhance their skills.