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Canadian Women’s Foundation funding to empower young Albertan hockey players to end gender-based violence

October 5, 2022

Canadian Women’s Foundation funding to empower young Albertan hockey players to end gender-based violence

Sponsorship to support Leading Change™ training for Alberta Junior Hockey League players

Edmonton, Alberta – The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) is pleased to announce that the Canadian Women’s Foundation will fund upcoming training sessions for the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) to participate in ACWS’s Leading Change™ program, Building Leaders in Violence Prevention.

The sponsorship has been approved by the Foundation’s board, and the two charitable organizations are working on finalizing an agreement.

The Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) recently announced their new partnership and the league’s participation in ACWS’s Leading Change™ training. Sessions will be conducted with each of the 16 AJHL member teams in the 2022-23 season.

The Leading Change™ program focuses on building the conversation among players about domestic and gender-based violence prevention. The sessions will provide the young players with the tools they need to begin leading the change to end domestic violence and abuse and contribute to a larger culture change.

“We’re very pleased to be funding this important work,” said Ann Decter, Senior Director of Community Initiatives and Policy with the Canadian Women’s Foundation. “We know that women, girls, and Two Spirit, trans and non-binary people are at highest risk of experiencing gender-based violence, and we are committed to seeing those numbers drop. The training ACWS provides to athletic teams can spark vital culture change around sexual violence and sports.”

Jan Reimer, Executive Director of ACWS, said, “ACWS’ Leading Change™ program is unique in that it is strengths-based and designed to chip away at the root causes of gender-based violence, one workshop at a time. When we connect young people with this important message, they can become champions for ending gender-based violence, carrying that message forward.”

Leading Change™ has been working with sports teams at minor, junior and professional levels for well over a decade to support players in better understanding the complexity and pervasiveness of gender-based violence, the fundamental concerns of consent, and healthy masculinities.

ACWS is calling on and counting on sports fans who want to change the culture to support this initiative. They are looking for additional sponsors to support additional trainings with interested teams. Please contact Chantal Cooknell, Development and Partnerships Coordinator, at chantal.cooknell@acws.ca.

Quick facts

About the Canadian Women’s Foundation

The Canadian Women’s Foundation is a national leader in the movement for gender equality in Canada. Through funding, research, advocacy, and knowledge sharing, we work to achieve systemic change. We support women, girls, and gender-diverse people to move out of violence, out of poverty, and into confidence and leadership. Since 1991, our partners and donors have contributed more than $180 million to fund over 3,000 life-transforming programs throughout the country.

About Leading Change™

  • Leading Change™ is the call to action of the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) and offers tailored gender-based violence prevention training to workplaces, schools, government, sports groups, and communities.
  • Leading Change™ collaborates with athletic organizations across the province of Alberta, including the Calgary Stampeders, the Blackfalds Bulldogs, and the Edmonton Huskies.
  • The workshops offer a combination of personal reflection, transformative educational tools and research-based evidence (including quantitative and qualitative data gathering) from domestic violence shelters across Alberta.
  • In 2020/21 alone, Leading Change programming reached almost 6,000 individuals, including secondary and post-secondary students, lawyers, health care providers, elite athletes, sports fans, construction workers, safety professionals, and more.

About Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS)

Together, ACWS and its members work to end domestic violence—in our homes and throughout our communities.  A registered charity, ACWS is the provincial network organization of women’s shelters in Alberta. We bring close to four decades of experience and knowledge to serve our 39 members operating over 50 shelters across the province for women, children, and seniors facing domestic abuse. We advocate for ACWS members and work with them to end domestic violence through culture-shifting violence prevention programs, collective data and research, and front-line training. With support from ACWS, Alberta shelters are helping to provide safety, support families, and improve communities.


For further information or to arrange for an interview, please contact:

Olivia Street, Coordinator of Communications and Social Advocacy
780-456 7098