Recreation and Sport Studies

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

Leave a comment

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:]

Leave a comment

Barriers and facilitators when hosting sporting events: Exploring the Canadian and Swiss sport event hosting policies

By N. Romoff

In the Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, Leopkey, Mutter, and Parent (2010) offer a broad comparative analysis between Canada and Switzerland, and their varying approaches to hosting sporting events. While the article does not formulate a conclusion, it does offer valuable insight into the stark differences between the two nations.

The analysis is undertaken both horizontally (within the country), and vertically (transnationally). It outlines event-hosting policies (or lack thereof) at the national level, along with funding issues, and operations at the municipal level.

Canada has quite rigid policies in place, and by doing so, has begun the fostering of accompanying legislation. The policies act as a checks-and-balances system, enforcing the adherence to certain guidelines to maintain the desired level of excellence hosting sporting events. Canada too holds much pride hosting sporting events of all levels, as seen with the wide variety of events hosted throughout the country, culminating in a very successful Vancouver Olympics in 2010. With said policy-based rigidity, comes the freedom of having no discernable budget. This system is flipped entirely by the Swiss.

Conversely, Switzerland does not hold any legislation or national policies when it comes to event hosting as a whole. They then, have the opportunity to operate freely, and host as they see fit (within their set parameters of mega-events of course). The Swiss feel compelled to host said mega-events, as they pride themselves on doing so; this can be seen by way of the self-titled “Olympic City” of Lausanne. Their lack of official policies however, see the seemingly requisite structure and feedback through their rigid budget. An allotment is given towards events, and when said allotment is consumed, one must reapply for more funds. This ultimately replaces policies, limits, and quotas seen in Canada.

Overall, the Canadian and Swiss approaches to sporting-event hosting vary greatly, however they both hold themselves accountable by way of checks and balances. Whether it is in Canada where said feedback is embedded within the process by way of policies, or in Switzerland where it is done through funding, both offer enough accountability to avoid instances of disastrous event-hosting seen elsewhere.


B. Leopkey, O. Mutter & M.M. Parent (2010): Barriers and facilitators when hosting sporting events: exploring the Canadian and Swiss sport event hosting policies, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 2:2, 113-134

The following is a short poem outlining an interpretive analysis, with accompanying discussion topics, and subsequent interesting questions raised:

Winter, summer, spring, fall,

There is no break in the year for sports,

Some care to host, some not at all,

Just please ignore the feasibility reports.


Is it policy or quotas that drive success,

Canada and Swiss must be compared,

Mindset; whenever possible, create a mess,

Bidding process inherently impaired.


Transcending level, all be welcome,

Canada hosts with open arms,

No Budget, but legislation in place,

Fostering excellence, turn minor sports into farms.


An event one can’t miss, hosted by the Swiss,

The home of the torch , Olympic Village by name,

Reapply for more funds, on our soil they’ll run,

Can we exist without it, or is it our claim to fame.


Feedback must be constant, there is no doubt,

Should it be ongoing, or embedded for clout,

The swiss do the former, the latter the ‘nuck,

Must we remember, some always run it amok.


Are there answers? Does anyone know?

The fact remains that dollar figures continue to grow.

Man is golf; drawn to the green at all costs. Hope lies in those not keeping score.

Insert instructions for perfect event-hosting paradigm here

Leave a comment

Mediated Nostalgia, Community and Nation: The CFL in Crisis and the Demise of the Ottawa Roughriders

This article by Nauright and White (2002) examines the position of the Canadian Football League (CFL) in Canada in the 1990’s, the popular media discourses surrounding the CFL and a nostalgic view of an idealized Canada, and the crisis of Canadian Identity as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) saw North America more integrated than ever. The 90’s were a troubling time for Canadian Identity as a number of issues arose throughout the decade. The long-term relationship between Canada and Quebec was unknown and many believed that secession was inevitable. The case could then be made that the rest of Canada would then be broken up, as the Maritime Provinces would then be separated from the rest of Canada. This alone put Canadian Identity into question-if Canada was not a nation from east to west than what was Canada?

