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Akim Aliu's book, Reynolds bids, Innovator Program, Black Ice a hit

Your all-in-one innovation + positive impact + culture news in hockey.

Dear Hockey of Tomorrow reader,

Welcome to this week’s edition of Hockey of Tomorrow, the newsletter keeping you informed of everything innovation + culture + social + positive impact within hockey.

Here are the top stories this week:

  • Akim Alium's graphic memoir is out in bookstores

  • Ryan Reynolds formally joins bid to buy Ottawa Senators

  • HoT Innovator program announces spring 2023 cohort

  • Black Ice FIlm hits theatres and is available on Crave

Dreamer hits shelves and doesn't disappoint

Our team recently picked up the graphic memoir by Akim Aliu, Dreamer , and we're giving it the Hockey of Tomorrow bump.

The former pro hockey player and activist Akim Aliu shares the struggles he faced growing up in Ukraine and Canada. The story is written for the youth (8+) but is also appealing to adults due to the edgy format.

All in all, the book is a cool initiative from a notable changemaker. It's clear that content like this helps shed light on difficult challenges that certain youth within hockey might experience.

Co-written by Akim Aliu, Greg Anderson Elysée and illustrated by Karen De La Vega, Dreamer addresses topics that haven't traditionally been discussed in the cultural hockey space.

Usually, when it comes to hockey books, we tend to see some very bland content. Not in this case! The authors fully embrace the difficult topics at hand by leveraging the book format that welcomes a more in-your-face storytelling.

It also doesn't hold anything back, outright insinuating the NHL should make their "Hockey is for Everyone" mantra more than just a marketing scheme and naming publicly one of his past aggressors.

Reynolds joins real estate group in a bid to buy Ottawa's top pro hockey team

The Canadian Hollywood star has been on a flurry of personal and business announcements recently, subtly sharing the birth of their 4th child.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “We’d have to be. You know, you’d have to be a moron to do this four times if you didn’t like it. It’s gonna be nuts, but we’re very excited.”

Ryan Reynolds

On top of this great news, he's also revealed his dancing partner for his next mogul move: becoming co-owner of an NHL team. One might think that Remington Group, a classical residential and commercial developer, might seem out of left-field for Reynolds, but the actor was most likely looking for a group with deep pockets that would tremendously appreciate the brand equity and power that he brings to the table. It's assumed Reynolds will not be contributing much in terms of moolah. Instead, he'll focus on raising the Sens' goodwill and overall brand by being an extremely proactive face of a ( and earmuffs to all of our Sens readers for the next part) somewhat vanilla pro team.

This would prove to be a very powerful concoction given the success that Reynolds has had in Pro soccer ownership over the past year.

Top Innovators join Hockey of Tomorrow ecosystem

It took over 3 months to get through 150 entrepreneurial profiles and 25 one-on-one interviews to narrow down the first cohort of Innovators within the Hockey of Tomorrow ecosystem. But we did it.

A final list of 4 entrepreneurs was selected and will receive organic media coverage and activations in 2023. This will take the form of a deep-dive cover story and Innovator profile that will go live on our digital platform, monthly meetings with the Hockey of Tomorrow team, a quarterly pro players email update, a 45-minute Twitter Talk show co-hosted on the Hockey of Tomorrow platform and finally a spot in our Hockey demo day in the summer of 2023.

The Innovator Program is by invitation only and offers selected entrepreneurs support with their businesses, networking opportunities to grow, and access to a large network of active and retired professional hockey players.

We'll be sharing their stories as we move forward, but in the meantime here's a quick blurb about these outstanding individuals and their businesses.

If you want to connect with them, work with them or help their quest to change the future of hockey, reply back to this newsletter or reach out to them directly.

  • JR Butler and Shift Group help former athletes ( notably hockey players) transition into B2B Sales Careers through training, coaching, and access to hundreds of companies. In 2022 alone, they've helped their candidates help attain over $10M of base salaries.

  • Brad Pelkofer is an enterprise executive by day, and an engineer / designer by night. He has founded and patented Panther Teeth, a simple-to-use lace lock device that is catching retail hockey locations by fire. It improves the performance, fit, and comfort of your hockey (but not exclusively) footwear.

  • Ian Mackenzie, Luke Earl & Kevin Shier are the founders and masterminds behind TOP Sports, Toronto’s only competitive multi-sport program for kids. The organization is literally reinventing how competitive sports are offered and has been massively disrupting youth sports for the better.

  • Zechariah Thomas is a young hockey player that is looking to not only revolutionize how hockey sticks are manufactured, but also priced. The vision of accessibility for all behind Swift Hockey has been working so far, as the business is consistently sold out of stock due to growing demand.

The documentary everyone was waiting to see

Black Ice was released on Feb 2nd and is considered a solid film, if only by IMDB standards.

Describing the little known history of the Colored Hockey League, Black Ice provides an important platform for current notable and successful BIPOC hockey players to share their views and experiences.

If you haven't yet, go watch it on Crave or directly here for free.

That’s it for this edition of the Hockey of Tomorrow newsletter. As we continue to highlight the best, most diverse, and most interesting, off-ice hockey stories, we would appreciate any feedback you might have.

Thanks again for reading this edition of Hockey of Tomorrow.

Tom Sychterz, Founder

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