Scotiabank’s new, more diverse story about hockey

Who: Scotiabank, with Rethink for creative, strategy, and PR, and PHD for media, Steam Films for production, School Editing and Darling VFX for post-production, and OSO Audio for sound.

What: “The Hockey Jersey,” a new book that presents a more inclusive story about kids playing hockey in Canada, supported by a multimedia ad campaign.

When & Where: The book is available now in both hard copy and ebook versions, and the campaign launched Jan. 18—just ahead of Hockey Day in Canada. It runs for five weeks across TV, out-of-home, and online.

Why: Because representation matters, but most children’s books about hockey feature all white characters, meaning that many young BIPOC kids don’t see themselves—or people who look like them—playing the sport.

“The sooner kids become accustomed to seeing themselves represented in the game, the sooner they’ll believe there’s a place for them on the ice,” said Robbie Percy, partner and creative director at Rethink. “It’s a step towards creating diversity in hockey, which the sport so desperately needs.”

For years, Scotiabank has made support of hockey a core plank of its brand platform. But in late 2021, it introduced “Hockey For All, a new effort to make the game more diverse, inclusive and accessible. The Hockey Jersey is the latest step along that path.

How: Written by Jael Richardson and illustrated by Chelsea Charles, the book itself is inspired by Roch Carrier’s “The Hockey Sweater,” one of the most famous children’s hockey books of all time. “The Hockey Jersey” is about Kareema, a young girl who “feels awkward and strange” on the day of her first hockey game. The story is about how the diverse teammates are brought together and united as a team when they put on their new hockey jerseys.

“Jael wrote an incredible story, and Chelsea’s illustrations are beautifully moving,” said Caroline Friesen, Rethink partner and creative director. “Everything from character development and design to the serene colour palette was carefully considered.”

The book is being sold at Indigo for $21.99, with all net proceeds going to Hockey 4 Youth Foundation, which provides free on- and off-ice life skills programs for new Canadian and high-priority youth. The banks is also giving away thousands of copies and donating them to libraries, while an ebook version can be downloaded from the Scotiabank website.

David Brown