Scotiabank wants more hockey for all

A year into its “Hockey For All” campaign to make hockey less racist and exclusive, Scotiabank provided an update on its progress this week while reiterating its commitment to the cause in a new TV ad.

When it launched the campaign in October 2021, Scotiabank initially pledged to contribute $2 million over the following 12 months to promote diversity and inclusion in hockey. On Tuesday, it revealed that it ended up spending more than $3 million, and will keep going.

“Hockey is at an important juncture and Canadians have demanded stewards of the sport step up and make meaningful investments in what matters to them: inclusion, accessibility, safety, and diversity,” said Laura Curtis Ferrera, Scotiabank’s chief marketing officer, in Tuesday’s announcement.

Hockey has long been at the heart of Scotiabank’s Canadian brand strategy, but in recent years there have been increased calls for the game to change after a number of high-profile stories about lingering racism. Scotiabank launched Hockey For All to help accelerate the change, and knock down some of the cultural and financial barriers stopping some kids from playing.

In the past year, the bank’s donations to organizations making hockey more accessible to underserved communities, benefited more than 290,000 youth; provided free on and off-ice skills training to more than 1,200 young women; launched Alberta’s first outdoor accessible rink, and donated more than 2,500 pieces of hockey equipment to Indigenous communities.

Meanwhile, Scotiabank also released a new spot for the campaign. Created by AOR Rethink, it opens with the words “Hockey is…” in white letters on a black background, before a series of adjectives appear to complete the sentence: exclusive, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. and finally “broken.”

After a short pause, “changing” appears to complete the sentence, followed by a quick-cut montage of photos showing just how diverse the game is becoming, for all abilities, all communities, new Canadians and all Canadians.

“Hockey is Canada’s game—one that brings family, friends, and communities together, and we must continue to work collaboratively to ensure it reflects our nation’s people and values,” said Curtis Ferrera. “For decades Scotiabank has been a part of the hockey community, and as committed partners we will continue to invest in change so the game can truly be hockey for all; that’s the essence of our commitment and the success within our first year shows work is long overdue.”

While Hockey For All puts the focus on diversity and inclusion, a new discussion about Canadian hockey culture emerged this year, focusing on toxic masculinity and sexual violence. Scotiabank was the first major brand to pull its sponsorship of Hockey Canada following stories of sexual assault by Team Canada players. It said at the time it would redirect the money allocated to Hockey Canada to causes like the Hockey Canada Assist Fund and the Women’s World Championship.

Asked if the focus of Hockey For All would expand to include sexual violence and toxic masculinity, a Scotiabank spokesperson said the “program is evolving,” with updates to come, and that the bank is “always looking to expand our partners with groups that share our mission of making hockey more inclusive, diverse, accessible, and safe for all.”

David Brown