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Rebuilding Trust: Sponsorship Strategies for Hockey Canada

Overview of Hockey Canada’s Funding Situation

After temporarily regaining its government funding, Hockey Canada may struggle to regain the trust of its former major sponsors. This could be a difficult task for the organization, according to a marketing expert.

On Sunday, the federal government unfroze the funding for the national sporting body that sports minister Pascale St-Onge had previously frozen on June 22, 2022. Hockey Canada may now face situations where companies that have suspended or halted sponsorship may have certain conditions.

According to Dr Joanne McNeish, a marketing management professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, companies are primarily looking for signals of government action, new personnel, and increased accountability and transparency. However, she emphasizes that rebuilding trust is the most challenging aspect, and once trust is broken, it cannot be easily restored. 

To address this issue, companies may require guarantees that any financial support provided will come with transparency requirements. Corporate sponsors will likely be more cautious and restrict the freedom they previously had in giving out money.

Challenges Faced by Hockey Canada in Rebuilding Trust with Sponsors 

Perhaps previously, the details were not explicitly stated. Therefore, the non-profit organization now has to fulfill extra-legal and contractual responsibilities, which can be costly.

The government has decided to give Hockey Canada money again. The government will watch the school carefully because there were problems with how they handled sexual assault cases. However, the government states that this restoration of funding is not an unlimited amount of money.

Last year, there was a report that $23.5 million in sponsorship money was lost because of a woman’s accusation that 8 players from the 2018 world junior team had sexually assaulted her.This happened at a gala in London, in June 2018.

Strategies for Re-Engaging Sponsors and Building Brand Loyalty 

Hockey Canada settled a $3.55 million lawsuit with a woman out of court. People found out that some of the men on the 2003 world junior team had done something bad. Some people in government disagreed with the new people in charge even though they did what they needed to do in order to get their money back. Some people thought these women deserved more attention than the team was getting.

McNeish said that the result of this will make it harder for Hockey Canada to get good deals from sponsors. Sponsors will not know that other people want to work with them. The sponsor will give the deal and they have to accept it.

“The non-profit organization is currently in a position where they are practically pleading for sponsorships and may have to accept unfavorable terms temporarily. This can be an uncomfortable situation for the organization to be in.”

Opportunities to Leverage New Technologies and Social Media Platforms

Some people do not agree with the government because they think Hockey Canada should not be allowed to get money from the government if they do not stop using non-disclosure agreements. NDAs can be used to silence victims of sexual assault and hide misconduct. Some people may not want to participate in Hockey Canada if the NDAs are still in effect, even if others are willing to return, but no matter what, betting on sports and online casinos games is up 27%

According to McNeish, the brand is not going to renew their partnership. Some companies may do things differently. They might focus on helping hockey teams and players in their local area. This may result in more targeted sponsorships with less visible public links.

The government said it would give money back to Hockey Canada. This money was stopped in June 2022 because of some bad things that happened. The government said they would give the money back, but only if Hockey Canada promised to do better in the future.

Tips on How to Approach Corporate Partnerships with Hockey Canada

The Minister of Sport, Pascale St-Onge, wrote a letter to Hockey Canada’s board chair, Hugh Fraser, emphasizing that their federal financing is not an unlimited amount of money. Even though federal funding is a small portion of Hockey Canada’s revenue, St-Onge believes that Hockey Canada needs to address problems related to safe sport. This includes toxic behaviours, the trivialization of sexual violence, and the culture of silence that has caused negative publicity in the past. 

St-Onge believes that these issues are not acceptable and should not continue to be a problem in hockey or any other sport.

Mr Fraser thanked the Minister and the government for making sports safer in Canada. He also said that we still need to change how people think about sports. St-Onge, in a conversation with journalists before the women’s hockey world championship final in Brampton, Ont., stated that while the government’s suspension of funding did have an impact, it was never intended to be permanent.

She said in French that Hockey Canada is making some progress, but they do not have a lot of money to use. They will watch closely, and if anything bad happens, they will take action. 

They want Hockey Canada to keep getting better, and this needs a lot of checking and telling about what is going on.

On Monday, the Prime Minister was asked why the rules from Hockey Canada did not change how they use secret agreements. He said he wanted to make sure kids were safe and that bad behaviours were fixed. He asked someone else, St-Onge, to answer this question because he is a parent too.

“We had set forth specific expectations for Hockey Canada to meet in order for us to restore their funding. They have shown a strong willingness to fulfil these expectations and move forward.” 

This message does not talk about money from Sport Canada. We are only talking here about how to reach our goals and get back our funding

According to a financial statement, Hockey Canada had $98 million at the end of the fiscal year. Kate Bahen said that Hockey Canada did not need more money. But the President of Hockey Canada wrote a letter saying they needed money to make their programs even better for men, women, and para-ice hockey players.

Ways to Show Appreciation for Existing Supporters of the Organization

Last year, in October, Hockey Canada changed all of the people who were on their board. Someone praised them for doing this in a letter. The funding offered to the organization is subject to certain conditions, according to the sport minister. Hockey organizations need to tell the government about any changes they have made.

They should follow the ideas from two reports and help athletes and organizations stay safe

St-Onge expressed gratitude for the efforts made by the organization in reconstructing Canada’s hockey culture. Hockey Canada said that they know things have gotten better since they got a new board. But they need to do even more. They promised to be honest and answerable to the minister and everyone in Canada going forward.

Tim Hortons will no longer support men’s hockey in 2022-2023. They will still fund Canada’s women’s and para hockey teams, as well as youth hockey. Organizations may choose to provide money to help people at the lower levels of hockey. 

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This may be a suitable fit for some of these organizations

The significance of Hockey Canada lies in the development of young hockey players and the hard work of coaches at the community level. Brands should not be blamed for the mistakes made at the management organization level. At present, Scotiabank, Canadian Tire, Nike, and Tim Hortons have not provided any response on whether they will resume partnerships with Hockey Canada following Ottawa’s decision.

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