Red Deer, AB - Hockey Alberta is pleased to announce the recipients of the annual Hockey Alberta Awards. These Awards allow Hockey Alberta and the Alberta hockey community to recognize outstanding individuals and teams for their hard work and accomplishments in making a positive difference for our participants in the game of hockey during the 2019-20 season.
The Hockey Alberta Awards program includes awards that are open to nominations from Hockey Alberta member organization, staff member or volunteer, and others that are determined by Hockey Alberta through a review of eligible candidates.
AJHL Vice-President Fran Gow and Bonnyville Pontiacs GM / Head Coach Rick Swan have both been awarded an Order of Merit. These awards recognize exceptional leadership and distinguished service to amateur hockey in Alberta for 10 years or more. Recipients have dedicated significant time, effort and leadership to the growth and development of amateur hockey, not only in their own community, but across the province.
Coaching/Development - Fran Gow
Fran Gow is the Coach Mentor in Hockey Development for Hockey Alberta, a role he has held for six years. As a Coach Mentor, Fran is leading instructor at coach clinics across the province, and shares his knowledge with coaches of all levels, and even speaks at sessions for on-ice officials to help them understand the perspective of hockey bench staff.
Fran’s credentials are impeccable, including: Master Mentor High Performance 1, Master Field Evaluator High Performance 1, NCCP High Performance 1 Certified, Hockey Canada Speak Out, NCCP Theory 3, Master Facilitator (NCCP program), and Hockey Canada Course Conductor (Checking, Coach 1, Coach 2, Development 1). He has also been a mentor coach in Hockey Alberta’s High Performance 1 program for 10 years, and was a Mentor Coach at the Alberta Cup (2006-10)
Fran brings an impressive career resume to his mentor role. He is one of only three coaches in the history of the Alberta Junior Hockey League to coach 1,000 regular season games with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (1992-2000, 2007-09), Grande Prairie Storm (2000-07), and Drayton Valley Thunder (2009-13). He won three AJHL championships - Fort McMurray (1997, 2000) and Grande Prairie (2004) – including leading the Oil Barons to the national championship in 2000.
More recently, Fran has served as the AJHL’s Vice President of Hockey Operations and returned behind the bench in 2019-20 as head coach of Sherwood Park Kings Midget AAA team.
Coaching/Development - Rick Swan
Rick Swan has been the head coach and general manager of the Bonnyville Pontiacs for the past eight years. He is the winningest coach in franchise history and has been nominated three times as the Alberta Junior Hockey League coach of the year, winning the award in 2015-16. He was also a nominee as the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s Most Outstanding Coach the same season. Rick finds his reward in coaching by helping athletes not only exceed their potential but also assisting them in achieving their on and off-ice goals.
Rick has brought his extensive experience to Hockey Alberta as both a Coach and a Coach Mentor. In addition to his work with the Pontiacs, his recent coaching experiences include:
The 2020 Hockey Alberta Award recipients are:
Volunteer of the Year: Shane Hainstock (Chestermere). Shane been on the board of Chestermere Minor Hockey for 17 years, including 11 years as president. Shane also volunteered two years with the Referee Association and spent 11 years as a minor hockey referee. Shane is also involved in the community, supporting great causes such as the annual Can Struck food bank drive, and has helped the Ice Edge Figure Skating Club facilitate the Battle of the Blades.
Coach of the Year: Mike Lees (Edmonton). Mike was the head coach of Hockey Edmonton’s KC St. Matthew Thunder Novice team and an assistant coach in the Timbits program last season - his ninth season coaching hockey in Edmonton. Mike enjoys building the lasting relationships with the players that are created through coaching. He takes the time to go around the room, and have a brief, personal interaction with each athlete, letting them know they are important to the coach and achieving the team’s common goals.
Player of the Year: Elise Hugens (Sherwood Park). Elise was named the top goaltender in the Alberta Female Hockey League’s Midget AAA division in 2019-20 as she finished her minor hockey career with the Edmonton Female Athletic Club Pandas. She led the league in goals against average (.960) and shutouts (six).
Official of the Year: Fraser Lawrence (Edmonton). Fraser is a Level 6 official from Edmonton who represented Canada internationally last season at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in the Czech Republic. He has been involved provincially and regionally as an Instructor and Supervisor at Hockey Alberta’s Officials Development Camp and supervising the Alberta Cup.
Ernie Boruk Award: CJ Senkow (Grande Prairie). CJ has been involved in various capacities in both the North Central and Peace Region executives since 2001. He has worked all levels of hockey in Alberta and the WHL, officiated numerous Provincial and National championships, and just retired this year from the AJHL.
Dave Ganley Award: Geoff Da Silva (Calgary). Geoff has been officiating since the age of 16. Through Geoff’s efforts, Central Region has been able to identify and develop officials effectively and efficiently. Geoff’s ongoing contributions include participation as a league supervision in both the Alberta Junior and Midget AAA levels.
Team of the Year: Crowfoot Coyotes Peewee AA (Calgary). Calgary’s Crowfoot Coyotes Peewee AA team gained national recognition as Alberta’s finalist in the 2020 Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup. As a regional finalist, the team won $2,000 for the charity of their choice – Team Naomi Get Well Now – a program to support children’s cancer research.
Order of Merit: These awards recognize exceptional leadership and distinguished service to amateur hockey in Alberta for 10 years or more. Awards may be presented in the categories of Administration, Coaching/Development and officiating. Recipients have dedicated significant time, effort and leadership to the growth and development of amateur hockey, not only in their own community, but across the province.
Administration – Tania Horseman (Hythe). Tania is the president of Horse Lake Minor Hockey Association, serving in that role for more than 10 years. Tania has worked countless hours, to finish up whatever paperwork is required. She even helps with rides to and from games and practices, or with fuel and meal money.
Administration – Michael Tymko (St. Albert). Michael has been with St. Albert Minor Hockey Association for more than 10 years, starting as Peewee Director and moving to Vice President of Hockey Operations. He is committed to improving and bettering St. Albert’s programs to help the players develop.
Coaching/Development – Fran Gow (Sherwood Park). Fran is the Coach Mentor in Hockey Development for Hockey Alberta, a role he has held for six years. As a Coach Mentor, Fran is leading instructor at coach clinics across the province, and shares his knowledge with coaches of all levels, and even speaks at sessions for on-ice officials to help them understand the perspective of hockey bench staff.
Coaching/Development – Rick Swan. Rick has been the Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL) Head Coach and General Manager since 2013, where he is the winningest coach in franchise history. Rick was named Head Co-Coach for Team AJHL (AJHL All-Stars) who played in the 2019 Junior Club World Cup in Sochi, Russia winning a silver medal.
Minor Hockey Association of the Year: Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association. Lethbridge Minor Hockey has been a leader in its attempts to grow the game in Alberta, especially with their Female program. Lethbridge has shown growth at all levels of Female hockey, with the increased registration numbers coming from a combination of player development and retention.
Congratulations to all of the Award recipients and nominees and Hockey Alberta and the hockey community thank you for your contributions to our sport. We encourage everyone to look at the full overview of the Hockey Alberta Awards program and consider who makes a difference to you, your team and your community in 2020-21.
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