Sask First Unveils Staff for 2024 Canadian Para Hockey Championship
By Hockey Saskatchewan
REGINA, Sask. – Hockey Saskatchewan and Sask First are proud to present the coaching and support staff selected to lead Team Saskatchewan at the 2024 Canadian para hockey championship in Ontario this May.
Head coach Noel Kingwell (North Battleford) returns to Team Saskatchewan after winning a silver medal at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship in 2019. He will be joined by assistant coaches Wayne Nogier (Melfort) and Braden Close (Kindersley). Nogier has been a master coach developer with Hockey Canada, while Close will be making his coaching debut following three years on the national para development team.
"We are excited to introduce the coaching staff for the inaugural Sask First para program. With their diverse strengths and extensive experiences across different levels of the game, we have full confidence that these exceptional coaches will play a pivotal role in guiding this group throughout the program's first campaign," said Joel Houseman, Director of Operations of Sask First.
"Launching the Sask First para program marks a new chapter in Saskatchewan's commitment to fostering inclusivity and growth. With a dedicated focus on inclusion, the program opens its arms to players of all abilities and genders. At the provincial camp, the spirit of inclusivity prevails as both para-athletes and able-bodied players converge on the ice, supporting each other's journeys, and collectively advancing the sport."
The coaching staff will be joined by athletic therapist Kacey Marcinkiw (Saskatoon) and equipment manager Josh Brown (Saskatoon). Both currently perform their duties with the Saskatchewan Male Under-18 AAA Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blazers.
This inaugural program is an extension of the renowned Sask First program, which has been fielding Team Saskatchewan players to represent the province in Western Canadian and national competitions since 1988.
Coaches, officials, and players will take part in the first-ever Sask First para program event at the Jim Kook Recreation Complex in Outlook, Sask., on December 17, 2023. Players who participate in this provincial camp are eligible to attend the Canadian para hockey championship in Port Colborne, Ont., from May 16-19, 2024.
About SASK FIRST
The Sask First program, introduced by Hockey Saskatchewan in 1988, has been a source of immense pride and achievement in our province. This high-performance initiative was crafted with the dual goal of enhancing the game's comprehension and nurturing the growth of exceptional players, coaches, trainers, officials, and administrators. It empowers participants, enriching them as individuals, fostering self-satisfaction, and enhancing their enjoyment within the hockey community.
About HOCKEY SASKATCHEWAN
Hockey Saskatchewan was established in 1912 and is the governing body for organized hockey in the province of Saskatchewan. With a mission to lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences, Hockey Saskatchewan encourages competition at all levels – from recreational to high performance. Hockey Saskatchewan has grown through the years and is Saskatchewan’s largest sports organization with over 40,000 members comprised of players, coaches, and officials. For more information, please visit www.hockeysask.ca or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and X.