IFYHA 2015-16 Recruitment & Retention Plan
Mission Statement: To grow the game and love of hockey in Idaho Falls through positive impact campaigns and programs that focus on recruitment of new players and retention of existing players.
- Increase enrollment
- Improve retention rates through older divisions
- Improve IFYHA/city relations
- Increase community awareness of the benefits of youth hockey
- Promote and encourage a positive attitude toward IFYHA and ice hockey in Idaho Falls
- Encourage a “hockey family” atmosphere in IFYHA
Create a Promotional Theme/Campaign: Integrated with all outlaid plans, it would be extremely beneficial to roll out a universal marketing campaign for the season for use on t-shirts, during tournaments, social media, Try Hockey, etc. (ie. Hockey Rocks Idaho Falls, Ice Hockey’s HOT in Idaho Falls, etc.)
Increasing Enrollment and Retention and Community Awareness:
- Try Hockey/Intro to Hockey Programs for minimal cost & risk
- This is the single biggest success factor for associations that have seen large growth
- Allows new potential players to try it without having to commit large sums of money for gear or commit to a full season. Without this option many kids don’t even try.
- Recruiting Promotion:
i.: Ammon Days & Youth Jam
- Shooting net
- Information booth – heavily promote Try Hockey and IFYHA
- Some Giveaways/Prized donated by USA Hockey
- Needed: a new banner(In process) & budget for promo materials for these two events as well as other season promotions
ii.Heavy pre-event promotion and emphasis on pre-registration
- Try Hockey Event Plan – will follow format used furing February 2015 event
i.Utilize coaches who will give them a taste of the fun side of hockey using fun drills and games.
ii.Add a theme, prizes, or after party with snacks to increase interaction with the association and the quality of experience.
iii.Ask older players to assist – younger kids love seeing the older kids in hockey gear and skating on the ice
iv.Entice first year players with reduced cost to participate or funneling into Learn to Play program
- Learn To Play
i.Work with city to format this program, promote, and conduct sessions
ii.Create partnerships with local sporting goods stores to offer lower cost equipment rentals
- Promotion as “mainstream” winter sport for kids
- Many families aren’t aware that hockey is an option, or think of it as a niche. This factor is often underestimated.
- Push for positive press on hockey stories within the community: newspapers, radio, parades, etc.
- Player Referrals
- Incentive to existing players who get a first time friend to register for recreational league. (ie. Free T-Shirt, Reduced Cost, etc.)
- Challenge every player and parent to be a hockey recruiter.
- Follow up
- Keep list of kids/parents that have shown interest in hockey
- Comprehensive list of all players in association. During/after registration, confirm that all have re-registered. Follow up with those who haven’t to find out why. Some may have missed registration info, moved, or have financial reasons. For those quitting as a result of bad experiences, use those reasons to improve the program.
- Jersey Days
- Pick certain days during the season and have all players (or entire association) wear their jerseys to school
- Provides great visibility for playing hockey, gives players a sense of pride in their sport, and hopefully creates additional interest.
- Mentorship/Buddy Programs – Activities with High School Teams
- Younger players LOVE when they get to play with the older kids. Older kids often LOVE interacting and sharing their skill and passion for hockey with younger players.
- Schedule more combined practice/clinic dates for all divisions
- Get Involved with Schools
- Handout flyers for Try Hockey and Learn to Play Clinics and Events
- Ask parents to staff tables at open houses with association info. Use jerseys and trophies to generate excitement.
- High school players positive outreach – go into younger grades, wearing jerseys, to read a book on sports or discuss the fun of playing hockey.
- Help set up floor hockey as a gym activity or after school program
- Attend school carnivals and create a game with a hockey theme. Hand out hockey t-shirts as prizes as a way to great goodwill and a walking marketing platform.
- Continue with orientation night, but make it a little more fun and informative – new player booth, prize drawing, etc.
- Better Communication
- Keep parents informed. Informed parents often feel they are “in the loop,” are less likely to be negative
- Make good use of Social Media
- SM is today’s front porch and neighborhood block. It’s FREE and one of the BEST ways to recruit and launch a positive marketing campaign for IFYHA
i.Must be monitored and updated
- Weekly hockey related postings of positive content
- Information gateway – promote high school games, special events, etc.
- Player of the Week or Month features
- Use to disseminate information. Between website and SM no one would be able to say they aren’t informed if info is there
- Consider an end of season banquet for the full association, rather than separate events.
- Gives players and parents from different divisions an opportunity to interact, especially when moving up.
- Builds association participant morale
- Highlights the achievements and awards that older players earn(ie. younger players see high school kids getting a letter and want that someday)
- Post season email or postcard thanking players for their participation and inviting them to come back next year.
- Creation of “Travel or Tournament Director” position
- Coordinates with division travel managers to ensure consistency in relations with other associations and tournament activities
- Ensures proper communication of information is relayed to players and parents
- Main point of contact for travel specific complaints. Works to resolve any issues and improve travel program for all divisions.
- In charge of off-ice program development: dryland, team building, etc.
- Works to establish and oversee fundraising committee
- Establish partnerships with neighboring associations to increase fun events such as friendly scrimmages, jamborees, regional events, etc.
- Apply for and work to qualify for any grants available
- Play Positive grant participation starts August 15th – info to follow
- Offer programming suggestions and assist with filling “dead” ice times that will promote the rink, skating programs, and recreational activities offered by the city, which in turn helps everyone. Promotion of community awareness and relations will build a sense of pride and desire to improve the rink.
- Suggestions Sample Set
i.Work with schools on setting up field trips to the rink
ii.Offer mini clinics for learn to skate/learn to play on Early Dismissal Wednesdays
iii.Mom and Me morning skate programs
iv.Mini hockey camps during Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks
v.Stick and Shoot hour on open Sundays
vi.Rink opening celebration – they should make this a big event: info booths for public skate programs, hockey, figure skating, adult hockey, etc. Bounce house, 5k run, games on the ice, etc.
vii.Community invited events like Skate for a Cure, Sled Hockey, Spooky Skate(mite game with kids in costumes over their gear), etc. – the city could partner on a wealth of activities that promotes community outlook on the rink and helps user groups grow, which in turn helps city keep ice full for years to come!
viii.Santa skate – IFYHA hosts some public skates in which a few players are dressed like a hockey Santa, helping young skaters, handing out candy canes, etc.
ix.Fill the walls of the rink with user group drawings, pictures, and testimonials.
x.Better use of upstairs room – comfortable seating for public events , tournament attendees, and parents during practices
- Partner with city to offer a better Learn to Skate program and develop a Learn to Play program
- Need to retain participants and funnel them into hockey/figure skating
- Have parent or association liaisons available during programs to answer questions, help participants, etc.
- Attend community events to increase awareness
- Parade float with kids on roller blades handing out flyers
- Posters with Association/events info in local stores, schools, athletic clubs, etc.
- Ask local media outlets to feature hockey player bios and testimonials. Promote games/tournaments
- We want our local community and businesses to support us, we have to support them! Create opportunities for sponsorships and advertising. (See fundraising committee)