Innovative national program makes it easy for families to try hockey; MHA registration now open

CALGARY, Alta. (March 21, 2016) – Building on the growing success of The First Shift – a learn-to-play hockey program for kids aged 6-10 – Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada looking to double the number of programs it delivers across the country next season.

With an emphasis on fun, The First Shift allows kids ages 6-10 to easily try hockey for $199, which includes enrollment for a six-week, on-ice curriculum and head-to-toe BAUER equipment that each child can keep. The initiative began in 2012 with four pilot programs in Ontario and Nova Scotia, expanded the following year to 40 programs, and doubled to 80 programs delivered in the 2015-16 hockey season.

“To-date, we’ve introduced more than 4,600 players to the game through The First Shift,” said Mary-Kay Messier, senior director, strategic brand initiatives and partnerships, Bauer Hockey. “The popularity of the program continues to grow for kids and their families, with many of programs having to turn kids away and reaching capacity registration in a matter of days. We’re looking to just about double the number of programs we deliver next season, with a target of 150 The First Shift programs for the 2016-17 season.”

The First Shift was created with the goal of creating an exceptional first experience in hockey not only for young players, but for their entire family.

Based on surveys of families and parents whose children participated in The First Shift, 86 per cent of First Shift participants re-enroll into hockey in the First Shift Transition program, 100 per cent of parents said their kids had fun, and 100 per cent of parents would recommend the program to a friend.

Minor hockey associations asked to register now to bring The First Shift to their community

The First Shift is delivered through minor hockey associations (MHAs) across Canada in partnership with Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada, and relies on volunteer coaches and program administrators to succeed. MHAs interested in applying to bring The First Shift to their community next year are asked to apply now for both fall and winter 2016-17 sessions.

Part of the responsibilities of the MHAs participating in The First Shift include the provision of two blocks of six successive ice sessions on the same day of the week at the same time each day; a space to host the Welcome Event; a commitment to attend program education sessions; and the ability to provide resource personnel to support the delivery of The First Shift program.

“Hockey Canada wants to see more Canadians enjoying the many benefits of hockey – from its ability to support healthy, active lifestyles, to its inherent social outlet and the many life-skills learned from playing in a team environment,” said Paul Carson, vice-president of membership development at Hockey Canada. “Working with Bauer Hockey, The First Shift was developed to specifically meet the needs of those families who are new to hockey and want a fun way for their children to first experience the game.”

About Bauer Hockey
Bauer Hockey is the world’s most recognized designer, marketer and manufacturer of hockey equipment. Founded in Kitchener, Ontario in 1927, Bauer Hockey developed the first skate with a blade attached to a boot, forever changing the game of hockey. Since then, Bauer Hockey has continued to develop the most sought after products in the industry, including the widely successful SUPREME®, VAPOR® and NEXUS® lines of products. Performance Sports Group Ltd., the parent company of Bauer Hockey, is a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange whose affiliates market products under the BAUER, MISSION, MAVERIK, CASCADE, INARIA, COMBAT and EASTON brand names. Performance Sports Group is a member of the Russell 2000 and 3000 Indexes, as well as the S&P/Toronto Stock Exchange Composite Index.

About Hockey Canada
Hockey Canada is the governing body for hockey in Canada and a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), with a membership through its 13 member branches of over 700,000 players, coaches and officials. Hockey Canada is a not-for-profit organization that creates leading-edge hockey development programs for its members to deliver in communities across Canada; provides consistent rules and regulations and various other membership services from coast to coast to coast; manages numerous regional, national, and international hockey championships and events; and leads the operation of all teams that represent Canada in international ice hockey competition. Hockey Canada’s mission is to “lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences.” For more information on Hockey Canada, please visit or follow through social media on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Inquiries:
Lisa Dornan                                                                     Tory Mazzola
Director, Communications                                               Sr. Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada                                                                Bauer Hockey/Performance Sports Group
Phone: 403-510-7046                                                       Phone: 603-430-2111
Email:                                    Email: