Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

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The Anti-Doping Campaign – A Waste of Money and Time?

By C. McGuire & R. Bennett

Since the beginning of sport, athletes have been using methods to gain an unfair advantage. The athlete diet is no longer limited to your standard food groups, as many plates are being served with blood transfusions, steroids, stimulants, masking agents, and the list goes on. In 1999, the World-Anti Doping Agency (WADA), was developed to instill strict policies, rules and regulations on anti-doping; however, almost twenty years later, this problem is still in full force. As the 2018 Winter Olympic Games are among us, Kei Saito, a Japanese short track speed skater tested positive for the banned masking agent acetalozamide on February 13th. This reiterates the never-ending cycle of drug companies developing substances, athletes using them and the IOC and WADA trying to keep up to detect them. While WADA’s core foundations and the Code look great on paper, it is evident that the implementation of these policies is not working. Yes athletes are getting caught; yet, how many are not?

WADA and the IOC have started to use stricter punishments as seen in the most recent Olympics. Russia, after being accused of running a pro-doping lab, has been banned from competition. 169 athletes can compete who have proven they are clean; however, the Russian anthem will not play at medal ceremonies and they will compete as “Olympic Athletes of Russia.” Even with these strict punishments, athletes are still doping. A couple of days after the Japanese athlete tested positive, Russian curler Aleksandr Krushelnitckii tested positive for the banned substance meldonium, losing his bronze medal.


Therefore, where do we go from here if athletes are continuing to risk their health for the sake of winning a medal? One point of view is that doping should be allowed, let all athletes compete using performance enhancing aids so no one is at a disadvantage. However, this is neglecting the health risks these aids are imposing on the athletes such as testicular atrophy, abnormal menstrual cycles, liver damage, and reduced memory and attention (WADA, 2009).

While trying to eliminate doping seems nearly impossible, educating athletes on the side effects of doping and the negative consequences at a young age could potentially prevent the future use of drugs. Preventative measures such as educating coaches, athletes and stakeholders in the sporting environment to be doping-aware is integral for the future of sport. Drug testing is also poorly implemented in the high school and university systems. Developing more technologically advanced systems to catch young dopers could prevent long-term health risks if the drug usage is discontinued at a young age. It is important to remember we all play a part in this issue. Promoting fair play, sportsmanship and clean sport is just the tip of the iceberg, and with more research devoted to doping in sport, we can hope to provide optimal sporting environments for our future athletes.

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How the LTAD Model Falls Short of Addressing the Needs of Immigrants

Over the last few weeks, I had  been working on my paper, which asks this question: How does Canada’s Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model, central to Canadian sport policy, fall short in addressing the needs of immigrants?

As some may know, the two figures below describe Canada’s current version of the LTAD model. This, briefly, is the multi-stage framework that provides a pathway through which Sport Canada recommends an athlete should be developed from infancy to adulthood, beginning with initial stages concerned with developing fundamental physical literacy, middle “Excellence” stages concerned with developing sport-specific skills to focus more on high performance, and the final “Active for Life” stage concerning itself with having participants engage in physical activity for life.

Current Version of LTAD Frameworks, Kin 6300 (Fall 2017)

The Challenge with Immigrant Integration & LTAD

LTAD was initially designed as a “cradle-to-grave pathway to serve all Canadians” (Grove et al. 2016, p. 11). However, a “one size fits all” approach just does not work for everyone, especially considering the socio-cultural factors that influence Canadian sport in certain directions (Thibault & Harvey, 2015). In particular,  the unique needs of immigrants present 3 specific challenges to LTAD:

  • First, immigrants find Canadian sport too structured, to a point where it can be “difficult [for them] to access” (ICC, 2014, p. 6). Indeed, the rise of technology and a cultural shift towards risk-aversion has meant unstructured, informal sport- like pick-up games popular in other countries- are on the decline in Canada. An overly structured system also makes sport more expensive and difficult to navigate.
  • Second, many immigrants come to Canada with different sports/ physical literacy skills than their native-born peers, making it difficult for newcomers to enter the LTAD pathway. Current LTAD often neglects the many athletes who may be entering sport or developing physical literacy at an older age, or who develop at an advanced pace, and late-entry pathways must be incorporated in the model.
  • Third, we reflect on the competitive focus of Canadian sport and LTAD model’s history, which can alienate many immigrants for whom sport is valued not for its competitive elements, but for giving the opportunity “to be healthy, fit and have fun” (ICC, 2014, p. 20). Indeed, there is a 9-to-1 resource allocation mismatch in funds given by government to competitive vs. community sport (Donnelly, 2012).

