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Applications for the upcoming cohort are now closed

We're working to reimagine hockey.

And we need your help.

Do you want to be part of something truly exciting? Do you believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in sports, regardless of their background, age, stage, or experience? Are you interested in helping to break down systemic barriers? If so, we invite you to join the next cohort of the Future of Hockey Lab (“FHL”)!

Every cohort (or session) of the FHL focuses on solving a different problem. This cohort will focus on the radical acceleration of opportunities for girls, women and gender-diverse people. To do that, we're seeking individuals from all walks of life who are interested in reducing the cost of participation, increasing access to quality programs, and ensuring a safe, inclusive and joyful experience, specifically for girls, women and gender-diverse people across the sport of hockey.

🏒 Why reimagine hockey?

Hockey is not immune to the inequities that exist in society. Every day these problems persist. Of course, there are many people who are working to change this. But making hockey truly accessible, culturally available, and welcoming for everyone is complex and difficult, and we're not seeing the level of change required. Ultimately, if it was straightforward, we’d be there already!

Given how hard this is, the FHL was established to find a new way forward.

🏒 How does the FHL help?

The FHL is a social innovation lab – a dedicated space where many different people work together to come up with new and creative ways to solve problems. It involves a more experimental approach with authentic involvement from the people affected, addressing challenges at a root-cause level and generating learning about what works and what doesn’t.

Just as scientists work in a lab to come up with new inventions and medicines, people in a social innovation lab use their ideas and creativity to solve social, political, and environmental problems and make things better for everyone.

In the FHL, we gather different kinds of people with different skills in a cohort or a group. We might use art, technology, design, collaboration, advocacy, or other tools to help these people unearth the most inventive ideas and solutions. As ideas take shape, the lab supports them to test these to see what works and what doesn’t. Community partnerships are a huge part of this. If an idea works and has the potential to make a positive difference, the lab also supports members of the cohort to share the work so that it can be used to help even more people.

The theory we’re testing is that, through this unique process, we can start to unravel complex problems that feel impossible, so that chances go way up for a more inclusive and equitable future for hockey.

🏒 What will I do?

As a member of the lab cohort, you'll hone your skills as a changemaker. You'll be part of a network - a changemaker community if you will - in a program that runs for four months (from June - September 2023). Partnering with expert facilitators in a mix of online and face-to-face activities, you'll learn innovation techniques and technologies to help generate solutions around this cohort’s question.

  • How might we break down barriers to radically accelerate opportunities for girls, women and gender-diverse people across the sport of hockey?

Applicants are welcome to come up with an idea before the cohort begins, but we don't expect anyone to have a fully working solution. If you already have a program you want to implement, this is probably not the right place for it. It's much better to bring an open mind to the lab so that genuine collaboration within the cohort can emerge. No prior experience with innovation methodologies is assumed – our coaches will guide you through the process so you can focus on solutions.

🏒 Who should apply?

We invite all change seekers living in either Nova Scotia or Ontario* to apply, including:

  • Disruptive innovators who may or may not have a connection to hockey, but are committed to equity and eager for the opportunity to shake things up!

  • Folks from other sports or sectors who have had success solving similar challenges.

  • People involved in hockey who are impatient for change.

  • People who have a connection to or familiarity with hockey (e.g. through their work, friends or interests) and feel their talents can make a difference.

More than anything, we're looking for people who are open to collaborating in new ways, with people different from them, including those who have never set foot in a rink!

Those applying must be able to attend the kick-off weekend and virtual events described in the FHL Cohort Experience below. Though we can’t compensate beyond a small honorarium, all relevant expenses are covered.

*Although the Future of Hockey Lab is a national entity, Nova Scotia was the testing ground for the first cohort. A second province (Ontario) has been added for this second cohort. It is expected that more provinces will be added each time a cohort is offered.

🏒 Application timeline

April 30, 2023Deadline for applications
April 10 - May 10, 2023Follow-ups – short-listed applicants will be invited for a 30-minute virtual conversation (via zoom)
May 12, 2023A maximum of 25 people will be selected to participate in the FHL Cohort Experience
June 9 & 10, 2023FHL Cohort Experience kick-off

🏒 The FHL Cohort Experience

It’s essential that cohort participants commit to attending the kick-off weekend and virtual events described in the FHL Cohort Experience below. A small honorarium is offered to all people selected to participate. To eliminate any financial barriers, the FHL covers all costs to participate in the two in-person meetings (Toronto and Halifax), including transportation, meals, and accommodation where applicable.

  • Kick-off weekend: June 9 & 10 in downtown Toronto (two full days).

  • Eight (8) virtual meetings (roughly 2-3 hours each) - bi-weekly through to the end of September 2023.

  • There will be a showcase in late September or early October in Halifax, Nova Scotia when the cohort shares the work with the community.

In general, cohort participants should prepare to spend a minimum of two hours per week for the four-month cycle (June - September 2023). Some weeks may be more and some may be less depending on the nature of the idea.

Here's more information about this cohort's challenge and social innovation labs in general.

  • Specific barriers to be addressed in this cohort.
    • Cost of participation, including registration, equipment, travel and family attendance

    • Gaps in player pathways
      • Limited access to quality single gender playing opportunities;

      • Limited access to quality programs within proximity to home;

      • Limited opportunities to quality programs for late entry (i.e. girls, women and gender diverse people who are later to begin the sport, newcomers, and/or those with no family experience in hockey)

    • Representation, awareness and visibility of girls, women and gender diverse coaches, officials and decision-makers

  • Outcomes the lab process could include.
    • Dramatic reduction in the cost of participation and significant increase in accessibility

    • In the sport of hockey, the proportion and visibility of girls, women, and gender diverse people reflects the demographics of the broader population

    • Girls, women and gender diverse people in the sport of hockey experience safety, inclusion and belonging, and can reach their full potential in the game regardless of age or stage

  • Types of innovations we are seeking.
    • Social innovations that profoundly change the basic routines, resource and authority flows, and/or beliefs within the social systems of hockey

    • Business model and financial innovations that improve affordability, accessibility and sustainability of hockey for girls, women and gender diverse people

    • Technology innovations, including equipment innovation, apps and software that advance safety, accessibility, player experience, and effective administration

    • Behavioural innovations that shift the behaviours of players, parents, coaches and administrators towards a more inclusive, equitable and joyful experience.

Our Partners

Hockey Nova Scotia

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