Hockey Canada’s domestic events have long been an opportunity for players to get their first taste of the national and international stage.
From Yzerman, MacInnis and Sakic at the Air Canada (now TELUS) Cup to Turris, Colborne and Schwartz at the World Junior A Challenge, the game’s future stars have shined in their first forays into the Canadian hockey spotlight.
This year, Canadians have better opportunities than ever to watch Hockey Canada events live via webcast, thanks to the organization’s partnership with FASTHockey.
Hockey Canada and FASTHockey have partnered for a number of years to webcast national and international events from across the country, but this is the first season Hockey Canada has made the investment to offer the games for free, and the viewership numbers have been staggering.
The first test of the free-for-view webcasts was Canada’s National Junior Team Sport Chek Summer Development Camp in August, which attracted 13,584 viewers for the two Red-White games from Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta.
To put that number in perspective, during the entire 2010-11 season, which included 126 games at nine events, viewership totalled 5,677, or less than half of the two games in Edmonton, although games were pay-per-view in 2010-11, available for $6.99 each.
Through Hockey Canada’s fall and winter schedule this season – 126 games at eight events, including 33 games at the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship – more than 85,000 fans have watched games, a remarkable 1,400% increase from one season to the next.
“We couldn’t be happier with the webcast numbers that we’ve seen so far this season,” said Dean McIntosh, director of marketing services and events for Hockey Canada. “We knew the appetite for hockey was there, and we made the decision to invest in our webcasts and get our events out there for free, which has been a tremendous addition to our partnership with FASTHockey.”
The process to watch the games for free is easy, and benefits Hockey Canada’s social media platforms as well. Fans visit www.fasthockey.com to sign up for a free FASTHockey account before visiting the Facebook page of the event they want to watch (www.facebook.com/hockeycanada for national team events).
For example, if a fan wanted to watch the action at the RBC Cup, they would sign up through FASTHockey, then visit www.facebook.com/rbccup and Like that page. When it was time for the puck to drop, they’d return to the RBC Cup Facebook page, click on the HC on FASTHockey link, enter their FASTHockey username and password and enjoy the free action.
The benefits are there for Hockey Canada, its events and its social media impact, and for FASTHockey.
“Hockey Canada has been an incredible partner for us,” said Marc Ruskin, president of FASTHockey, “We have worked together to develop a program that delivers incredible hockey content to fans around the world for free. We have enjoyed every step in our relationship and look forward to continuing to provide an incredible digital experience to thirsty hockey fans from across the globe.”