Esso Fun Days

Do you want to grow your female participation numbers? Esso Fun Day programs provide new-to-hockey female players of all ages with a free, fun introduction to Canada’s game.

Esso Fun Days are a free, safe and fun introduction to hockey

Esso Fun Days are introduction to hockey sessions designed for girls and women of any age who are new to hockey. Including both on- and off-ice instruction, the program aims to create a free, safe and fun environment for new players to learn the basic skills and rules of the game. The goal of the Esso Fun Day program is for girls and women to gain the skills and confidence to register in a hockey program.

Associations around Canada apply to host either a one-day or six-week program .

The Esso Fun Day program has been operational for over 20 years and continues to grow. The 2018-19 season saw over 80 events with more than 2,000 participants nationwide. Esso Fun Days continue to grow in exposure and receive positive feedback from hosts and participants.

Want to host an Esso Fun Day in your area?

Season to season, Hockey Canada supports a limited number of Esso Fun Day programs.

Registration for the 2020-2021 season of Esso Fun Days is closed until further notice.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions.

What is an Esso Fun Day?

Hockey Canada and Esso continue to promote women’s hockey recruitment through the Esso Fun Day program.

Esso Fun Day programs are designed to familiarize beginners to hockey with basic skills at no cost to the first-time participant. The focus of the program is to introduce hockey in a fun, positive and welcoming environment.

There are two program options available:

  • Esso Fun Day (one-day event):
    • One on-ice session with a focus on basic skills and hockey concepts (60-90 minutes), led by certified instructors.
    • One off-ice session with a focus on team building, icebreakers and an introduction to the basic rules and terminology of hockey.
  • Esso Fun Days (six-week program)
    • An introductory first day, as outlined above, followed by five additional weekly on-ice sessions.
    • Six-week programs create greater on-ice confidence, increasing the likelihood of continued participation. 

Esso Fun Days (six-week program)

This program consists of:

  • An introductory first day, as outlined above, followed by additional weekly sessions.
  • Participants experiencing skill development and success over the six weeks.
  • Providing information for participants to learn how register in their local minor hockey association.
  • Six on-ice sessions focused on basic hockey skills (60-90 minutes each)
  • One off-ice session on the first day (60-90 minutes); additional sessions are optional.
  • Celebrating the participants and the team environment with jerseys* (maximum 40 supplied by Hockey Canada).


Funding for the Esso Fun Days is a Hockey Canada subsidy program. The funds are provided back to the minor hockey association following the completion of all six sessions, and the submission of follow-up documents, including the registration and invoices.

Reimbursement amounts (maximum $800):

  • Ice rental (up to $600)
  • Facility rental (up to $100)
  • Food and beverages (up to $50)
  • Advertising (up to $50)


* For insurance purposes and jersey inventory, all players must be registered on the Hockey Canada online registry, which will be sent to the Esso Fun Day host once the event has been approved by their member branch.

Hosting an Esso Fun Day

Hosts must be affiliated with a local hockey association in good standing with their Hockey Canada member. Hosts should fill out the  online application at least four weeks prior to their proposed event date.

All applications are reviewed and approved by Hockey Canada and the respective member . Please allow for 10 business days for notification of approval.

Hosts are responsible for securing ice time, off-ice venues, on-ice instructors and planning the activities for their program. Hosts may apply for a subsidy to fund their Esso Fun Day program upon completion of the event and submission of follow-up information, including player registrations and invoices.

For a one-day program the reimbursement amounts to a maximum of $400 and covers the following items:

  • Ice rental (up to $200)
  • Facility rental (up to $100)
  • Food and beverages (up to $50)
  • Advertising (up to $50)

For a six-week program the reimbursement amounts to a maximum of $800 and covers the following items:

  • Ice rental (up to $600)
  • Facility rental (up to $100)
  • Food and beverages (up to $50)
  • Advertising (up to $50)

Any costs above these items will be the responsibility of the host organization.

Responsibilities of a host community

Following approval, Hockey Canada will send the host an email outlining the next steps, a program manual and the objectives and expectations of the program.

The host will also receive an online registration link to register all new-to-hockey participants. For insurance purposes, every participant, on-ice volunteer and coach must be entered into the registration system at least ten days before the players get on the ice.

NOTE: The registration link is not for the host to distribute; every participant must be manually entered to keep track of numbers and ensure players are new-to-hockey participants.

The week prior to the event, upon completion of the player registration, the host will be sent an Esso Fun Day host package which includes:

  • an Esso Fun Day jersey and puck for every new-to-hockey player
  • Esso gift card(s) for event prizes

To ensure all programs across the nation have access to jerseys over the season, there is a maximum of 40 jerseys allowed per event. Jerseys are limited to new-to-hockey players only, not currently registered players, on-ice instructors and coaches.

Ten business days prior to the event, the host community must request approximate sizes and number of jerseys by emailing [email protected]. Please provide the best shipping address (no P.O. boxes), phone number and approximate number of jerseys needed.

The host community is responsible to send in the program wrap-up form, along with receipts within 30 days of the first on-ice session. Wrap-up forms can be sent by email to [email protected]

or by mail:

Hockey Canada
Attn: Grow the Game - Female
201-151 Canada Olympic Road SW
Calgary, AB
T3B 6B7

If the host community intends to use photos for web, social media or to send back to Hockey Canada, all parents/guardians must fill out the provided video/photo release form. Photos are not a mandatory requirement of a host. Photos and release forms can be emailed to [email protected].

Planning a successful Esso Fun Days

Identify and recruit volunteers (lead on-ice/off-ice instructors, safety person, registration, etc.). Hockey Canada recommends a coach ratio of 1:5. Refer to the  program manual for more details.

What do you need to do?

  1. Establish a plan and provide leadership for the program (resources for exercises and drills can be found in the Resources section below).
  2. Book the ice time(s).
  3. Identify and recruit volunteers (lead on-ice/off-ice instructors, safety person, registration, etc.). Hockey Canada recommends a coach ratio of 1:5. Refer to the program manual for more details.
  4. Advertise your event.
  5. Collect player, volunteer and coach information and register all participants in the Hockey Canada online registration link provided.
  6. Ensure players have full equipment (as per guidelines in the program manual).
  7. Contact Hockey Canada for jerseys.
  8. Have fun!
  9. Submit wrap-up form and receipts and/or photos with release forms.
  10. Distribute survey.

Resources

Program planning: Hosts can access drills and games by utilizing the Hockey Canada Network app or the Drill Hub section of the website. Download the app by searching Hockey Canada Network in the App Store or Google Play Store. Create an account on the app, then head to the Female Hockey section found within Programs for Esso Fun Day essentials.

Hosts can also visit the Timbits U7 Porgram section in the app or at the  Drill Hub section of the website at to find more drills for new-to-hockey players in the Timbits U7 section.

Promotional resources: Hosts can print the  event poster to promote their Esso Fun Days.

Videos
Photos
GTG: Global Girls’ Game in St. John’s
40 players gathered for hockey, culture and empowerment.
2019 WGIHW: Canadians celebrate women’s hockey
The women’s game was in the spotlight Oct. 4-6 during the ninth annual World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend.
DEV: Girls go global in Calgary
Calgary hosted female players from every corner of the country for the Canadian leg of the IIHF Global Girls’ Game.
2018 WGHW: Celebrating the female game
Canada joined with 41 countries around the world as part of the eighth annual World Girls’ Hockey Weekend