(March 22, 2023) – The International Ice Hockey Federation is excited to announce the launch of Inspire The Next – a campaign aimed to inspire women to get involved in ice hockey, both on and off the ice.
The main objective of the campaign is to elevate the stories within the women’s game in terms of participation, awareness, and professional opportunities. While women’s ice hockey has grown in participation by almost 30,000 registered players in the past five years, the IIHF continues to work on recruiting the next generation of women in the game, whether players, officials, and coaches, or other supporting roles.
”One of our main goals is to make ice hockey as accessible as possible,“ said IIHF President Luc Tardif. ”Our target audience includes both women and men, but the big opportunity to grow the sport lies with the female participants. It is important to have a platform such as this campaign, on which we can share knowledge with each other and, above all, we can help all of our member national associations, especially the ones where women’s ice hockey is still in the emerging phase. I am glad that we have the opportunity to do all this with the Inspire the Next campaign.“
The Idea of the Inspire The Next campaign was born with the IIHF’s Strategic Plan ICE26 set to take place until 2026. The strategy is to develop a fresh women’s hockey concept that differentiates and brings value added opportunities to the women’s game.
Although the female game has made advances around the globe, the growing popularity of team sports among girls and women still offers numerous undeveloped opportunities.
The Inspire The Next campaign is the foundation for women to confidently create the next chapter of ice hockey and shape it with their own highlights, stories, and experiences. The key message is to change the narrative and have women inspiring women, not only as players, but also as officials, coaches, team managers, federation presidents or any female that is involved in the game.
Inspire The Next kicks off only two weeks before the start of the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Brampton, Canada. The biggest women’s hockey stage will serve as the overarching content focus for the campaign.
The campaign is divided into two phases, the first one lasting for the next six months with the key goal of driving conversation and expanding connection, understanding and support for women in ice hockey.
The IIHF will do its utmost to expand the conversation and support greater development of the future of women in ice hockey during the second phase of the campaign.
Initiatives such as an Ambassador Program will be initiated to bring the global audience one step closer to women’s hockey. The Ambassador Program will offer a closer connection to the IIHF and will encourage content sharing, education, and community connection since anyone can be an Inspire The Next Ambassador.
“This campaign tells the stories of real life women – it seeks to empower as well as recruit girls and women to ice hockey, hopefully unleashing the passion for the women’s game at all levels,” states Zsuzsanna Kolbenheyer, Chairperson of the Women’s Committee. “Our long-term goal is to not only elevate the women’s game by way of promotion but also to potentially find a strong commercial partner to invest in its development and leave a legacy footprint. We wish to work side by side with a strong partner to develop, advocate and create a sustainable future for women on and off the ice.”
The campaign is a true collaborative effort where IIHF member national associations and media representatives will have access to infographics, resource guides, videos and marketing materials that can be edited to their own language. Webinars that feature women in ice hockey at all levels will also be accessible to everyone interested and resource materials will be developed and made public on the IIHF website’s women’s hub.
Follow the IIHF on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube and join the movement by sharing this content across your media networks and social media channels and by using #InspireTheNext on social media.
Access to the materials: here
Featured Image Photo Credit; Mary Fernandez / IIHF