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New hockey team offers more players a chance to develop

A new U16 AA team in the South Central Alberta Hockey League will give players with no alternatives a place to play and develop.
The new U16 AA AC Havoc Logo is a combination of two other AA teams in the South Central Alberta Hockey League— the Bow Valley Timberwolves, and the Airdrie Lightning.

COCHRANE— The South Central Alberta Hockey League will see a new addition to the U16 AA division this season.

The AC Havoc will be the newest member of the league coming in 2020.

The team will practice and play in both Airdrie and Cochrane, splitting its time between the two communities.

Airdrie-Cochrane Athletic Association board of directors member Rob Sutherland said the new team would give more kids a chance to develop and move forward with their hockey careers.

“It’s a directive coming from Hockey Alberta because they felt that these players that didn’t necessarily make Midget AAA 15, or the Midget AAA Bisons, a bunch of these players didn’t have a place to play,” he said. “It’s difficult for these players to make a Midget AAA team with a bunch of 16 or 17-year-olds— We’re excited to have a spot for these players to play."

Sutherland noted that there is a gap in the league for this particular age group that Hockey Alberta has identified across the province.

“Hockey Alberta sees a gap in the whole province with this age group,” he said. “There are boys that don’t make that Midget 15 AAA team, but still aspire to play AAA Midget someday, and I believe that’s what their goal is to give these boys a place to play and develop so that they can still strive for that goal.”

The team’s name and logo were chosen via a contest that was open to the public.

The winning name and logo, submitted by the Jessome family, is a combination of two other AA teams in the South Central Alberta Hockey League— the Bow Valley Timberwolves, and the Airdrie Lightning.

The logo, a paw trailed by a bolt of lightning, is a representation of two teams from each community that make up the draw zone from which players will be selected for the AC Havoc.

“It really is a nice combination of the two cities. That’s the leading factor of how the logo was picked,” he said. “They did some thinking before they did it. It’s a good representation of both.”

The decision to have a naming contest was made to help engage the drawing base, said Sutherland, and with more than 15 submissions he felt as though they accomplished that goal.

He said the plan right now is to start the season as normal, with increased hygiene practices, but the Airdrie Cochrane Athletic Association is waiting to receive direction from Hockey Alberta, as they get closer to the start of the season.

“There hasn’t been another indication saying ‘hey we’re going to shrink it down so you’re only playing against three teams,’” Sutherland said. “So far nothing to that effect has come out, but there’s lots of planning going on. With COVID progression was slowed a little bit, so it’s possible they come out with that, but nothing yet.”

The team will be led by head coach David Chamberlain, the previous assistant coach for the U18 AAA Bisons.

Chamberlain was the president of Crowfoot Minor Hockey for two years and the director of hockey operations for eight years with the same organization.

He has coached several levels of minor hockey, including Bantam AA, Bantam AAA, Midget AA, and Minor Midget AAA teams.

Registration is open and has gone smoothly so far, Sutherland said. Training camps are scheduled for the end of August and early September, but no dates are firm yet.