The Canadian hockey city of Edmonton hosted a gathering of some international ice hockey stakeholders last week during the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Memorial Cup.
Joining from the IIHF was President René Fasel, along with members form the Officiating, Player Safety, Coaching, and Youth & Junior development Committees, who held a series of meetings together with representatives from the National Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League.
The Centre ICE Summit is an opportunity for hockey personnel to come together and learn from each other, envision what the future of the game will look like and strategize to continue to grow the great game of hockey.
The Summit featured several streams of hockey development with key focuses on coaching, officiating, facility operations and athlete experiences. Rule changes and facility operations were also discussed in seminars and meetings that occurred.
“The game is changing, players are getting bigger, coaches are using new tactics and making the game faster,” said IIHF President René Fasel. “Tt is important to evolve alogn with the game, keep player safety in focus but also not to make rules that would kill the sport.”
The Centre Ice Summit was organized by the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, whose Vice Chairman Bob Nicholson serves also as Vice President with the IIHF. Nicholson along with Hockey Canada President Tom Renney and IIHF Council Member Petr Briza co-chaired a meeting between their respective IIHF Committees during the Summit.
Aside from meetings, Coaches from all levels of hockey participated in various skill development sessions during Centre ICE Summit. A set of on-ice and off-ice learning sessions where hel that involved Hockey Canada, the Western Hockey League (WHL) and Hockey Alberta. Coaches met with experts in the field, as well as each other, and will work to continue developing their personal coaching strategies.
A key part of any hockey game is the officiating, and the Summit also hosted officials from several levels of hockey, starting from grassroots development levels all the way up to the international level.
While participants at the higher levels of hockey focused their discussions on how new rules impact the game, while those in the grassroots, provincial and major junior levels worked on developing their officials on the ice and providing them concrete examples of how officials can continue their growth up the officiating chain, whether that be in their local organizations or moving into bigger leagues such as the WHL, Hockey Canada and international events. On and off-ice sessions will be led by the heads of officiating from the NHL, International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
With files from Oilers Entertainment Group