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Alberta

RDP Queens to face Olds College Broncos in ACAC Championship series

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RDP Queens Hockey ACAC Championship Preview

Brent Forster – Red Deer Polytechnic Athletics

Red Deer, AB – With the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women’s Hockey Championship approaching on Friday, the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens have been diligently preparing for their best-of-five final.

“We all have the same goal and same mindset of what we want to achieve,” said Mary Hirsch, a veteran forward. “[Coach] Kelly [Coulter] holds us accountable for what we need to get done and it benefits us in the long run.”

Hirsch (24)

The RDP Queens (11-2-2) solidified first in the standings with a 2-1 victory over the Olds College Broncos on March 4. With that accomplishment, the Queens received a bye to the championship final. Their opponent was undetermined until March 13 when the third seed Broncos (6-8-1) dropped the second place NAIT Ooks (11-4-0) in the best-of-three semi-final.

“The first week we made sure we skated and had intense practices because we didn’t know who we would face,” said Kelly Coulter, Red Deer Polytechnic Queens Hockey Head Coach.

Madison Fox (1): 0.83 goals against average & 0.965 save percentage 

With the Olds College Broncos’ victory, Coulter and the Queens began strategizing specifically for their opponent.

“This week of preparation is more geared towards how we want to play against Olds,” explained Coulter, who led the Queens to their last ACAC gold medal in 2016. “We play them a little different compared to how we would play against NAIT. This week is about refining some of things we do.”

The Queens won all five regular season meetings against the Broncos. It was evident that the Olds College Broncos’ focus was on a specific style of defence.

“The Broncos are a hard team to get a lot of shots on net. They do a good job of collapsing to the net front,” added Coulter, an ACAC Women’s Hockey Coach of the Year recipient. “They defend well. It will be a good matchup for us – a good challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”

Hirsch noted a few areas that the RDP Queens will concentrate on in the offensive zone.

“Moving the puck fast and possession behind the net will be huge, along with isolating players so we can work on a two-on-one or some kind of attacking strategy where we get a better scoring chance,” explained Hirsch, a Bachelor of Science Nursing student from Calgary. “In practice, we have worked on a lot of tipping, battling in front of the net, getting open, so those will be huge.”

Making fast and calculated decisions will be crucial.

“That’s something that we want to be aware of, looking for passing lanes and getting shots off quickly,” said Coulter. “Putting pucks on net always results in good things.”

While the Queens were the best defensive team this season, allowing only 0.91 goals against, Hirsch identified the importance of finding ways to score in the series.

“With Olds, you can’t let them hang around. They work really hard and have a good core,” said Hirsch, who led the Queens during the regular season with 12 points. “The games have all been really close and have all come down to the third period, so we need a goal scoring mentality.”

During the regular season, the RDP Queens’ offence ranked second with 2.4 goals per game. The Broncos had the third best offence (2.33 goals for) and third best defence (2.73 goals against).

The extra week off has allowed the Queens to recover from the intense 15 game regular season.

“Everyone is healthy,” added Coulter. “We have a really good bill of health, so we’re happy that it’s at the right time.”

The coaches and student-athletes have expanded their preparation to off the ice, as well.

“We did a team builder before the start of the postseason to go over our habits that we’ve talked about all year,” said Coulter. “Then we had some systematic and team discussions about making sure that everyone is pulling the rope the same way.”

First-year defender Alex Black (12) 

The student-athletes have made decisions and conducted themselves for the betterment of the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens.

“We have been going to the gym and working out, including team workouts Sunday mornings,” added Hirsch. “We are constantly putting the team first, so the big thing this year is sacrifice. We have a team first mentality to get us all the way to the end.”

Despite a hectic academic program, Hirsch is concentrating on being a supportive and productive member of the Queens.

