A Message from the President and CEO – Hockey Canada, Bob Nicholson
Hockey Canada is one of the largest Sport Governing bodies in Canada with over 500,000 members enjoying the game of hockey. Combine this with figure skating, speed skating, adult recreational hockey and the many other user groups in Canada it is quite easy to determine that we must work together to not only retrofit the aging infrastructure that exists but also support initiatives that result in the establishment of new arena facilities across Canada.
In May of 2005 Hockey Canada completed a very successful National Arena Census in partnership with Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Recreation Facilities Council, building a comprehensive inventory of arenas across Canada and collecting crucial information with respect to year of construction, energy costs, months of operation and much more. A key piece of information within the report is that of the 1,847 facilities that reported the year of construction approximately 42% were built in the 1970’s and approximately 73% were built prior to 1980. Many of these buildings now or will very soon need renovations to enable them to continue to meet today’s expectations and with 86% of them reporting being municipally owned many may not be able to afford the costly retrofitting required.
The National Arena Census emphasizes that the current infrastructure is at a point where massive funding and innovative funding ideas will be necessary in order to keep up with the growing demand for recreational facilities. A copy of the executive summary of the National Arena Census is attached for your information.
We are only one of the many users within arena facilities and we see tremendous growth using this multi-faceted initiative over the next few years. Hockey Canada has identified several programs that with certainty will increase the number of people participating in the game of hockey, including the expansion of adult recreational hockey, the new OneGoal Program, the Canadian Hockey Foundations Outreach Program aimed at families restricted from playing the game, expansion of the female side of hockey and the new Pond to Podium Program. Each of these are briefly described in the recruitment package attached.
The “Innovative Sources of Funding for the Development and Rehabilitation of Sport and Recreation Infrastructure” report tells us that immigration is predicted to account for 100% of Canadian population growth by the end of this decade. Hockey Canada has identified the importance of making contact with various multicultural communities showcasing hockey and the positive elements to being involved.
Hockey Canada is truly excited about all of these potential initiatives however as we move to increase our membership and the participation level of this sport by all Canadians we face a significant infrastructure roadblock. We cannot recruit people to waiting lists. Hockey Canada cannot pursue increased participation levels on our own, we need some serious assistance in terms of providing the necessary infrastructure to house future potential hockey players in this country immediately.
Hockey Canada is interested in teaming up with all stakeholders to look for alternative methods of encouraging both retrofitting of our aging infrastructure and the building of new facilities across Canada. As we continue to be working members of the Canadian Recreation Facilities Council we become more and more sensitive to the issues facing the infrastructure “crises” that exists and will certainly support any movement that will not only increase ice availability but that will increase facilities for our young people to engage in fun and fitness.
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. » more