Out Proposal: Developing a New, Immigrant-Specific LTAD Framework

In the paper, I provide eight recommendations for LTAD, but they essentially come down to this: Just as Sport Canada has done in developing new LTAD models and pathways to address the needs of Aboriginal and disabled populations, a new immigrant-specific LTAD model should be developed. One preliminary proposal that I provide is below:

DRAFT Proposal for an Immigrant-Specific LTAD Model, Kin 6300 (Fall 2017)

In the above model, the most notable differences from traditional LTAD is the addition of an “Awareness” stage (similar to one designed for athletes with disability), that focuses on the unique challenge of communicating sport options to newcomers. As well, to address how newcomers come to Canada with different physical activity skills, a supplemental “Skill Equalization” stage is proposed, where immigrants’ skills are evaluated and plans are then developed to ensure they can “catch up” to peers if needed, or advance to higher stages of LTAD. Beyond this, other recommendations are also summarized in the box for “Other Considerations to Ensure Effective Implementation.”

Bottom-Line: The LTAD model relies on implicit socio-cultural assumptions about values in Canadian sport, which do not always align with the needs of immigrants. or other groups. Consequently, a new immigrant-centered LTAD approach is suggested, although our proposal is at best a preliminary model in need of more refinement/ research.

References Cited

Canadian Sport for Life. (2016). Long-Term Athlete Development 2.1. Retrieved from the CS4L website: [NOTE: This is the main policy document that is critiqued in this paper.]

Donnelly, P. (2012, July 23). Turning Canada’s Olympic Success into Increased Participation in Sport. The Star. Retrieved from:

Grove, J. et al. (2016). Durable by Design: Active for Life. Ottawa, ON: Canadian Sport for Life Foundation. Retrieved from:

Institute of Canadian Citizenship (ICC) (2014). Playing Together: New Citizens, Sports & Belonging . Retrieved from the website if the Institute of Canadian Citizenship: 20Full%20Report.pdf.

Thibault, L. & Harvey, J. (2013). Sport Policy in Canada. Ottawa, ON: University of Ottawa Press. [NOTE: This is a fantastic book providing a detailed history and sociological critique of Canadian sport policy and is also accessible in e-book format online at:]

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Critical analysis of the National Hockey League’s “Career Ending Disability Policy”

The National Hockey League’s Career Ending Disability Policy can be found in Article 23.3 of the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement under “Insurance Coverages”. It outlines the risks of playing professional hockey, as understood by the players and owners alike; as the CBA is an amalgamation of the two parties’ ideals. The nature of the policy is scaled remuneration based on a player’s age (upon adherence to the precursor of a minimum of 41 games played in the NHL). 41 games played denotes half an NHL season, and if that threshold is not reached, the maximum payment is $500,000. The payout system can be seen in Table 1 as followed:

Player’s Age Benefit Amount (USD)
Under Age 31 $1,000,000*
Age 31 $840,000*
Age 32 $680,000*
Age 33 $520,000*
Age 34 $360,000
Age 35 and over $200,000

Table 1: National Hockey League, 2012, p. 149

The players’ union have too negotiated proper compensation for specific disabilities; these are outlined as followed in Table 2:

Type of Disability Benefit Amount (USD)
Loss of Brain Functions $5,000,000
Paralysis $5,000,000
Organ Failure $3,000,000
Diagnosis of Terminal Illness $3,000,000
Loss of a Limb $2,500,000
Loss of Two (2) Limbs $4,000,000
Loss of Sight in Both Eyes $4,000,000
Loss of Sight in One (1) Eye $2,000,000
Loss of Hearing or Speech $750,000
Loss of Hearing and Speech $1,000,000
Loss of one hand or one foot $750,000
Loss of both hands or both feet or one hand and one foot $1,000,000

Table 2: National Hockey League, 2012, p. 150

The policy itself serves as a reminder of the human element of professional sports and their respective athletes. Upon examination of the compensation tables, one can ascertain that athletes risk not just their bodies and livelihood when working, but the quality of their personal lives as well.

Observing these tables in a vacuum and comparing them to similar insurance-based compensation packages, one can ascertain adequate remuneration; this however involves desensitizing oneself to the employer/employee relationship that the layman understands far too well. In essence, the “celebritization” of professional athletes desensitizes the population to concepts like relocation (trades), firings (buy-outs/releases), and forced retirement (career-ending injuries).

In essence, the policy fails to properly compensate players who no longer have a means of income, and whose lives have been severely impaired. The reasons for such inadequacies are qualitative and are driven by societal norms.

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Critical Policy Review: NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy

Ever since Roger Goodell became the commissioner of the National Football League (NFL) in 2006, there has been a major emphasis on the behaviour of both players and personnel off the field. In the years leading up to Goodell’s appointment as the commissioner, there had been a growing issue of players, coaches, executives, and others tarnishing the reputation of the league through negligent, dangerous, and potentially illegal off the field incidents. In response to this seemingly negative culture shift developing within the league, a personal conduct policy was introduced in 2007 to ensure that the league was viewed positively in the public eye and seen as a viable source of entertainment for all ages. Negative off the field conduct leads to certain people tuning out and becoming disinterested in the product because it can be difficult to support and cheer for people who do not share the same positive societal values as others. Throughout Goodell’s regime, the policy has been updated and tweaked numerous times to mesh with the changing scope of the league – the most recent iteration was developed in 2016 and this the one in which I will be analyzing.