“I’m full-time in my clinical placement right now, so I’ve been really busy, but when I get to practice, I’m focusing on what’s ahead of me and just trying to encourage my teammates,” said Hirsch, who is planning to graduate from the RDP Queens at the end of the season. “Just having that mindset is really huge and knowing that I’ve prepared the last four years for this, so I’m ready to go.”

The cancelation of the 2019/2020 championship and 2020/2021 ACAC season due to COVID-19 makes the ability to compete this season even more special.

“We are looking forward to getting started. The girls have worked hard all year, so it’ll be nice to get to the end and have a final this season,” said Coulter. “Last year was a tough year for everyone, so I think everyone will be excited to play for a championship.”

The Red Deer Polytechnic Queens will host the Olds College Broncos in game one of the best-of-five championship final on Friday, March 18 at 7 pm. Then game two will shift to Olds on Sunday at 7 pm. The remainder of the series will be completed the following week.

Tickets are available online.

Alberta

Alberta legislation would set up independent agency to investigate police complaints

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The Alberta government has introduced legislation aimed at making police forces more accountable and responsive to the communities they serve.

The Police Amendment Act introduced Thursday would establish an independent agency called the Police Review Commission to receive complaints, carry out investigations and conduct disciplinary hearings to do away with the idea of police investigating police.

Mike Ellis, the minister of public safety and emergency services, said the province has been consulting with Albertans since 2018 to come up with the first major overhaul of the Police Act in 34 years.

“One thing that came up consistently was the need to change how complaints against the police are investigated to end the system of police investigating police,” Ellis said.

“The legislation answers those long-lasting calls to reform the public complaints process by establishing an independent agency to handle complaints against police.”

The Alberta Serious Response Team will continue to handle all cases involving death or serious injuries, as well as serious and sensitive allegations involving all police services. Its mandate would be expanded to include peace officers employed by provincial organizations as well as community peace officers at the municipal level.

The legislation would also require all jurisdictions with a population above 15,000 currently policed by the RCMP to establish civilian bodies to oversee policing priorities.

The United Conservative Party government is deciding next steps following the release of a third-party analysis last year of a proposal to create a provincial police force instead of using the RCMP in rural areas and some smaller communities.

“No decisions have been made regarding the provincial police service,” Ellis said. “This is about ensuring that the rural municipalities have a say at the table under our current model which is the RCMP, who is the current provincial police service provider.”

Ellis said it could be another 18 months before the Police Review Commission is up and running. He said negotiations are underway with the RCMP to see how they would fit in under civilian oversight.

“Right now K-Division has expressed they’re supportive of this, however, we’re still having discussions with Public Safety Canada because it still falls technically under the RCMP in Ottawa,” he said.

“We’re going to continue to negotiate with the RCMP because we believe the independent body is the right approach and we can continue going down that path.”

The proposed changes would also require police to develop diversity and inclusion plans to reflect the diverse and distinct communities they serve and to better understand local community needs.

The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police supports the changes.

“Changes to update our Police Act are long overdue,” said Calgary Police Chief Mark Neufeld, president of the association in a statement.

“We have advocated for several years that the act needs reform to bring it more in line with the realities of the modern police workplace,”

Edmonton Police Chief Dale McFee said the changes “will provide an additional layer of public transparency” that will benefit both the public and police.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

— By Bill Graveland in Calgary

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Alberta

TC Energy shuts down Keystone pipeline system after leak in Nebraska

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CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. says it has shut down its Keystone pipeline after a leak in Nebraska.

The company says it has mobilized people and equipment in response to a confirmed release of oil into a creek, about 32 kilometres south of Steele City, Neb.

TC Energy says an emergency shutdown and response was initiated Wednesday night after a pressure drop in the system was detected.

It says the affected segment of the pipeline has been isolated and booms have been deployed to prevent the leaked oil from moving downstream.

The Keystone pipeline system stretches 4,324 kilometres and helps move Canadian and U.S. crude oil to markets around North America.

TC Energy says the system remains shutdown as its crews respond and work to contain and recover the oil.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)

The Canadian Press

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