The goal of this program is to assist in the development of Saskatchewan's female hockey players, coaches, referees and trainers. The Sask First Hockey Program has existed since 1988. The S.H.A. is comprised of eight zones within its provincial boundaries. All bantam, as well as 1st and 2nd year midget female hockey players in the province of Saskatchewan are invited to a zone camp. At the zone camp all players are evaluated on both their individual skills and team performance. Each player is given fair and equal opportunity to become one of the 20 players chosen to represent their zone at the Spring Female Sask First Tournament. The Sask First tournament (held in March), sees all eight zones across the province compete against one another over the course of one weekend.
During the Sask First Tournament, the top 80 players will be identified and invited to attend the SaskFirst Female Summer Evaluation Camp in early July of every year. This camp consists of a 5 day format, mirroring a short term competition and the players will once again be evaluated on individual skill, team play and other intangibles. From this evaluation camp the top 30 are invited to attend the Mandi Schwartz Challenge in September.
Following the Mandi Schwartz Challenge, the top twenty players are chosen to form Team Saskatchewan. This team will compete at Hockey Canada’s Under-18 Female POE event operating in that year and every 4th year competing in the Canada Winter Games (2015).
Although this program eventually leads to the formation of provincial high performance teams, the grass roots development aspect of this program should not be forgotten. The Sask First program provides a quality environment for all involved (players, coaches, referees) to develop skills for excelling both in the sport of hockey, as well as in life.
The program is funded, in part, by the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund, which financially assists most Provincial Sport Governing bodies in Saskatchewan.