First Words: Katherine Henderson

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By: Katherine Henderson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hockey Canada 

A great sport done in a great country

In September, I was proud to become Hockey Canada’s president and chief executive officer, a role that means so much to me as a proud Canadian, leader in sport and lifelong fan of hockey 

Throughout my first three months with Hockey Canada, I have found myself repeatedly answering a question that many of you may have as well: why did you want to join Hockey Canada in this position?  

The why is easy. 

Hockey is a fantastic sport. It is exhilarating, strategic and its speed, skill and grace help make it a brilliant sport for players, coaches, officials, administrators, volunteers, parents and fans.  

For my family, hockey has brought us so many wonderful memories and experiences, including cheering on my son in the GTHL as he grew up playing for the Scarborough Ice Raiders 

The sport keeps us on the edge of our seat and it is so easy to fall in love with hockey.  

Hockey is powerful in that it brings communities and our country together for great moments that we share together in local rinks and at the heights of global excellence. 

A great sport done in a great country is a wonderful why for me.  

When you look at hockey, and its size, scale and importance to Canadians, it must be a power to create positive change in all of our lives and it will be difficult for sport in Canada to evolve without the leadership of hockey. 

Done well, hockey and sport can contribute to health, happiness, learning, travel, friendships, pride and a sense of being part of something bigger than yourself.  

However, it’s important to not forget that there are Canadians in our communities, provinces and country who have had experiences in hockey that have not met their expectations, and we need to take that seriously as we plan for the future.  

The only way that we can deliver what is best for the game of hockey is to deliver what is unequivocally the best for those that hockey needs to be serving. 

Playing and watching hockey is undeniably a part of who we are as Canadians and I truly believe that we can make hockey and sport in Canada mean so much more to fans and participants from coast to coast to coast. 

We can be that aspirational sport for all, and I see a hockey that not includes others, but values them. 

There has been a lot of discussion about hockey in Canada publicly in the last year, but that means it is important to Canadians, and they’re listening to us and want to see where we are all going. Quite honestly, so they should because we’re going to be asking them respectfully to come along with us. 

What we are doing matters and hockey matters to people across our country. 

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably experienced hockey done well and it has likely shaped your thinking about sport, belonging and community. 

We know that there are issues in the game that are detracting from participants and fans having positive hockey experiences, but we are on a journey together to make hockey mean more to more Canadians and we are glad to have you on that journey with us. 

Together, we can ensure that for generations to come, hockey in Canada embodies safety, excellence and sport for all. 

I am so happy and grateful to be on the journey with you. 

Carpe Futurum. 

Check out the 2024 Winter Breakout Magazine for more stories!

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