Canada’s minor hockey league is employing new efforts to attract more immigrant and native-Canadian children to the sport.
The move is in response to recent trends of reduced enrolment in Hockey Canada’s program for children. If registration rates continue to drop, there will be approximately 200,000 less players in the next decade.
“We recognized fairly quickly that there’s a decreasing pool of kids in the five to 19 age group and that trend was continuing on at a fairly rapid place here,” said Hockey Canada official Glen McCurdie. “Really, the only increase in population across the country… is through immigration. We were sort of an organization that is used to, very honestly, opening up our doors and having people flock to us. We’ve never really been in a boat where we needed to recruit players.”
One of the ways in which the organization hopes to do some recruiting is by reaching out to immigrants and native groups by publishing promotional planners in 12 languages, including Arabic, Punjabi, Cree and Inuit.
“From our perspective, [the multilingual planner] is now serving three purposes,” said McCurdie. “One is an affinity with the national body, but it also has a recruitment angle to it where other kids that are seeing it are excited about the possibility of playing. And I think our members in that age group certainly feel like they are part of something bigger and it’s something they might want to stay involved in more readily with stuff like this going on.”
Officials say that competing for kids’ attention these days is becoming more difficult as video games, social media and other sports are becoming more prominent in the country.
Source: Ottawa Citizen