NHL Announces Strategic Partnership with RCX Sports and Officially Launches Youth Hockey League NHL STREET™
NHL STREET will bring new style, energy and gameplay to the sport, offering families an affordable, neighborhood-based model that gives kids across North America an opportunity to learn and play hockey
NEW YORK/TORONTO, February 22, 2023 – The National Hockey League today announced a strategic partnership with RCX Sports, the leader in organized youth sports experiences, to officially launch “NHL STREET™,” a North America-wide youth street hockey league.
Positioned to be the premier ball hockey experience, NHL STREET is designed to provide kids and their families with the best of what youth sports can be: having fun, staying active, making friends and creating great memories. Designed for children ages 6 to 16, NHL STREET athletes will feel like the pros when they suit up in authentic uniforms to play in high-energy, team-first leagues. Longtime NHL-licensed equipment partner Franklin Sports has created an exclusive line of equipment for participants, including branded sticks, balls and goalie equipment.
NHL STREET will bring new style, energy and gameplay to the sport, offering families an affordable, neighborhood-based model that gives kids across North America an opportunity to learn and play hockey.
“With NHL STREET, we’re not inventing ball hockey, but we are reimagining the way you experience it, the way it makes you feel and how it connects back to the NHL,” said Andrew Ference, NHL Alumnus and NHL Director of Social Impact, Growth and Fan Development. “We’re focused on developing a network of local youth organizers that provide kids and their parents a new way to access the sport that meets their budget, schedule and personal development needs.”
RCX Sports is the premier youth sports experiences business, running and operating leagues, camps, combines, tournaments and events. RCX Sports works with professional leagues, national governing bodies, sports-centric businesses and brands to reimagine youth sports experiences and is committed to improving the accessibility and inclusivity of sports by creating opportunities for all athletes to play.
“Our mission is to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of sports by creating opportunities for all athletes to play,” said RCX Sports CEO Izell Reese. “NHL STREET will help alleviate many of the traditional barriers that youth hockey athletes face and allow them to experience the excitement and benefits of the sport first-hand.”
Longtime NHL corporate partner Tim Hortons is continuing its support of NHL STREET across Canada. For over thirty years, Tim Hortons has supported positive hockey experiences at all levels of the game, from when a child takes their first stride on skates, to the NHL and beyond. Through NHL STREET, Tim Hortons expands its commitment to grow the sport in non-traditional forms, in neighborhoods from coast-to-coast – engaging existing hockey families, and those new to the game and new to the country.
“We’re proud to be continuing our partnership with the NHL on NHL STREET, which is strongly aligned with our Let’s Up Our Game diversity and inclusion platform and our mission to improve accessibility to hockey and foster a new generation of players,” said Hope Bagozzi, Chief Marketing Officer for Tim Hortons. “We want to help make hockey a more inclusive, more diverse, and more welcoming game. NHL STREET brings a more accessible form of hockey to underrepresented and diverse youth in communities across Canada, which allows more kids to enjoy the game, learn skills and teamwork all while having fun.”
NHL CREATIVE & JERSEY DESIGN
The NHL’s Creative Services Department has developed a complete line of Club-branded NHL STREET uniforms that include sublimated, reversible shirts with elements for personalization, such as a write-in name patch above jersey numbers. All players will receive an exclusive jersey when they participate in an NHL STREET event or league.
An NHL licensee since 1993, Franklin Sports has redesigned its entire line of ball hockey equipment – including sticks, balls, gloves, goalie equipment and shooter tutors – to align with the new NHL STREET brand.
“Franklin Sports and the NHL have worked in unison for three decades to help grow the game in driveways, living rooms and school gymnasiums across the US and Canada through our NHL-branded ball, street and knee hockey equipment,” says Chris Rodday, who heads the family-owned Brand Partnerships Department. “We are ecstatic to play a small part in supporting the League’s revamped NHL STREET programming alongside our joint-partner, RCX Sports who makes these leagues come to life at the grassroots level. As a Boston-based company, we have hockey in our DNA and we can’t wait to share the love of the sport with new participants and fans across North America via our new NHL STREET branded product line!”
EVOLUTION OF NHL STREET
The NHL’s initial venture into off-ice hockey first began in 1995, with the creation of NHL BREAKOUT – a traveling grassroots street and roller hockey tournament and hockey festival that was held in nine North American cities. During its inaugural campaign, the festival had over 125,000 individuals compete in the world’s premier off-ice hockey tournament that combined competitive tournament play with a variety of interactive hockey-themed activities, NHL player meet and greets, skills clinics and entertainment. The tournament’s international debut followed in 1996 when NHL BREAKOUT EUROPE drew an estimated 300,000 European fans during a six-country, 22-city tour.
Between February and September of 2022, NHL corporate partners, Enterprise in the U.S. and Tim Hortons in Canada, supported more than 2,000 youth players who participated in a series of pilot NHL STREET Festival and Showcase events hosted in Las Vegas, Montreal, Nashville, Vancouver and Winnipeg. Student athletes in attendance were given a first-hand look at the new and improved NHL STREET through a series of games, and skill stations testing their hockey ability.
NHL STREET is committed to bring programming throughout North America. Parents, athletes and community leaders looking to either start a league or register to play in an existing program can find more information at NHLSTREET.com and at @NHLSTREET on Instagram.