The policy deals with a plethora of sensitive topics which must be carefully addressed within the guidelines. I have chosen to discuss this policy because I am an avid fan of the NFL and really enjoy following the intricacies of the league. Many stories involving the league throughout each calendar year discuss the policy and its effect on player conduct so it is interesting for me to delve in further, read and analyze the policy, and also see what other influential people think of it. In this paper, I will briefly summarize the NFL’s most recently updated Personal Conduct Policy, analyze varying opinions on the policy and then add my own thoughts and views on the policy.
When looking at the Personal Conduct Policy which was commissioned in 2016, we must first look at what the policy is intending to do and what its main mandate is. It is clearly stated in the first paragraph that “it is a privilege to be in the National Football League (and) everyone who is part of the league must refrain from “conduct detrimental to the integrity and public confidence in” the NFL” (National Football League, 2016). The word “everyone” is bolded and underlined to emphasize who the policy is being addressed to. Consequently, it is extremely important to note which parties in particular he NFL is addressing in the policy as that will help make more sense of the reasoning and tone of the guidelines. The policy states that it “includes owners, coaches, players, other team employees, game officials, and employees of the league office, NFL Films, NFL Network, or any other NFL business” (National Football League, 2016). This is sensible because everyone associated with the league represents the entire entity and poor behaviour from any individuals associated with the league can negatively impact the public image. The NFL is also covering its bases in including all possible parties to ensure that there are no liability issues if someone conducts themselves poorly.
The body of the policy is divided into two major sections: “Expectations and Standards of Conduct” and “What Happens When a Violation of this Policy is Suspected?” (National Football League, 2016). In the Expectations and Standards of Conduct section, it is specified what type of actions lead to discipline from the league. Furthermore, it is stated that “it is not simply enough to avoid being found guilty of a crime (and that) we are all held to a higher standard and must conduct ourselves in a way that is responsible, promotes the value of the NFL, and is lawful” (National Football League, 2016). In each area of this document, we are mindful of the fact that the NFL is mostly concerned about their public image so anything that is done to foil that must be subject for discipline. It is an important distinction that players and league personnel do not necessarily have to be convicted of a crime to be subject of discipline from the league – this means that the league is very serious about their efforts to minimize poor behaviour off the field but it also leads to a significant amount of grey area in their disciplinary decisions.

The league provides a list of 14 separate actions that may lead to discipline from the league. The NFL is very thorough and leaves all bases covered in order to discipline anyone associated with the league who they feel is breaching appropriate conduct. They state that “even if the conduct does not result in a criminal conviction, players found to have engaged in any of the following conduct will be subject to discipline” (National Football League, 2016). They also make a point that “prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to” (National Football League, 2016) these 14 actions which suggests that several other actions can be perceived as breaking the code of conduct. Some of the 14 actions are broad in nature and can include a variety of negligent activity such as “assault and/or battery, including sexual assault or other sex offenses, disorderly conduct, conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person, etc.” (National Football League, 2016). Since a player does not have to be convicted of a crime to be disciplined, the league has full discretion in initiating discipline towards a player if they feel they have violated the expectations and standards that are laid out for them in the policy.
The What Happens When a Violation of This Policy is Suspected section is extended and covers several areas in reaction to the expectations and standards of conduct that were stated previously. The gist of this section is to outline what occurs to league personnel when league rules are violated. The league mentions various steps that may occur if violations of rules are signalled by the league. Personally, I find this section slightly convoluted and it does not necessarily outline in order what may occur once a violation happens. They just jumble a number of further actions that the league may take to address the situation and some of them are very vague. The subsets in this section include: “Evaluation Counseling, and Services, Investigations, Leave with Pay, Discipline, Reporting, and Conduct Committee” (National Football League, 2016). As evidenced by this title, the league was all over the place and felt the need to mention all areas of discipline following a breach of conduct. In a nutshell, when a player or league personnel member breaches desired conduct, they are subject to many actions that the league can impose on them. By outlining them in their entirety in this section, individuals who are said to have committed a violation have very little wiggle room in their defense. While this section does not deliberately outline the chronological process following a conviction by the league, it covers several areas and ensures that players and league personnel are aware of what may occur if they violate the desired expectations and standards of conduct.
Before delving into my personal analysis, I feel as though it is beneficial to briefly touch on varying opinions towards the policy from the public and within the league itself. On the whole, public opinion on the policy is fairly mixed although you could probably find a slightly larger group that takes issue with it than those who support it wholeheartedly. One of the major points of contention with the policy is that it is somewhat vague in certain areas and that the extrapolation of discipline can be extremely inconsistent as a result. For instance, Mel Robbins is of the opinion that players and others associated with the league do not know what to expect from the league if they violate one of the points laid out by the league. Moreover, Brooks states that the policy “is ambiguous, optional, case-by-case, complicated and at the discretion of the NFL” (Robbins, 2014). A major sentiment is that since a lot of the discipline is at the discretion of the NFL, it can lead to a lot of grey area when it comes to deciding on proper punishment for individuals. Since each potential case can be different, it is difficult to have an overarching set of rules in place to discipline players and this can lead to a lack of consistency when it comes to punishment.

