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DAILY DISH: School Ties to Community Support Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 4 Jun 2019  
By: Stephen Heisler,

A lot of junior hockey clubs make up a ton of excuses about why their communities don’t support the team at the gate.

Teams that want support from their communities should do something to support their community. Just about every team across the spectrum of junior hockey tries to get some kind of gate revenue. The following concept is something I would generally not just give away… but today is going to be a freebie

Prospects at Schools-

We hear a lot about how teams will make appearances at local schools to read or talk about certain social awareness issues like drugs or tobacco. That’s all fine and dandy and it may even drive a few of the students to the game. My program takes things a bit further while delivering a tremendous boost to each team’s bottom line.

Every team has a weekly schedule that gives players a regular day or two off. Yea, we all know the kids need that day. Well, I’m going to take one of those days away and replace it with a substantial boost to each club’s bottom line while delivering a monster dose of character development.

For this example, let’s say that day is Wednesday.

Step 1- The team identifies how many players from the organization are available for the school day during the week. Let’s say that number is 15.

Step 2- Contact the 15 elementary and larger pre-schools closest to the home rink. Contact those schools about allowing one player to be a volunteer at that school for a full day each Wednesday. There will be a bit of paperwork and a background check is likely.

Step 3- Make sure the players understand the significance of the assignment. They must present themselves professionally. Team polo and slacks are a smart bet. Player has to take the position very seriously and understand that a college recommendation from the principle will likely come at the end of the season. Players will be at the schools when the students first arrive in the morning until the end of the day. The principle will give the player assignments that maximize the player’s exposure to the student body of the school.

The team supports the schools with educational awards, fundraisers, and whatever else can assist the school in the educational development of the students. In return, the player gains a fan club made up of students from each school and their families.

You see, in the same way a player and billet family get attached to each other, the young children from the school will quickly grow very fond of the hockey players.  It’s inevitable.  Don’t think for a second that those feelings won’t be mutual

I’m a dad. Trust me on this…if the kids pester me enough, I’ll generally fold to their demands. If that demand is the take them to watch a volunteer from school play hockey, it’s going to be very hard to say no.

The payoff for this program goes beyond gate revenue and bottom line; there is also a huge return in the way the program helps develop the character of each player. Folks, our society can sure use a lot more of that.


Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with Victorious Hockey Company. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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