The Alberta Junior Hockey League and Hockey Alberta held a unique meeting between the league’s Coaches and Game Officials on September 9th in Red Deer, Alberta. The joint meeting was an opportunity to open lines of communication, review rule interpretation, and discuss rule changes within the AJHL.
The Alberta Junior Hockey League was optimistic about the first-time meeting and believes it will become an annual event. “The coaches had an opportunity to seek clarification on new rules, discuss rule interpretation, and participate in productive dialogue with the game officials,” said AJHL Vice-President George McCorry. “This type of education and improved communication can have a very positive effect on our game.”
Hockey Alberta Referee-in-Chief, Curtis Nichols, was encouraged by the opportunity the two groups had to interact professionally and outside of a game situation. “Anytime you can open the lines of communication, it’s a step in the right direction. We look forward to seeing how it translates onto the ice and we will monitor the effects and feedback throughout the year.”
The AJHL is currently involved in several innovative programs including the Junior A Supplement, which was introduced by the Canadian Junior Hockey League and Hockey Canada to reduce bullying in hockey and provide a safe environment for junior-aged hockey players. The Supplement focuses on dangerous hits, repeat offenders, accumulated infractions and fighting.
In August 2012, the League also hired its first-ever Video Review Manager to assist in discipline and officiating. Former AJHL official and newly appointed AJHL Video Manager, Dean Laschowski, will work with AJHL Vice President George McCorry in the areas of video review, supervision of game officials, and supplementary discipline.