Another criticism towards the policy is the sentiment that the league put together this document mainly to ease the criticism the league was facing in regards to several players acting out and tarnishing the reputation of the entity and that it fails to take steps to find ways to discipline players in a more consistent manner. Before implementation of the newest iteration of the policy, the league had faced heavy criticism for mishandling certain situations involving domestic violence in particular and applying inconsistent discipline towards players. As a result, some people hold the opinion that “pressure led the NFL to hastily implement a player conduct policy specifically aimed at addressing crimes against women (and that) the NFL admittedly used this new policy as a public relations maneuver” (Meyer, 2015, p. 1). Many people think that the league was simply trying to save face after botching the execution of disciplinary measures in previous cases and this new policy was an act in showing the public that they were attempting to make an effort in resolving the increasingly negative situation.
In my view, while I feel as though it is important in theory to have a set of standards for players and league personnel to abide by, the execution is not precise and it leads to a lot of confusion. When reading and analyzing the policy itself, I was impressed with the conciseness of the introduction and the section regarding the expectations and standards of conduct. I felt as though the league did a fine job encapsulating the purpose for the policy and what must occur to violate the rules and expectations that are put in place by the league. However, once the expectations and standards are drawn out, I find that the policy gets messy and ambiguous. It is difficult to interpret the section regarding what happens following a violation of the policy and can lead to a lot of confusion amongst those trying to interpret the document. While it would be slightly more difficult to implement, I think it would be in the league’s favour to have more cut and dry violations with specific disciplinary actions attached to certain violations. This would lead to a more consistent disciplinary process and those associated with the league would be aware of the potential consequences tied to their actions.
Despite my criticism towards the execution of the policy, I do agree that a policy of this nature must be mandated not only in the NFL, but in every league. In an era where everything is highlighted on social media and other sources, players and league personnel must be more careful than ever when it comes to behaviour off the field. The standards are higher in this day and age and leagues must have rules in place for players and personnel that perform actions which can stain the reputation of the league. For me personally, I grew up idolizing athletes and emulating them in everyday life. From my experience, I know how special it is to have a relationship with an athlete and to follow them as you grow up. Athletes need to be cognizant of the fact that they are role models for the youth and a policy such as this can go a long way towards ensuring that players act in a way that is appropriate and cordial. One of the main subjects we touched on in the course was the idea that globalization has been causing the opportunity for teams and leagues to grow their fan bases in ways that they could have never imagined decades ago. Moreover, “at one time sports managers relied almost exclusively on fans in their local market to generate a lifetime commitment in order to earn team revenues (but) with new technologies…it is increasingly feasible to market to fans world-wide” (Foster & Hyatt, 2008, p. 266). This widen scope puts much more pressure on leagues such as the NFL to ensure that their players and personnel are acting accordingly and ensuring that the league is viewed in a positive light. With increasing international exposure, young children all over the world have the opportunity to look up to NFL players which means that these players must be more careful than ever in maintaining a strong reputation. A personal conduct policy can help in this sense but the execution must be crisper so that players can be aware of specific potential discipline.
As an ardent fan of the NFL, I feel as though the ambiguity of the policy takes away from the on-field product in some respect. Due to various off the field incidents occurring and subsequent suspensions being handed out, there is constant discussion regarding how the NFL should handle themselves in response to the incidents that occur away from the game. In my opinion, the lack of clarity in the policy contributes to a lot of wasted discussion on suspensions and discipline rather than focus on the game itself. Since the policy leaves a lot of wiggle room for the league and does not specifically clarify suspension lengths, it makes it difficult for the league to levy appropriate and consistent suspension lengths when players break the regulations set forth. The lack of ambiguity certainly effects the NFL in several ways and leads to negative press and attention. It is important to recognize the fact that professional sports have become a business in a sense and that a large amount of money is in play when it comes to all elements of a league like the NFL. Moreover, professional sports becoming more business-driven in the past few decades are “a matter of recognizing that the distinctive qualities sport and its participants possessed, notably its popular culture appeal and unrivalled aura of authenticity, were of potential value in the increasingly competitive process of capital accumulation in a fully-fledged consumer society” (Smart, 2007, p. 114).

As professional sports have become more consumer driven, sponsors must be cognizant of the negative attention that is brought upon the league when a large majority of the talk is focused on the off-field behaviour of players. It takes away from the heightened sense of authenticity and cultural appeal that the drove a league like the NFL to be consumer driven in the first place. If issues continue to persist through the lack of ambiguity of the policy, league sponsors may become disinterested in the direction the league is heading and choose to decide to spend their money elsewhere.
Overall, I feel as though the policy is a double-edged sword for the NFL. While I think a policy such as the Personal Conduct Policy is absolutely necessary, the execution is subpar and leaves for too much room for interpretation. While players and personnel are aware of the fact that they must compose themselves properly off the field, it would be helpful for them to know what exactly their consequences are based on their actions. I believe that it is in the best interests of the NFL to restructure the policy to make it more comprehensible and explicit. This would lead to a more defined set of rules and less discussion about the length of suspensions and the substantiality of fines levied. If there was a fixed doctrine in place, players and personnel would be punished accordingly and most of the attention could be shifted towards the on-field product. This policy matters because the league must regulate the actions of those associated with the league and ensure that their public image is not tarnished. A policy must be in place to keep individuals in line and give them incentive to behave in a manner that represents the league positively. On the other hand, critical analysis of the policy is important as well because improvements certainly must be made. If people share their concerns about the weaknesses of the policy, changes can be made and the league can be better for it. I hope that the league can continue to tweak the policy and end up with a set of regulations which are clear and lead to fair and non-ambiguous punishment.

