As a hockey community, we understand the benefits of our great game. The First Shift is our opportunity to give back, to make a meaningful impact on the lives of kids, their families, and our communities.

Hockey is a vehicle to:

  • Experience the benefits participation in sport offers; exercise, positive attitude, confidence
  • Teach core values and life lessons; focus on developing good citizens first, hockey players second
  • Model team work and leadership
  • Inspire hard work, dedication and discipline
  • Offer a lifelong membership to a tight knit community, a hockey family

Our Goal

Our Goal is to change the way hockey is offered to bring 1,000,000 new families into the sport worldwide over the next 10 years. Because we believe in all hockey has to offer kids, their families and our communities, we designed The CANADIAN TIRE FIRST SHIFT to break down barriers to entry by offering a program that is accessible, affordable, and most importantly fun.

Current Landscape

Given Canada is the birth place of hockey, and Canadians are so passionate about the sport, it was surprising to learn that 90% of the kids do NOT play hockey today. Our intention was to focus on the 90% that currently do not play to find out why.

The Current Landscape90%Of Kids Do Not Play Hockey


At BAUER, developing world-class products starts with the player’s needs and continues with a multi-year commitment to comprehensive research.

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The top 4 perceived barriers include:

  • Too Expensive
  • Too Much Time
  • Too Dangerous
  • Too Serious

Hockey’s not perceived to be affordable

  • Parents cited the high costs of enrollment fees and equipment
  • Entry-level players can get on the ice for approximately $300 – $400, and part of The First Shift Program’s goal is to better communicate these options

Hockey requires too great a time commitment

  • Many parents cited too much required travel and a commitment of three days per week
  • Inconvenient game times, practice and games run into holidays
  • Doesn’t allow kids to play any other sports
  • Need to make alternatives to high-level hockey available. Programming should account for various levels of play and ways to sample the game – similar to the different options available in other sports

Hockey’s not perceived to be safe

  • Parents do not perceive the sport as safe for their children to play, including a risk of concussion and a belief that the game promotes violent behavior
  • Better education and awareness is necessary. For instance, approximately 80 percent of kids (ages 4-17) playing hockey in Canada play no-check

Hockey’s not perceived to be fun

  • Parents said the sport is too competitive and too intense with ‘crazy hockey parents’
  • Nearly every other sport in this research, such as soccer and baseball, was described as ‘fun’ by respondents
  • Too focused on elite play
  • My child didn’t start early enough, couldn’t keep up
  • Enrollment is too difficult
  • There are a lot of negative stories about hockey in the media