INVESTING IN THE FUTURE OF CANADA'S ICE HOCKEY FACILITY INFRASTRUCTURE
Insuring accessibility and the chance to play our national game is a core funding interest of the Canadian Hockey Foundation. The issue of Canada’s aging ice hockey facility infrastructure and the lack of new capacity to keep up with our growing population and the corresponding demographic changes has resulted in a looming threat that seriously compromises our ability to provide future generations of Canada’s sons and daughters with the opportunity to play our game.
A strong case can be made that playing hockey is the most encompassing of all Canadian cultural activities. In addition to the daily physical activity associated with playing hockey, participation continues to be an important factor to the overall health and wellness of young people today and crucial to a balanced lifestyle for our youth. Along with the development of hockey skills, active involvement helps build life skills that will serve our youth well throughout their lives, with the added benefit of keeping them on the ice and out of hot water.
The ice hockey rink has always been a gathering place for Canadian households, helping build strong families and healthy communities. The erosion of this cultural tradition due to lack of a place to play, will result in the elimination of an important activity that is essential to the development of our youth and their overall quality of life.
We are now facing a new reality and the challenge of continuing to have best hockey programs in the world but in more and more cases no place for our youth to play. As we continue to develop the next generation programs and leading edge initiatives aimed at keeping Canada the world leader in hockey we must begin to take decisive action now before the crisis becomes even more exacerbated.
To that end, the CHF, working with Hockey Canada, will play an instrumental role in helping bring the issue of aging ice hockey facility infrastructure and the lack of new capacity to the forefront. The CHF has established a Facilities Committee to leverage our available in house expertise and have also made key presentations to Hockey Canada which has resulted in this initiative becoming a priority for both organizations.
The CHF has also made a direct impact by providing grants to Hockey Canada to support important work on an ongoing basis. The first funding initiative has resulted in the formulation of a detailed strategic plan that will guide Hockey Canada’s future initiative’s moving forward. Our second funding initiative has resulted in the creation of a new Hockey Canada staff position of Manager, Facilities Infrastructure, who will focus on the execution of the strategy on behalf of both organizations.
Clearly, a considerable investment needs to be made now to ensure the overall health and wellness of our Canadian youth and our national game.