The SaskFirst Program was introduced by the Saskatchewan Hockey Association (SHA) in 1988 and since that time the program has brought great pride and accomplishment within our province. The SaskFirst Program was designed to provide a better understanding of the game as well as to promote the development of quality players, coaches, trainers, officials and administrators. The participants are enriched as individuals and can achieve self-satisfaction and enjoyment as part of the hockey community.

The SaskFirst Program promotes a team concept which encompasses the pursuit of common goals. It is emphasized that everyone on the team must pursue their personal goals within the team environment and that no one individual is more important than the team. Team success comes from all team members melding their talents, skills and energies toward the achievement of the team's goals.

The SaskFirst Program is about respecting the past, the tradition. Successes such as the gold medal performances at the 1995 Canada Winter Games, the 1998 Western International Under 17 Hockey Challenge and the 2004 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge are bench marks to remember and use as an incentive for future achievements.

The Female SaskFirst High Performance Program begins every February with regional camps held across the province and are open to all players in the U16 and U18 categories. From there, the top players are invited to take place in the SaskFirst Tournament held in April at which time the top 42 are chosen to attend the upcoming summer camp. The process ensures all players not only have the opportunity to compete with their peers, but receive significant exposure as all SaskFirst events are highly attended by scouts from a variety of elite leagues. In addition, the SaskFirst Program is a gateway to Hockey Canada’s Female High Performance Program which includes their National Teams.

The SHA created this elite SaskFirst Program to ensure not only players, but coaches and officials all receive ample opportunity for development both on and off the ice. The SaskFirst Program is unique as no other provincial branches offer such as in depth developmental program for athletes, coaches and officials. It remains the mission of the SHA to Lead, promote and develop positive hockey experiences across the entire Province of Saskatchewan.

On an annual basis the SHA opens the application process to all qualifying coaches who meet the criteria and whose involvement does not present a conflict of interest within the SaskFirst Program. These coaching opportuinities are a pathway in the progression of coaching at elite levels and is the first step of coaching in the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence.

The goal of the SaskFirst Program is to help develop the best coaches who ultimately then help develop the best players. In addition to the professional development this program offers coaches, it provides the opportunity to enhance coaching skills within a short term competitive and stimulating environment, while learning from coaching peers and having fun working closely with the elite players.

For more information please contact:
Joel Houseman
Senior Coordinator of High Performance
Director of Operations Team Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Hockey Association
(306) 789-5101

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