A local Rimbey woman has joined the Hockey Alberta board of directors.
Kirstan Jewell has been involved with various levels of hockey over the last 15 years as a hockey parent to three boys.
“They have all played at various levels, the oldest started when he was four,” said Jewell. “(Hockey has) been one of the best ways as a family for us to meet people.”
Jewell and her family moved to Rimbey just as her children were starting hockey and she credits the sport for allowing her to connect to the community.
In her years as a hockey parent she has found herself volunteering more and more to support her kids and the teams they played on. She has taken turns as a team manager, tournament coordinator, referee coordinator, and has sat on various different committees within the Rimbey Minor Sports board.
“I really enjoyed that (work), and have a lot of respect for the work that the volunteers do,” said Jewell.
Wanting to continue her volunteering, and growth of the sport, when Jewell saw that Hockey Alberta was looking for directors at large she decided to put her in name, supported by Rimbey Minor Sports.
Hockey Alberta was seeking diversity in the membership of the board, which is made up of eight members plus a chief executive officer. They looked at the skills Jewell offered, as well as where she was from to ensure that rural Alberta was represented.
Hockey Alberta’s application process was rigorous, according to Jewell. The process included in-depth interviews, reference checks, and a look at Jewell’s professional skills to see where they could be used within the organization.
Ultimately, she was recommended and appointed to a position during the Hockey Alberta’s annual general meeting on Nov. 25, 2021, for a three-year term.
Jewell doesn’t plan to go into the board pushing for change as the organization has developed a “robust strategy and road map” over the last two years. Instead, she wants to volunteer her time with Hockey Alberta so that other parents and youth can have the same experience that her family and children had with the sport.
“I’ve really come to understand the importance of youth sports and the benefit of that social and athletic experience. At the heart of it, I want to continue seeing the programs that Hockey Alberta delivers. It’s more about carrying those things forward than making change.”
What advice does Jewell have for hockey parents?
“It’s about your player first. Really, it goes by fast. They grow grow fast, and the experience flies by and before you know it, you’ll be missing the experience of taking them to practise. Make it a positive experience for your kid.”
Jewell also suggests getting involved as these organizations are all volunteer led, and cannot work without volunteers.
Away from minor hockey, Jewell has a twenty-year career in human relations, and has worked in various capacities around central Alberta. Recently, managing to blend her love of hockey with her professional life, she joined one of Alberta’s National Hockey League franchises in a human resources role.