Kids Just Want to Have Fun

Hockey Canada and USA Hockey unite during ‘Hockey Canada Week’ to launch “Relax, It’s Just a Game” PSA campaign across North America

November 13, 2003

TORONTO / NEW YORK, NY – Hockey Canada is launching a new series of public service announcements (PSAs) for the 2003-2004 season, to promote hockey as a fun game for kids, and to raise awareness of the pressures that some adults (coaches, parents and fans) put on young hockey players and officials.

Rivals on the ice, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey, have partnered off the ice during ‘Hockey Canada Week’ (Nov. 8-15), to launch this new series of integrated public service announcements as a continuance of the “Relax, it’s just a game” program.

The first ‘Relax, it’s just a game’ campaign was launched in November 2002 by Hockey Canada and Palmer Jarvis DDB, the Canadian agency that created the PSAs. USA Hockey came on board in the spring of 2003 to partner with Hockey Canada in promoting the campaign south of the border and has become involved in the production and execution of the PSAs across North America for this season.

Both sport bodies are rolling out the new campaign with the shared goal of reminding adults that hockey is a game, played by kids for fun, and to make adults aware of the effect that negative behaviour can have on the sport.

During the 2002-2003 season, the ‘Relax, it’s just a game’ campaign humourously utilized role reversal between parents and children to raise awareness about this serious issue. This season’s campaign, with the tag line, “If it’s wrong here, what makes it right at the rink? Relax. It’s just a game”, uses humour to show how inappropriate some adults sound when they pressure their children at play.

The 2003-2004 public service campaign, available in English and French, encompasses TV, radio and print, and can be viewed at

“The PSAs are a reminder for all adults, including coaches, parents and fans, that we sometimes place undue pressure on minor hockey players and officials involved in hockey who are there to have fun in arenas across North America,” explains Bob Nicholson, President, Hockey Canada. “We are pleased with the positive response we have received from those involved in all levels of the game. It is our intent to use the PSAs to heighten the level of awareness about the issue, while at the same time, reinforcing this message with effective programs at the local level, such as the Chevrolet Safe and Fun Hockey Program.”

“On behalf of Hockey Canada’s Board of Directors we are very proud to be working with USA Hockey to assist with the game of hockey at the grass roots level,” said Allan Matthews, Chair of the Board for Hockey Canada. “Together, we are partnering to take a leadership role in supporting players and officials to have a positive experience while keeping the game in perspective for coaches, parents and fans.”

Last season, media outlets all across North America aired the PSAs on TV, radio and in print, including national TV networks and newspapers in Canada and the USA. NHL, AHL and CHL arena jumbotrons, web sites and minor hockey association magazines and newsletters also utilized the PSAs. Hockey Canada and USA Hockey are expecting that media outlets will once again step forward to lend their support to enhance and promote the fun aspects of hockey.

“The support we received for last season’s ‘Relax, it’s just a game’ campaign from the minor hockey associations, participants and our membership all across Canada was extremely positive, “ said Nicholson. “We are encouraging media outlets across our country to again assist us by running these PSAs on TV, radio and in newspapers across Canada during the 2003-2004 season.”

Last year’s campaign has won or been nominated for 30 awards, including a prestigious ‘Silver Lion’ at the Cannes International Advertising Festival. In early October, the effectiveness of the campaign was recognized when Hockey Canada was named winner of the Innovator Award for the best government campaign.
As the campaign kicks off, Canadians from coast to coast including athletes, parents and business leaders have expressed their support for the project.

“The ads are outstanding, and I feel that they get the point across that some adults involved in minor hockey need to just relax, and let the kids be kids and have fun playing the game,” said Lanny McDonald, Hockey Hall of Famer, minor hockey parent and coach.

In addition to the promotion and distribution of the new PSAs, Hockey Canada, through the Chevrolet Safe and Fun Hockey Program, has a ‘Parent Approach’ seminar kit available free of charge to any Minor Hockey Association in Canada. For the 2003-2004 season, each Minor Hockey Association in Canada has the opportunity to conduct its own parent clinic. Any minor hockey association in Canada can do this by obtaining their own Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey “Parent’s Approach” seminar kit from their Branch Office, Hockey Canada or directly from Chevrolet.

This kit comes with a Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey parent video, presentation overheads, and Chevrolet Safe & Fun Hockey “Parent’s Approach” manuals for each of the parents participating in the seminar. For more information, and to obtain a kit free of charge visit .

Relax, it’s just a game was created jointly by Hockey Canada, USA Hockey and the hockey parents and fans at PJ DDB who supported this campaign with their time and resources.

To download the print ads for inclusion in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or other printed materials, visit

About Hockey Canada

Hockey Canada (, is the sole governing body for hockey in Canada, for all of minor hockey and the international men’s and women’s teams and programs. Hockey Canada links players, coaches, officials, volunteers, administrators and others involved in local hockey across Canada to all provincial, national and international hockey bodies. Hockey Canada oversees the management of hockey programming in Canada from entry level to international competitions such as World Championships and the Winter Olympic Games. Hockey Canada strives to an improved delivery system for hockey development programs throughout Canada with the support of the 13 Branches and regional Centres of Excellence in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Saint John.

About Palmer Jarvis DDB: Better Ideas. Better Results

Palmer Jarvis DDB ( is Canada’s top creative communications agency. Recognized for breakthrough, award-winning work that generates significant results for clients, PJ DDB has been voted the #1 agency in Canada by clients and industry peers for the past two years in Marketing Magazine’s Scouting Report. Marketing Magazine, Strategy, and the National Post have also named PJ DDB Agency of the Year six times in the past eight years. With offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton, the agency’s integrated services include public relations; market and social research; database marketing; graphic design; corporate identity; sales promotion; event marketing and sponsorship; new media/interactive services;

For more information:

Dominick Saillant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
[email protected]


Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
[email protected]


Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]


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