My son Matt and I had a chance to travel to the Czech Republic with HDI. As a former pro hockey player and someone who has played internationally, I felt this could be a great opportunity for my son and I to bond, share somthing special and give him an international hockey experience. Matt had an opportunity to gain a new awareness for different training methods and grow as a hockey player. As a member of the Canadian National Team and as NHL alumni I appriciated and learned from the European methods of coaching and training. The other travel destinations were equally as educational as the hockey.
The game has allowed us the opportunity to see parts of the world we normally would not have seen. Overall this trip was somthing we will never forget. It was great we had a chance to experience it together.

Brian Benning – Father of Mathew Benning (born 1994), Former NHL player and former Canadian National Team player


Hotel food was great and the room fantastic. Would stay there on my own vacation. Mike liked his room.

Donna Brown, Mother of Michael Brown (born 1993) Stony Plain, Alberta


I feel that I am able to read the play better now and move the puck. I feel way stronger on my skates and have a harder shot.

Carter Huebner (born 1994) Leduc, Alberta


I enjoyed mostly the hockey. The tours were fun also. I met lots of new people/friends.

Brendan Beamish (born 1993) Fort St. John, B.C.


Outstanding character building experience.

Dr. Wes Thomson, Father of Blaine Thomson (born 1993) Assiniboia, Saskatchewan


Just wanted to say thank-you for all the extras you did for Trey. He had a really great time.

Kari Christensen, Mother of Trey Christensen (born 1994) Innisfail, Alberta


I can’t tell you what a great experience this trip was for Luke. I cannot stop bragging about HDI and how much Luke has grown from being a part of the developmental training.

Alana Leggo, Mother of Luke Leggo (born 1994) Drayton Valley, Alberta


The training shows us what we need to be working on to strengthen our game. We enjoyed mostly the experience of learning a different style of hockey, in a different country. This trip was an awsome experience!

Daimon Derouin (born 1994), Fort St. John, B.C.


I enjoyed the new friends, excellent coaches, everything! Highly Recomended!

Jetlan Houcher (born 1994), Lloydminster, Alberta
Darcy Houcher, Mother


Cody’s comments to his mother in his first email to her was that, “he was having the time of his life!”

Wendell Nelson- father of Cody Nelson (born 1994), Brandon, Manitoba


“My son David (1994) really enjoyed his experience with HDI in Melnick in the spring of 2008. We were a bit hesitant at first to send him by himself. He was only 13 and we were not able to join him – we need not have worried though as it turned out to be a tremendous time. The hockey was good, he made lots of friends, the coaching was outstanding and the whole trip itself was highly rewarding. Many thanks to Ryan and his team!”

Bruce Randall- Father of David Randall (born 1994), Calgary, Alberta
Director of Business Development, Edge School for Athletes in Calgary
Canada’s 1st independent sports school


Thanks for the opportunity of going to the Czech Republic. I enjoyed everything, especially the hockey. The coaches were great and the competition was great. I would do it again in a heartbeat. THANKS!

Aaron Irving, (born 1996) Edmonton, Alberta


Just a note to say thank you for the great experience both Alex and myself had in the last 2 weeks. All of your hard work and effort in organizing the tournament as well as the tours for both players and parents was appriciated, as the entire experience was terrific. Alex came back to Toronto with a better attitude and understanding of the game of hockey.

Bruno Anecchiarico, father of Alexander Anecchiarico (born 1995) Richmond Hill (Toronto), Ontario.


I have nothing but positive to report about the program, from the coaches all the way to the rest of the HDI team. You guys have put together an awsome group of people to make our trip very enjoyable, as well as educational both on and off the ice! Thanks a million!

Jim Rohatynsky, Father of Josh Rohatysky (born 1998) Yorkton, Saskatchewan


Thanks for a great experience-great group of parents and kids! My son really enjoyed the coaches and their advice! Cheers!

Sandra Waiand, Mother of Kevin Waiand (born 1998) Calgary, Alberta

The Program

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The Program


Regina Pats/ Oil Kings

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Regina Pats/ Oil Kings

Curtis Lazar-2

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Curtis Lazar-2

Curtis Lazar

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Curtis Lazar

David Pope-5

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David Pope-5

David Pope-Detroit Redwings Draft Pick

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David Pope-Detroit Redwings Draft Pick

“Going to Europe/Czech Republic was a unique opportunity that presented itself to me, and I am grateful that I had the experience I did. I was exposed to unique ways to attack the game of hockey. (more…)

Detroit Redwings Draft Pick

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Detroit Redwings Draft Pick

David Pope

David Pope

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David Pope

Detroit Redwings Draft Pick

Oil Kings

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Current News | 0 comments

Oil Kings focus locally at draft 1
Gerry Moddejonge,Edmonton Sun


Aaron Irving, the Edmonton Oil Kings’ first pick in Thursday’s WHL bantam draft, poses with his new jersey in the Kings’ dressing room on Friday. Irving is one of 10 members of the Southside Athletic Club selected in the draft. (Laura Pedersen, Edmonton Sun)

EDMONTON – He got his first look inside the Edmonton Oil Kings locker room on Friday, but Aaron Irving has already made his debut on the ice at Rexall Place.

