Hockey Manitoba’s 2023 Program of Excellence coaching staffs will lead their respective programs through the team selection process, team preparation process, and their respective championship events.
The Male Under-16 Team Manitoba contingent will compete in October at the 2023 WHL Cup in Alberta with a roster featuring the province’s top male players born in 2008. In early November, Female Under-18 Team Manitoba will compete at the Under-18 Women’s National Championship hosted by Hockey Canada in Dawson Creek, British Columbia. The WHL Cup and the U18 Women’s National Championship are held each year, but are skipped every fourth season when the women’s hockey competition at the Canada Winter Games takes its place.
Leading Male U16 Team Manitoba behind the bench will be Alex Mandolidis (Winnipeg), currently the Head Coach and General Manager of the Winnipeg Blues (Manitoba Junior Hockey League). This will be Mandolidis’ first year with the U16 Team Manitoba program. Mandolidis has over 14 years of coaching and development experience. Prior to joining the Winnipeg Blues, Mandolidis spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the Men’s Mount Royal University program in USports. He also spent a season as the assistant coach with the AJHL’s Calgary Mustangs. Mandolidis has also served Hockey Alberta in various capacities including the Head Coach of multiple Alberta Cup teams throughout his coaching career.
Mandolidis will be joined by assistant coaches Curtis Brolund (Brandon) and Jeff Borse (Winnipeg). Curtis Brolund is currently the Head Coach of the U18 AAA Brandon Wheat Kings. Brolund first started with the U18 AAA Brandon Wheat Kings during the 2012-13 season as an Assistant Coach and became the Head Coach during the 2019-20 season. Brolund played junior hockey in the MJHL for the Winkler Flyers, Dauphin Kings, and OCN Blizzard before he began his coaching career as an Assistant Coach with the OCN Blizzard in 2011. This will be Brolund’s first year as a coach within the Male U16 program.
Jeff Borse will be the other Assistant Coach for U16 Team Manitoba and this will also be his first year as a coach within the Program of Excellence. Borse is currently the Head Coach of the RINK Hockey Academy Winnipeg U16 Prep team. Borse played junior hockey for the MJHL’s Winnipeg Blues and spent over five years with Vigier Hockey and three years with Jets Hockey Development. He first started coaching with the Oak Park Raiders in the Winnipeg High School Hockey League and then moved on to coach the Under-15 AAA Winnipeg Monarchs, again winning City and Provincial championships.
Director of Operations for the Male U16 POE will be Bernie Reichardt (Hockey Manitoba).
Female U18 Team Manitoba will be led by Head Coach Maggie Litchfield-Medd (Winnipeg) who was recently an Assistant Coach for U18 Team Manitoba at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island. Litchfield-Medd is currently the Manager of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Academy (WJHA) Minor Hockey programs. She was previously the Head Coach of the RINK Hockey Academy (RHA) Female U18 Prep team for three seasons. Litchfield-Medd played five seasons with the University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey team and was team captain in her final year. She served as the assistant coach for University of Manitoba Bisons women’s hockey team during the 2018-19 season before accepting her role with RHA.
Maggie will be joined by Assistant Coaches Christine Bumstead (Winnipeg) and Tess Houston (Winnipeg). This will be Christine’s first year as a coach within the Female U18 POE program. Christine is currently in her second season as an Assistant Coach with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies (U Sports). Bumstead was previously a Head Coach and an Assistant Coach with the Pembina Valley U15 AAA Female Hawks where she spent three seasons behind the bench with the team. Bumstead comes from a background of more than 14 years of skills coaching with Northwestern Hockey Sports Camp and Jets Hockey Development.
This will be Tess Houston’s second year as a coach within the Female U18 program. She was recently a video coach for Female U18 Team Manitoba at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in Prince Edward Island. Houston has spent time as an Assistant Coach with the Winnipeg Avros in the Manitoba Female U18 AAA Hockey League and she coached the U15 AA Female Twins for two seasons. During her playing career, Tess played two years with the Balmoral Hall Blazers prep team and represented Team Manitoba at the 2011 Canada Winter Games. She went on to play five seasons for the University of Alberta Pandas, winning a Canada West Championship in 2015.
Director of Operations for the Female U18 POE will be Dustin Stewart (Hockey Manitoba).
The 2023 Program of Excellence process will begin with Spring Selection Camps for both the Male U16 and Female U18 programs, which will be held from March 31 – April 2 at Scotiabank hockey for all centre in Winnipeg.
Following the Spring Selections Camps, the Male U16 POE Top-40 Camp will take place from May 11-14, 2023 in Brandon at J & G Arena while the Female U18 POE Top-40 Camp will take place from June 9-11, 2023 at Scotiabank hockey for all centre in Winnipeg.
Hockey Manitoba is pleased to recognize CCM Hockey and the Western Hockey League as Official Partners of the Program of Excellence, along with Gatorade as the Official Sport Drink of Hockey Manitoba. The POE is our high performance program that offers developing athletes who are on track to be elite with the opportunity to represent their province while providing a solid development path to the National and International stages.
For more information about the Hockey Manitoba Program of Excellence please visit www.hockeymanitoba.ca/programs/poe/.