Scotiabank teams up with trans athlete for next chapter in ‘Hockey For All’

Who: Scotiabank, with Rethink for strategy and creative, Revolve Films for production (directed by Mark Bone).

What: “Hockey For All: Harrison Browne,” a new chapter in Scotiabank’s “Hockey for All” platform, which was introduced in October and is all-in on making hockey more inclusive and diverse. This new spot focuses entirely on transgender hockey player Harrison Browne.

When & Where: This ad launched last week, and is running on TV and social, with spots focused on other players coming in the New Year.

Why: Scotiabank and Rethink launched “Hockey For All” at the beginning of the NHL season in early October, with a minute-long spot introducing its central objective of changing hockey culture to be more inclusive, welcoming and less, well, painfully stuck in the past.

“We believe there is a place for all Canadians within the game, but until now, too many children from coast-to-coast-to-coast have faced obstacles,” said Scotiabank’s chief marketing officer Laura Curtis Ferrera when the campaign was launched. “‘Hockey For All’ is our effort to change the game forever by eliminating barriers, challenging norms and stereotypes, and breaking the game wide open—for every future.”

This new ad tells the story of what Scotiabank has been doing to build a more inclusive game. In this case, the focus is on LGBTQ+ hockey players, and Scotiabank chose Harrison Browne—who has worked with the bank in the past—to tell that story as the first openly trans professional hockey player. “This spot is really meant to highlight his story, some of the challenges he faced, as well as his work with Scotiabank,” said Rethink creative director Robbie Percy.

How: The 30-second spot is shot documentary style, with Browne explaining how hockey was his safe space when he was growing up, but because there were no trans hockey players, he was scared of coming out. He credits Scotiabank and its work with You Can Play—which works for LGBT+ inclusion and safety in sports—for having a real impact for other LGBT+ hockey players.

“Our director Mark Bone met Harrison before shooting and sat with him and asked him about his story, and from there, we pulled quotes from Harrison to create the most seamless way of sharing his story,” said Caroline Friesen, creative director at Rethink.

They wanted to share Browne’s real story and speak to the difficulties of growing up in hockey as a transgendered young person, but end on a hopeful note that Scotiabank and groups like You Can Play are making the game more inclusive.

“The launch spot was a little bit more intense to show the problem, and this one we wanted to highlight the good that Scotiabank is doing,” said Friesen.

“There’s this perception of hockey as a very white, male-dominated sport,” said Percy. “And I think by them using this platform, the hope would be that trans and queer youth see this and see there actually is a place for them… that hockey is becoming a much more welcoming place and they can feel at home.

And we quote: “Scotiabank wants to show how they want to change the game and make it more inclusive for everybody… it’s not just a one and done thing, they’re committed to creating change,” said Friesen. “So you’re going to see more stuff from “Hockey for All” in the future.”

David Brown