Skip to main content
Open Ice Logo sm

Hockey is our game. But across the country, Canadians are being shut out of the sport they love.

Why? Because they can't get ice time.

It's too expensive, far away, hard to book, or locked up by others. And they're not alone. People from other ice sports, like figure skating and ringette, struggle with the same problem. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Just imagine what it would be like to provide equitable access to ice for everyone who wants to skate. Think about what that would do for us all. Improve our health. Increase life skills. Build strong communities. And grow the game, for good.

So what's stopping us from making that happen?

  • Scarcity – of data about who's actually using ice in Canada’s 2900+ rinks.

  • Culture – of historical practices and beliefs about how to manage ice.

  • Fear – of asking hard questions and disrupting the status quo.

That's why the FHL created Open Ice – an innovative program to capture and apply data about ice use to create equitable access for ALL.

Two-thirds of the rinks we surveyed don’t have any kind of online booking system. If you don’t know the person managing the ice, you’re out of luck.

Working with community partners, we're developing a standard technology platform to collect and analyze ice-use data to optimize rink management and planning.

As a systems-level solution to the ice access problem, Open Ice creates benefits for everyone, including ice users, managers and municipalities, to:

  • Ensure that everyone who wants to skate gets the opportunity.

  • Grow participation in ice sports and recreational programming.

  • Improve community wellness.

  • Make better use of publicly-funded facilities.

How Open Ice works.

1. Gather the data

Phase I is to close a foundational gap in Canada's rink infrastructure: the absence of a comprehensive and transparent understanding of ice utilization.

Timeline: Spring of 2024*

2. Apply the data

Phase II is to leverage the consolidated data (as opposed to assumptions) to enable better decisions and create efficiencies around scheduling, infrastructure, usage, funding, etc.

Timeline: Fall of 2024*

Open Ice Strategy May 2024
(Open Ice is currently being tested in Nova Scotia (NS) before scaling across Canada for nation-wide impact.)

Why hasn’t anyone tackled the problem of ice access before?

Because it has historically been seen as everyone’s problem, which makes it no one’s problem. But as an independent non-profit, the FHL is perfectly positioned to take this on. By tapping into our relationships with organizations across the hockey ecosystem, we’re able to bring diverse constituents together to work with experts and innovators from across the country. Through this unique collaboration, we’ll develop an innovative solution to address the root cause of the problem and make lasting, system change that benefits everyone.

The face of hockey is changing.

Enrolment in some demographics is down, while the explosive success of the PWHL is creating a wave of demand for ice access. But if newcomers can’t get on the ice to grow the game, hockey will be in serious trouble.

Open Ice isn't about taking ice away from one group and giving it to another. It’s about combining concrete data with transparency to create solutions and design a future of growth.

Let's work together to unlock our ice potential and make the future of hockey more inclusive and equitable, for good.

Get in touch to discover how Open Ice can transform ice access in your community.

Learn more about the project below.

Changemakers Breaking Barriers

From Barriers to Breakaways: Unlocking Ice Data for All

Read article

Open Ice One Pager v2

Access to ice time is a significant barrier to the growth of ice sports in Canada.

View document (PDF)

Open Ice Team

We're fortunate to work with diverse community leaders and sports experts from across the country who provide advice and guidance to support our shared goal of ensuring equitable access to ice time for all Canadians while fostering the growth of ice sports.

National Advisory Board

Michelle Aucoin, Managing Director, Sport & Physical Activity & Recreation, Province of Nova Scotia

Mike Field, Executive Director, Hockey Nova Scotia

Yves Hamelin, Executive Director, Equine Register Canada Equine Canada

Steve Mann, Data Scientist, Global Partnerships Director, 4Global

Pat McLaughlin, COO, Hockey Canada

Mark Schrutt, Innovation & Public Sector Research, IDC, Shifting the Balance

Brendon Smithson, Director of Regional Recreation Services, Halifax Regional Municipality

Sasha Tregebov, Behavioural Specialist, Director, The Behavioural Insights Team

Amy Walsh, CEO & Co-Founder, Future of Hockey Lab

Community Experts Board

Kevin Bennett, Manager of Parks and Recreation Facilities, West Hants

Paul Carroll, General Manager, Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre

Kevin Forbes, Technology Lead, Future of Hockey Lab

Jennie Greencorn, Executive Director, Recreation Facilities Association of Nova Scotia

Jen Heddon, General Manager, Cole Harbour Place

Christina Lamey, Cohort Change Maker & President, Cape Breton Blizzard Female Minor Hockey Association

Lindsey MacIntosh, Research and Community Engagement Lead, Future of Hockey Lab

Doug Murphy, Manager of Sport & Scheduling, Halifax Regional Municipality

Matt Oxford, Scheduler, Bedford Blue, Minor Hockey Association

Leanne Rankin, Scheduler, Metro East Inferno Female Minor Hockey Association

Brad Taylor, Technical Director, Hockey Nova Scotia

Stay connected for updates on our programs

Our Partners

Hockey Nova Scotia
7a3fef6c 0ba7 45fb 87eb 36c756925e64