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🏒 Linechange: Innovation in Youth Sports, Tim's back in action, HR battle in Vancouver

Your all-in-one hockey + tech+ culture news.

Dear Linechange reader,

Welcome to this week’s edition of Linechange, the newsletter keeping you informed of anything hockey + tech + culture.

Here are the top stories this week:

  • How TOP Sports is Innovating in Youth Sports

  • Tim Hortons Launching Let’s Up Our Game

  • Rachel Doerrie says she’s never going back to hockey

How TOP Sports is Innovating in Youth Sports

TOP Sports markets itself as “the Home of the Multisport Athlete”. It’s the vision of cofounders Luke Earl and Ian McKenzie. The program started out as just a hockey team and the goal of the program was to enable both hockey players and their families to have lives outside of their hockey schedule. So, so important!

The founders created TOP Sports (TOP stands for The Other Path) because Earl realized that his son’s hockey games would take three hours to complete (including traveling to and from the games) and overall his son would play for 10 minutes and touch the puck for maybe 10 to 15 seconds. Isn't that wild when you think about it?

The TOP program offers way more practice time than gametime. Where a youth league might have kids playing 60 games per year, TOP players play 20 games and practice as much as 60 times.

This is definitely an innovative approach to grassroots sports and because it’s becoming so popular, the program has expanded to include the lacrosse and soccer since it first launched via the game of hockey in 2017.

During a time when the world has finally gone beyond the coronavirus pandemic and understood the importance of managing a schedule and a lifestyle outside of that schedule, this program is just perfect and we think: primed to succeed.

Tim Hortons Launching Let’s Up Our Game

What’s been happening with Hockey Canada has forced sponsors to think about how they want to keep their brands connected to the great game of hockey.

Tim Hortons is planning to do that using a new campaign called “Let’s Up Our Game”. The campaign is going to highlight a push for more diversity in sports. The ads are going to feature sledge hockey players James Dunn and Tyler McGregor as well as women’s Olympic gold medalists Sarah Nurse and Marie-Philip Poulin.

While Tim Hortons is pulling away from the men’s game for obvious reasons, Canada’s number one doughnut shop is still going to be associated with the women’s game through Hockey Canada’s “Hockey is Hers” program in addition to serving Paralympic athletes.

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Rachel Doerrie Says She’s Never Going Back to Hockey

A slew of women have been hired across pro sports including hockey over the last three years especially. This is awesome. It speaks to the progress that the sports industry is making and not only including women but elevating them to leadership position space all over. Sometimes however those opportunities don’t work out in the long run. That’s unfortunately true for Rachel Doerrie.


The 26-year-old was hired by the Vancouver Canucks in January to work in the analytics department and now finds herself working outside of hockey after being let go by the team. Dorrie has hired a lawyer presumably to take the Canucks to court. Although she has spoken publicly about her dismissal, she hasn’t offered to many details as legal proceedings are still progressing.

Whether or not she was treated fairly by the organization may never become public knowledge. The tough part about the whole thing though is that Doerrie says she will never work in hockey again.

It was nice for pro sports and women to have their moment in the sun together, but stories like this should give us all pause.

On one hand, it’s easy to issue a press release to the public that announces the hiring of a woman in a senior position in an industry dominated by men and put that in the spotlight. But is the corporate culture within sports really embracing women once they get the job?

We certainly hope so but stories like this are definitely unfortunate.

Those are the top stories for this week.

Please feel free to give us feedback on the Linechange. We’re always striving to make it better

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See you again next week,

Tom Sychterz, Founder

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