Another blow was dealt to Canadian Identity as the continued southern expansion of the National Hockey League (NHL) saw 11 franchises join the NHL: San Jose, Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Florida, Dallas, Phoenix, Colorado, Carolina, Nashville, and Atlanta. Only one of which was in a Canadian market and in the case of Phoenix and Colorado two Canadian franchises were sent south (Winnipeg and Quebec respectively). Hockey has been at the core of Canadian Identity for the greater part of the century and seemingly losing Hockey to the United States was very troublesome for Canada.

The CFL followed the lead of the NHL and began expanding south as Baltimore, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Shreveport, Memphis, Birmingham joined the CFL. The CFL commissioner had even gone as far as saying that “the league’s future was not in Canada, but through expansion in the United States”. Several of the Canadian CFL franchises were in financial trouble so it could have been argued that this was a wise move. However the American CFL franchises were even more troubled than the Canadian franchises, many of the teams only playing one season. One team that did have success were the Baltimore Stallions as they reached the Grey Cup in 1994 losing to the BC Lions, then made it back in 1995 defeating the Calgary Stampeders to become the first non-Canadian team to win the Grey Cup. The success of the Stallions caused a lot of insecurity among CFL fans in Canada. The CFL had always been a place where American influence was minimized, but now that the Grey Cup was in American territory that may come to an end. The Stallions were shortly after disbanded because of NFL relocation that sent the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore and renamed them the Ravens.

This then brings up the notion of nostalgia and how it is used within the sports media context. There is such a rich history of sport in Canada which can make it very easy to capitalize on consumer’s feelings and emotions. During the financially troubled 90’s most of the CFL teams leaned on nostalgia to keep the doors open. While the Roughriders were in crisis the media discussed the relation to the “glory days” of the franchise in the late 60’s and 70’s. What was always ignored was the earlier years of the team when they nearly had to shut-down operations. Nostalgia is still used today when sports franchises are in trouble or have not had much success. Particularly the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs have such a deep history that reliving the past becomes almost a weekly occurrence (especially when they are struggling on the ice). Nostalgia is so powerful because it takes away the pain of the present and allows us to remember the good aspects of the past without worrying about the troubles of the time.

Fast-forward 20 years and the CFL may be stronger than ever with a recent re-branding taking place. The NHL has continued to expand south, but Canada was able to regain the Winnipeg Jets and could have another franchise in Quebec or the Greater Toronto Area in the foreseeable future. To close I would like to leave you with the most difficult and thought provoking question that was raised in this paper: “what makes Canada Canadian?”


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.

Additional articles:


Canada’s Cold War Identity…on Ice

With the conclusion of the World Cup of Hockey Canadian identity is as strong as ever, with team Canada taking a dominating 2 game series win over Team Europe. Team Europe might be a new opponent for Team Canada but they did not stop them from taking the title of World Cup Champions. Team Canada went through some older and familiar teams where the rivalry today is distinctly different than it was during the famous 8 game Summit Series with the former USSR.


Canada is still known across the world and especially within Canada’s diverse population as a hockey nation with dominating performances in the past several international events and tournaments. The chapter by Scherer, Duquette, and Mason (2007) in the book East plays West, Sport and the Cold War provides us with the “(re)articulation of the Canadian National Identity” through the 1972 Summit Series.[1] The chapter provides us with a unique perspective of the Summit Series by setting the stage. Most documentaries begin with game 1 of the series and conclude with the iconic Henderson goal. By providing the unique circumstances that established this event we can obtain a new perspective and appreciation for the significance of the series to the Canadian identity.

The 1960’s and 1970’s was a time that the USSR national team was dominating the international stage. Canada was unable to send professional athletes to international competitions and with the rise of other hockey programs in the world Canada lagged behind. Canada withdrew from international events previous to the 1972 series with the USSR. The series was established with the ability for Canada to send NHL professionals to represent the country. Canada’s identity would form through two different and distinct avenues. The first being Canada’s identity to the world as Canada was forming diplomatic ties with the USSR without major western allies. Canada would open up to the USSR forming a diplomatic tie that would share aspects of the two countries, which included hockey. The second would be through the fractured Canadian self identity with the debate of Anglophone vs. Francophone taking place in the country at this time. Through these two avenues Canada would (re)articulate its identity to the world but also to itself.