Foster, W. M., & Hyatt, C. G. (2008). Inventing team tradition: a conceptual model for strategic development of fan nations. European Sport Management Quarterly, 8(3), 265-287.
Meyer, J. (2015). Unnecessary toughness: Throwing the flag on the NFL’s new personal conduct policy. Illinois Business Law Journal, 1-1.
National Football League: Personal Conduct Policy. (2016). Retrieved from
Robbins, M. (2014, December 13). NFL’s personal conduct policy fail. Retrieved from
Smart, B. (2007). Not playing around: global capitalism, modern sport and consumer culture. Global Networks, 7(2), 113-134.

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Case Study for Kin 6300: How do we Get Syrian Refugees More Involved in Fredericton Rec?

This upcoming Tuesday, Alex (Ries) & I will be doing a workshop on the integration of immigrants in sport and recreation, especially from the lens of John Crompton’s re-positioning theory (check link), which gives strategies for organizations to solve recreation problems. As the first case study, this is a fictional situation below, where Fredericton’s municipal recreation is trying to attract Syrian refugees. The case study incorporates elements of our real-world experiences with research and news stories.  Second years as well, feel free to share your preliminary thoughts! In addition to references, our suggested background readings are also linked below.

For our second case study, time permitting, we will explore the issue of immigrant integration and re-positioning from the sports management perspective, more specifically looking at this article here, namely Joanne Lee-Young’s “Canucks in Canada” about how the Vancouver Canucks are trying to attract Chinese fans & residents to their games. No worries if you don’t get through it! There is a 2-minute video in the link which we will show before class, and we will also give a little background before we go.


You are the head of a recreation center in Fredericton, and are faced with a challenge of making recreation more accessible and attractive to the many new Syrian refugees who have moved to the city. Indeed, Fredericton has seen more than 500 refugees from Syria move to its neighborhoods in the last year, more than any other city in Canada per capita (South, 2017).

For the most part, Syrian families seem to be integrating well, but there have also been challenges. For instance, a Global News story reported educators at the local Fredericton High School were “overwhelmed” by new refugee students, due to (Bissett, 2016). In fact, just the other day, a camp leader reported a young 7-year-old Syrian boy talking casually about using machine guns (real-life experience; also see Bissett, 2016). Another participant of the same age had social anxiety, exacerbated by an inability to understand his coaches, resulting in him often hiding in a corner during his soccer program (real-life experience). Translators were also hard to find or budget for, resulting in several staff not knowing how to engage new participants (Bissett, 2016).

That said, for every negative story experience a refugee participant had in your recreation programs, there seemed to be ten more positive. One participant won a national award for volunteering, and was now assistant coaching the program she first played in as a participant when coming to Canada two years ago (adapted from Surette, 2017). Another participant reported that the recreation programs created “connection” and “belonging,” allowing him to make many new friends across cultures (YMCA, 2016). Yet another reported hockey to be her favorite sport, despite only trying it in the past year (although, on the whole, you have noticed that refugee participation in Winter sports has been minimal). Indeed, there is lots of evidence that recreation bridges gaps to help immigrant families integrate better into their new communities (Institute for Canadian Citizenship, 2014). As well, many organizations like Fredericton’s Multicultural Association and the YMCA have been leaders helping new refugee families settle in Fredericton (YMCA, 2016).

Still, advocates for refugee groups have noted cost, transport, overly structured programs and a lack of information were big barriers to refugees participating in recreation programs (ICC, 2014, p. 5-6). To help alleviate some of these concerns, the Fredericton government has provided free recreation passes for one year to refugees and has also made bus passes free for off-peak periods (Fraser, 2016; Keefe, 2016). That said, communication and language barriers have still proven a challenge, deterring many parents from signing up their children. You also notice that some children who previously attended programs when free stop attending after the first free year.

As well, when looking at registration rates, you notice a significantly larger number of male refugee participants are participating in sports programs than females, even more than average. One 14-year-old girl in a soccer program for example reported, “We like sports because we’re forbidden from them… There are other girls who’d like to play but their families won’t let them” (This quote is from a real Syrian refugee at the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, but is used here to illustrate specific issues around the participation of female immigrants in sport; from Whitman, 2014).


