Coach Beissel – Canada Winter Games Experience

Thank you to all of the Donnan & Vimy families for their support during my time with Team Alberta. The amount of texts, voicemails and emails I received was surprising. It meant alot!


I was asked to provide some background on the tournament. Some of you may know that the process of building the U16 provincial team starts annually at the Alberta Cup. At the end of March, every 2nd year bantam player in the province is eligible to tryout for their zone team and then compete at the Alberta Cup April 29-May 3. From there, the coaching staff of Team Alberta narrow down to a list of 80 athletes that are invited to the annual Camrose Top 80 camp. This camp is a gruelling week of skill development and assessment. The athletes undergo teambuilding, on-ice practices and games as well as off-ice training and video sessions. Coming out of this camp, the coaching staff determine a short list of approximately 40 athletes who will be scouted and evaluated to determine a roster by November. Usually the U16 competition is in November and is called the Western Canada Challenge Cup. This event is comprised of the top players from Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan & Manitoba. Every 4th year is a Canada Winter Games year and the process is longer since the competition is not until the end of February.

After selecting our roster, we were able to assemble the team for a 2 day training camp just prior to Xmas and play 2 exhibition games. We also reassembled for another 2 day training camp and 2 exhibition games over the diploma exam break, Lastly, our team got together for a final 2 day training camp just prior to departing for the games. The amount of preparation for the athletes is daunting. The coaches even more so. weekly conference calls, scouting players, developing tactical/technical packages as well as video analysis all had to be done prior to competition.

Once we were in Prince George, the work really started. A typical day looked like this:
745 am WakeUp
815 am Depart for Breakfast
845 am Depart for Team meeting
900 am-1045 am Athletes Stretch and Roll their muscles followed by video session, team building and walk thrus
1045 am Depart for Hotel
1100 am Mandatory Nap Time
1200 pm Depart for Pre Game Meal
1230 pm Depart for Hotel
1245-130 pm Downtime in Hotel
145 pm Depart for Game
200 pm – 230pm Individual Time & Special Teams Meetings
230 pm – 255 pm Team Dynamic Warmup
300 pm – 310 pm Team Meeting
330pm On Ice Warmup
400 pm Game Time
630 – 700 pm Post Game Cool Down
715 pm Depart for Post Game Meal
730 pm Post Game Meal (From this point on the coaches would planning and viewing video of our game & our next opponents)
800 – 915 pm Players Personal Time in Athletes Village
930 pm Check into Hotel
1000pm Bed Time


The experience of the event was incredible. To realize that you are eating meals with future Olympians is amazing. The chance to meet and greet with multi-sport athletes from across our great country was surreal. The networking and reconnecting with fellow hockey people from across Canada & the Hockey Canada community was invaluable and enjoyable. We have some amazing hockey minds across the country. The fact that the Donnan & Vimy brand is well recognized for it’s accomplishments was humbling. Once again thanks for all of your support!