Years before being selected ninth overall in the first round of the 2011 WHL bantam draft on Thursday, the defenceman enjoyed the rare experience of skating in his hometown’s big rink during a minor hockey game.

“I was about 10 or maybe a little younger, I don’t quite remember it,” said Irving, now 15. “Our team went along with another team and decided to both pitch in and have a game at Rexall. Neat experience.”

Little did he know he’d have another opportunity in Rexall one day.

“I did not think in 100 years that I’d be here,” said Irving, who was toured through the facilities on Friday. “I remember sitting in a hotel one year with my dad and my mom, we were at a Calgary tournament and we were watching the WHL on TV. My dad said, ‘Hey, Edmonton is getting a team soon. How neat would it be to play for them?’

“I never really thought it would come true.”

He’s one step closer now.

“Definitely exciting, a different experience,” Irving said. “It’s something that you’ll always remember and something that I really will treasure.

“It’s something that will never happen again.”

After all, you’re only drafted as a bantam once.

“Everyone wants to go high,” Irving said. “What I was told more is, it’s better to go to a good organization than to go No. 1 to an organization that you don’t really want to go to.

“So the Oil Kings is an ideal place to go to for me, being an Edmonton boy.”

One whose family had season tickets to this edition of the Oil Kings since Day 1.

“I like to be a big, physical player. I like to use my shot. I like to play those one-on-one battles and get the puck out,” Irving said. “It’s more fun in the offensive zone, but the defensive zone has to get taken care of first.”

Including Irving, 10 players off his league-champion Southside Athletic Club Southgate Lions squad were picked up in this year’s draft.

“A lot of them go to my school, that were drafted,” said Irving, who attends the St. Francis Xavier hockey academy.

Classmate and Lions teammate – and the son of former Edmonton Oilers player and hockey analyst Craig Simpson – Riley, was selected by the Oil Kings in the sixth round, 123rd overall.

“Talking about it, too, we’re both excited,” said Irving, who was keeping track of Thursday’s draft at school. “We had it on the screens, had it on the announcements. It was great.”

The Oil Kings went with some more locally developed talent this year, also drafting Sherwood Park’s Brett Pollock (fifth round, 97th overall) along with Leduc’s Trevor Posch (eighth round, 163rd).

“It’s not our focus, but it’s a nice perk,” Oil Kings general manager Bob Green said of the homegrown talent. “This is a great area that produces a lot of talent, not only in the Western Hockey League, but the National Hockey League.

“It’s something for us to be here. I’m not going to say we pay more attention to it, but when it comes to training camp and that type of thing, we are able to get more kids from the area because it’s easier for them, it’s closer, it’s a little less expensive.”


Congratulations to Alumni

Posted by on Apr 1, 2014 in Current News | 0 comments

HDI would like to congratulate the following 7 Team Western Selects Alumni named to the annual 2012 WHL Bantam Draft.


Draft number Player Name WHL Team Hometown Position
27 Regan Nagy Victoria Ogema, Sk. Center
46 Braden Purtill Tri-City Winnipeg, Man. Center
102 Tyson Helgesen Spokane Fairview, Ab. Defense
146 Marcus Vela Spokane Burnaby, B.C. Center
170 Brad Forrest Medicine Hat Calgary, Ab. Defense
171 Alex McGovern Calgary Vernon, B.C. Defense
191 Mitch Stapley Vancouver Campbell River, B.C. Defense

HDI would like to congratulate the following 11 alumni on being selected to compete in the WHL’s U-16 Challenge Cup, Oct. 27-30th 2011 in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan.

G McLeod Liam Kamloops Thompson Blazers (BCMML) KAM 9th round
F Bell Michael Kitimat Cariboo Cougars (BCMML) VIC 3rd round
D Hoydalo Nigel Selkirk Winnipeg Hawks (City Midget AAA) EVT list
F Starodub Dallas Selkirk Winnipeg Hawks (City Midget AAA) BDN 4th round
G Parenteau Rylan Saskatoon Saskatoon Contacts (Midget AAA) PA 3rd round
D Mpofu Vukie Saskatoon Saskatoon Contacts (Midget AAA) RD 4th round
D Pilon Ryan Duck Lake Beardy’s Blackhawks (Midget AAA) LET 1st round
F Olynek Kolten Saskatoon Saskatoon Contacts (Midget AAA) LET 2nd round
F Warkentine Miles Prince Albert Prince Albert Mintos (Midget AAA) MJ 1st round
D Meek Mitchell Victoria South Island Thunderbirds (BCMML) EDM 7th round
D Irving Aaron Edmonton SSAC (AMHL) EDM 1st round