Given the above, the challenge of how to better “sell” recreation options will be considerable. Fortunately, however, you have learned about re-positioning and theoretical concepts from Kin 6300, which can help you navigate these difficult waters! Given this, some questions to ponder:

  • How do you best “sell” recreation options to new Syrian refugees (especially grls)? As well, how do you adapt recreation offerings to make options more attractive? In particular, consider using re-positioning strategies help navigate your analysis: Would you use real, associative, competitive or psychological positing here?
  • How can you ensure different strategies that are implemented are sustainable in the long-term? How do you implement these strategies with limited budgets?
  • There are many issues around immigrant recreation that you brought up in the case. How are these similar/ different to other recreations trends we have discussed in class (e.g. with concerns about structure, inclusion or female participation)?

Immigrants in Recreation



Bissett, K. (July 2016). Sudden influx of Syrian refugees overwhelmed N.B. high school: documents. Global News. Retrieved from:

Keefe, J. (January 2016). Syrian Refugees in Fredericton Presented with Bus Passes, Teddy Bears. Global News. Retrieved from:

Smith, G. (July 2014) Playing Together: New Citizens, Sports & Belonging. Institute of Canadian Citizenship. Retrieved from:

South, A. (January 2017). Fredericton welcomed more Syrians per capita than other Canadian cities: multicultural association. Global News. Retrieved from:

Whitman, E. Syrian Refugees Find Normalcy in Football. Al-Jazeera. Retrieved from:

YMCA Canada. (2016). Building Communities for Syrian Refugees. YMCA. Retrieved from:            YMCA_SyrianSpecialReport_2016_ENG-final.pdf.


Suggested Background Readings:

Bissett, K. (July 2016). Influx of Syrian Refugees Overwhelmed N.B. School. MacLean’s. Retrieved from:

CityNews. (April 2017). Canada 150: Immigrant Parents on their First Brush with Hockey. Retrieved from:

Crompton, J. (April 2009). Strategies for Implementing Re-Positioning of Recreation Services. Managing Leisure, 14. Retrieved from:

(2nd Case Study for Analysis, Time-Permitting) Lee-Young, J. Canucks in China: Team Reaches Out to Old and New Fans at Home and Across China. Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from:

Pace, Natasha. (February 2017). Winter by the Sea. Global News. Retrieved from:

Smith, G. (July 2014) Playing Together: New Citizens, Sports & Belonging. Institute of Canadian Citizenship. Retrieved from:

Craig, L. (January 2009). Where are the Minorities?. CBC Sports. Retrieved from:

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Is There Room for Sports to Get Even More Commercialized?

This article by Pinsker (2016) does a great job declaring from the start that sponsorships on jerseys are inevitable. This is understandable because an extra $5 million for the Philadelphia 76ers is hard to turn down for something as simple as a small logo on the left chest/shoulder of the jersey. When thinking specifically about the NHL I see several teams (Winnipeg, Arizona, Florida) that would love to have the extra revenue to help either on the business side or hockey side. However, one area that I think the article discounts quite easily is the impact fans have on professional sports. Looking at the Detroit Red Wings as an example they recently opened their new arena, Little Caesars Arena, in October 2017. Moving from the legendary Joe Louis Arena (named after Detroit boxer Joe Louis) to an arena attached to corporate sponsorship was met with negative backlash (Pevos, 2017) from fans of the Red Wings and NHL fans in general (especially when the Little Caesar’s logo was placed on the roof). The deal was final so there was nothing Detroit could do about it, but this should illustrate that the implementation of corporate sponsorship into aspects of sport that are not accustomed to them will receive a negative reaction from fans. I know the Toronto Maple Leafs or Montreal Canadiens could put virtually anything on their jerseys and still make huge profits, but what if the Florida Panthers upset their fans or the Arizona Coyotes?

The notion that there will be sponsorships on North American professional sports jerseys in the future has been troubling to most fans. One possible reason for this is that even though professional sports franchises are for profit enterprises, the illusion that professional sports is about competition and athleticism still exists among most fans. From the fans perspective the jersey is a part of their identity, both physically and subjectively. Jerseys are part of their identity physically in the sense that fans can buy and wear “their” teams jersey and subjectively because the identifiable aspects of their fandom include the jersey (logo, colours, etc.). As stated by Pinsker the jersey is the last untapped frontier of revenue in US sports. The fact that this is one of the few aspects of sport that is still sacred without commercialized interest’s means that it will be a tough sell to fans, many of whom believe sport is too commercialized as it is.

As Nauright and White (2002) noted nostalgia is a key way that sports media markets to fans because nostalgia removes the pain of the past and focuses on positive memories. Nostalgia implicates a sense on innocence and by adding sponsorships to jerseys the argument could be made that some of that innocence is lost. Personally simply the image of jerseys from the past gives me a sense of nostalgia and I do not know if sponsorships on the jerseys would taint that feeling. The other pressing matter to consider is that in a North American context any additions to jerseys were either to signify leaders on teams or honour those from the past that may no longer be with us. If the NHL implements sponsorships onto jerseys will the ‘C’ be altered in anyway on Sidney Crosby’s jersey? If they place it on the right side of their chest what happens when a figure such as Jean Beliveau passes away? In what way will they honour that person? These questions will need to be answered by professional leagues and will then need to be justified to players, fans, and alumni.

