How HockeyFest pairs Canada’s favourite sport with a festival experience

By Angela Kryhul

HockeyFest, founded in 2018, is a travelling street hockey festival blending Canada’s beloved sport with a family-friendly festival vibe. With a charitable element included, it’s a fun and inclusive event where everyone can feel included.

HockeyFest in Buffalo

How it works

HockeyFest offers a comprehensive program where local organizers receive all the essentials to host outdoor street hockey tournaments seamlessly. London, Ont.’s Jones Entertainment Group takes charge once the streets are closed to traffic, assembling everything necessary for the event. This includes half-sized NHL rinks complete with authentic dasher boards and netting. The turnkey package encompasses tournament and registration operations, up to nine rinks, logistics such as trucking and travel, staffing including referees, as well as setup and teardown.

The tournaments feature three-on-three competitions across divisions representing various ages and genders. Every team is ensured a minimum of four games, with 70% of teams advancing to the playoffs.

Making an impact

HockeyFest, under the guidance of Myriah Kay, marketing director of Jones Entertainment Group, is designed to amplify local economic impact by engaging local referees and vendors. The event scheduling is strategically planned to encourage overnight stays for out-of-town visitors, further enhancing the economic benefits. On average, HockeyFest events attract 2.5 attendees per registered player. This year, at least 10 HockeyFests are scheduled across Canada and the U.S., including cities like Calgary, Summerside, PEI, Kitchener and London, Ont., and Buffalo, N.Y.

In addition to its economic goals, HockeyFest also prioritizes social impact. Host organizers can leverage the event to raise funds for local charities. Jones Entertainment collaborates closely with professional affiliate teams, grassroots divisions, and local Minor Hockey Associations. These partnerships provide opportunities for volunteers and set-up crews in exchange for financial contributions that support youth community athletics. HockeyFest also promotes physical activity, fostering inclusivity by encouraging all community members to engage and familiarize themselves with hockey.

“It’s a great community festival and an effective way to introduce new Canadians to the game,” says Zanth Jarvis, director of sport tourism at Tourism London.

Partner opportunities

On-site sponsor partnerships at HockeyFest can involve various elements such as external rink wraps, inside rink board signage, social and radio promotional integration, on-site activations, and more.

HockeyFest is ideal for sponsor activations that involve local businesses. Proceeds generated from sponsorships, registration fees, food and beverage, merchandise and other sources directly benefit the community and the host or organizer. “Hosts have full access to the registration software, so they have all of those contacts. If they raise money through a title sponsorship, they keep all of that,” Kay adds.

HockeyFest can also be tailored for private events. “If you want us to come and do a full tournament we can help you, or if you want to only do a private event with one, two or three rinks, we can do that too,” Kay says.

Published May, 2024
Photos: HockeyFest

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