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Hockey Canada Meetings This Weekend

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Hockey Canada Meetings This Weekend May 25, 2012 7:38 AM

The theme for Hockey Canada’s 93rd annual general meeting is R and R, only it has nothing to do with rest and relaxation and everything to do with recruitment and retention – how to get kids into hockey and how to keep them there.

As hundreds of hockey delegates from across the country gather in Halifax this weekend, Hockey Canada will review its 2011-2012 season with an eye toward making the game safer and more attractive to new members.

Player Safety is paramount. Last year, Hockey Canada implemented a rule making any contact with a player’s head illegal.

The Canadian Junior Hockey League will make a pitch to Hockey Canada asking for a two-year extension on the pilot study it began in 2010. Using stronger supplementary discipline to curtail violence, five associations across Canada saw the number of fights decrease 35 to 40 per cent, down to an average of 0.60 fights per game.

As part of the extension, the CJHL is looking to tighten things up even further in areas involving blows to the head, dangerous hits, accumulated majors and fighting. For example: In 2010-2011, when a player had his seventh fight of the season, he automatically received a one-game suspension; when he had his eighth fight, he drew a two-game suspension and so on. The CJHL wants to see a one-game suspension take place after a fifth fight.

Facing the challenge of getting new players into the game will also be addressed. Hockey Canada needs to attract other ethnicities because they’re playing other sports – Soccer, basketball, and baseball.

As equipment becomes more expensive, a loyalty program has been discussed which could offer discounts to members. This is one way Hockey Canada may be able to reduce some costs, while creating opportunities for kids to play.

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