Drawing from Ziegler (2011) as well I have to wonder what this extra money would be used for. If the 76ers are getting $5 million to have the Stubhub logo on their jersey will they then not require as much public funding for new arenas? This extra revenue could supplement a reduction in ticket prices, concessions, or improve the community engagement initiatives from these teams. Using one of these as a primary reason to obtain these sponsorships could ease the transition for some fans, but there will still be some that see this as purely as a cash grab by for profit organizations. Ziegler’s main argument against sport is that professional sport has not been used to serve as a public good as it was intended. I have to believe that adding sponsorships onto jerseys for the sole purpose of increasing revenue will further validate his opinion.

One aspect of this debate that was not brought up in the article was the corporate sponsorship that happens at the grassroots level of sport. There is no backlash from fans when their local team’s jerseys are sponsored by McDonalds or Tim Horton’s so why is it such a travesty at the professional level? The argument can be made that these teams are in need of money and that justifies the massive amounts of sponsorships both on the jersey and part of the team name. As a native of PEI I have grown accustomed to sponsorship throughout local sport, for instance the two Major Midget hockey teams on PEI are: the Charlottetown Bulk Carrier’s Pride and the Kensington Monaghan Farm’s Wild. This article does mention the Philippines Basketball Association having a numerous sponsorships as revenue is hard to come by in non-major leagues. This is similar to an observation I have made about the National Basketball League of Canada. The teams in this league have sponsorships on the jerseys, but when revenue is at this low of a level then increasing their jersey sponsorship similarly to NASCAR or European basketball or hockey could help the league maintain consistent revenue sources.

In conclusion I believe that sponsorships on jerseys are inevitable, but professional franchises should be transparent and explain to their stakeholders why this is important and what the money will be used for. With this strategy I believe fans will be more accepting of change and will endorse the brand similarly to NASCAR supporters.


Nauright, J., & White, P. (2002). Mediated Nostalgia, Community and Nation: The CFL in Crisis and the Demise of the Ottawa Roughriders. Sport History Review, 33, 121-137.

Pevos, E. (2017, July 12). Giant pizza man on Little Caesars Arena roof not going over well withfans. Retrieved from

Pinsker, J. (2016, June 13). Is There Room for Sports to Get Even More Commercialized? Retrieved from

Zeigler, E. (2011). Sport As a Key Partner in the “Big Four’s Reign” in the Western World? International Journal of Sport Management, Recreation & Tourism.

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An Alternative Model for Partnership: The Collective Impact Model

We had a great class discussion last Tuesday about Milena Parent & Jean Harvey’s management model for community-based sports partnerships. In particular, a highlight for me was hearing about the real-life experiences, challenges & opportunities that  classmates had working in partnerships: Truly, it seems, working with partners can be simultaneously some of the most rewarding experiences one can have in sport/ recreation, and yet also the most frustrating!

For me, the topic of partnership is so interesting, as it represents (arguably) one of the best ways to make a broad impact in a wider community. As John Kania and Mark Kramer write in “Collective Impact,” “large scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination” (2011, p. 36). In other words, organizations that work with partners have a much greater potential to make a long-lasting impact on organizations than working alone. Indeed, for this reason, Parent & Harvey note partnerships have increasingly become commonplace in sport management (2011).

Yet, partners often come from different places, with different agendas and ways of working. In my experience and as seen from our class discussion, “getting on the same page” can be quite the challenge. Thus, what Parent & Harvey (2009) do is quite innovative in creating a Partnership Model for community sport where “no [such] clear model” had previously existed (p. 24). As of their writing in 2009, they were certainly pioneers in the field, but for this blog post, I will explore an alternative partnership model that has been developed since their article.


A Reminder of Parent & Harvey’s Model

As we discussed Parent & Harvey’s Partnership Model model in class in some detail, I will not go through it too much, although have shown it below as comparison (2009, p. 27):

Partnership Model, KIN 6300 (Fall 2017)

A Different Partnership Model: Collective Impact

Writing in 2011  in the “community development” field, Kania & Kramer developed another model which has created much buzz: The Collective Impact model, cited over 1,000 times according to Google Scholar. This is also actively used in many organizations as a guiding framework with which to work with others. Indeed, in my own work/ volunteer experience working with Halifax Recreation and the community, non-profit sports organization, Halifax PLAYS, the Collective Impact model was frequently used to set standards whenever working with other partners.

How does the model work? First, Kania & Kramer make a strong case for why organizations should shift from an “isolated impact” framework which competes with other social causes (e.g. for funding) to a “collective” framework which works with others in the community to maximize one’s impact. As one example, the authors acclaim the contributions of Strive, a program in Cincinnati which “brought together local leaders to tackle the student achievement crisis [in that area] and improve education throughout greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky” (2011, p. 36). Although initially made of disparate organizations with varying goals, an approach similar to the one they describe in the collective impact model allowed these different groups to effectively work together to find tremendous success in their joint goals.