Today Canada is a unique Country with a wide range of demographics through the increased numbers of immigrants in many Canadian cities. With this shift in Canadian demographics the popularity of hockey has been threatened. Not many immigrants participate in hockey but instead play basketball and soccer. The participation rates of hockey are declining in many major metropolitan areas. What does this do to the Canadian identity, especially during international hockey events? It is interesting to know that many immigrants give hockey a try either through actually playing or watching with other Canadians. Immigrants see this as an essential way of entering into Canadian society and being a part of the Canadian identity.[2] The relevance of this was shown in the gold medal game of men’s hockey during the 2010 Vancouver winter games where nearly 80 percent of Canadians tuned in for some portion of the game, which comes out to nearly 26.5 million people.[3] Hockey in Canada is still seen as an essential part of its identity. Even with the changing demographics of Canada individuals new to the country still make an effort to enter into the Canadian hockey world to experience part of our identity as a nation. The social component of hockey among new immigrants to Canada is essential to a portion of their integration and inclusion.

The image of Canada to the world has shifted since the 1970’s but what has stayed constant is the identity Canada has through its hockey. Canada is once again on top of the world as 2016 World Cup Champions.

[1] Scherer, J., Duquette, G.H., & Mason, D. S. (2007). The Cold War and the (re)articulation of Canadian national identity, The 1972 Canada-USSR Summit Series. In S. Wagg & D.L. Andrews (Eds.), East plays West, Sport and the Cold War (pp. 163-186). London: Routledge.

[2] The Institute for Canadian Citizenship (2014). Playing together – new citizens, sports, and belonging.

[3] Dan O’Neill –

Leave a comment

Hockey and Newcomers to Canada

As a graduating undergraduate in RSS, an article I would recommend reading is: 

Hockey is known as Canada’s sporting pastime, so for people moving to Canada, it is not a bad idea to learn about the game. In the article, newcomer to Canada, Gihad is willing to be learn the rules and how to coach hockey for his son. This is not only beneficial to Gihad, it is also beneficial to his son. For example, Gihad states “ I’m not here to close the door on myself and my kids and stay inside, I can do that in Egypt, I don’t have to come here to do that”. With the rising numbers of obese children, Gihad is moving in the right direction to keep his children active in a new country.

Multiculturalism is something that most of us have been exposed to in the past; this article highlights a great case of multiculturism in sport. When he arrived in Canada, Gihad did not have any idea what the game of hockey was about or the rules of the game, but that did not stop him from wanting to learn and give his children the opportunity to take part in the Canadian culture. For the coaches to give Gihad a chance is really positive. Coming from a small town, I would not see insistences like this. I think this is also a great learning experience for the kids as well to see Gihad on the ice learning how to skate and the determination he has to learn the game is setting a good example of the kids.

Leave a comment

The Rise of Elite Canadian Athletes

Canada has been on the steady increase of producing elite athletes excelling at the professional level or at the international stage of competition. We determined there are three main reasons why Canada has seen an increase in elite athletes.

The first reason has been the adoption and continual development of the LTAD program. The LTAD program helps guide athletes and coaches the things athletes need to be doing at certain ages and stages. The implementation of a LTAD program has helped athletes to develop properly throughout the stages and not be rushed into uncomfortable situations that can lead to athlete burnout or failure. Building off the LTAD model we feel Own the podium and government funding towards elite athletes has been extremely helpful towards athletes getting over the barrier of not only making it to the big leagues or the Olympics but also producing results.

The second reason we determined that has aided in the rise of elite Canadian athletes is a result of better coaching. The coaching association of Canada (CAC) mission is to improve the effectiveness of Canadian coaches across all levels of the sporting system (Coaching Association of Canada, 2015). The national coaching certificate program (NCCP) is an umbrella of the CAC and annually trains 50,000 coaches a year and 900,000 since its inception (Danylchuck, K. & Misener, K. 2009). Better coaching has helped athletes along their athlete pathway, as coaches are influential figures in the social, physical, psychological and emotional development of athletes (Parkins-Forget, J. 2011).

The third reason we feel has been influential to the rise of elite Canadian athletes has been a result of role models, especially Canadian role models. We talked about Steve Nash and how he has been a role model for current NBA Canadian’s Andrew Wiggins, Nik Stauskas and Tristan Thompson. We also talked about Milos Raonic and Eugine Bouchard and the impact they currently are having on tennis Canada. Both Raonic and Bouchard have put Canada back on the map as a powerhouse in Tennis and as a result there has been a spike in registration in Canadians participating in tennis.

Continue reading