The second contribution the authors make is to lay out, similar to Parent & Harvey, the ideal five conditions for collective impact, which are nicely summarized in the graphic below (published in the Collective Impact Forum website, 2014; developed form Kania & Kramer, 2011, and also discussed in Hanleybrown et al., 2012):

Collective Impact Model, KIN 6300 (Fall 2017)


Similarities & Differences of the Two Models

In truth, there are many similarities between the models: For instance, both frameworks talk about the importance of shared goal-setting/ getting on the same page, and give importance to the need for consistent evaluation: Here, Kania & Kramer’s “Shared Measurement” is very similar to Parent & Harvey’s “Evaluation” components. Similarly, the two models agree on the importance of communication and having “mutually reinforcing activities,” although Parent & Harvey’s Partnership Model is more detailed in how they break things down. As well, with both models, there is also emphasis on how different parts of the models all feed back into each other.

That said, there are some key differences between the models: First, the Collective Impact model is simplified, likely as its audience is largely non-profits or other organizations, whereas the Partnership Model is designed as a way to consolidate research on partnerships, hence tailored to a more academic audience. As well, the two models have some differences in how they recommend structuring partnerships: The Partnership Model notes the importance of “structure,” “power balance, “leadership” and clear roles (Parent & Harvey, 2009, p. 27), but the Collective Impact framework goes even further. Here, a very specific way is prescribed for most effective partnerships, namely establishing a “Backbone Organization” which could be a partner itself or another created party which is directly responsible for the ultimate management and coordination of the partnership.


Why I Like Collective Impact & How It’s Been of Use

While I think the Partnership Model is great, the Collective Impact framework is one that I have used before, and that is “tried and tested” for me. Indeed, in one notable case, I recall a partnership in Halifax that involved several organizations with a goal to improve physical activity levels at a school in North End Halifax, a poorer part of the town: Here, the local school board, Halifax Recreation (the municipality, Halifax PLAYS (where I served as president), Sport NS, & 12+ other sport organizations all came together to introduce youth in the North End to new sports.

However, at first, the partnership had challenges, as each partner was looking for something different: the school board wanted its gyms used more by the community, Halifax Rec was looking to implement more programming, Halifax PLAYS pitched the idea and looked at the project as a way to diversify the population it served, with Sport NS’s organizations were more interested in increasing overall participation in their particular sports. As well, there were no clear standards of measurement at the start and an unclear leadership structure, although everyone was contributing. That first year, although there were many successes, outcomes were not as promising as hoped.

With such initial challenges, we (Halifax PLAYS) suggested the Collective Impact framework as a way to structure the partnership. With this, a much clearer structure was set for the partnership, as seen by our “getting on the same page” the next year:

  • Common Agenda: After some debate, organizations agreed to a shared goal of increasing the number of affordable sports options for the North End.
  • Shared Measurement: Registration rates/ trends for individual programs would be carefully analyzed, with retention/ long-term participation helping judge success
  • Mutually Reinforcing Activities: The school board gives space, Halifax PLAYS provides contacts and advertising, sport organizations come and visit, Sport NS serves as a key liaison, and HRM Rec manages registrations & staff.
  • Continuous Communication: We are always talking to each other & keeping everyone updated. This was especially important at the start and continues today.
  • Backbone Support: HRM Rec takes over the role as the key organizer, managing registrations, having key responsibilities for measurement, arranging staffing support, scheduling the various sport organizations that come visit & much more. The recreation coordinator of a local center is identified as the key contact point.

The result? Although there are still challenges, the partnership in its second year has proven more successful, with a much clearer direction. HRM Rec’s explicit assignment as the Backbone Organization has been most key, and has arguably created the biggest difference in the partnership: Simply, from a leadership standpoint, the first year had unclear roles, with folks unsure of who to go to in a time of crisis. With HRM taking more explicit leadership the second year, there is much clearer responsibility. Hence, the Collective Impact framework has helped greatly to strengthen our partnership. Since then, I have also used this framework for other projects, and found it very useful.

At the end of the day, whichever frameworks you might prefer, I think some kind of structure is important in partnerships, to establish a firm sense of how partners should work together: With so many different goals & ideas from different organizations, it can be easy to get lost without that structure. As we all develop partnerships of your own in future work, I hope you will also consider using these, or other, frameworks!


A Last Note: Acknowledging Christina’s Recommendation of Another Framework

As a final note, although I have not looked into it as much, want to also relay another book  recommended by Christina which looks at partnership frameworks. I have not looked at this in as much depth, but the book explores 21 different collaboration success factors, and is Collaboration: What Makes it Work (2001) by Paul W. Mattessich.

Thank you for passing this on, Christina, & am hoping to check it out!

Colloboration Front Cover, KIN 6300 (Fall 2017)



Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work Webinar Presentation. (2013). In Collective Impact Forum. Retrieved from:

Hanleybrown, F., Kania, J. & Kramer, M. (Winter 2012). Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work. Stanford Social Innovation Review, p. 1-8. Retrieved from:

Kania, J. & Kramer, M. (Winter 2011). Collective Impact. Stanford Social Innovation Review, p. 36-41. Retrieved from:

Mattessich, P.W. (2001). Colloboration: What Makes it Work. Saint Paul, MN: Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.