Tennis Canada targets youth hockey in new ad campaign

A survey commissioned by Hockey Canada and Bauer last winter found that 90 percent of 875 Canadian families in the study kept their children from playing organized hockey, for reasons ranging from safety to affordability to “it wasn’t fun.”

No word where “would rather play tennis” ranked in those justifications, but Tennis Canada is clearly looking to elevate its standing. Check out its new PSA campaign:

One ad features a young player in the penalty box leaving the sin bin, grabbing a puck, throwing it back over the glass and then re-entering the penalty box. Because he would rather be playing tennis.

Another ad, featured on the Tennis Canada website, shows a goalie watching a puck go by before attempting a half-hearted save. (It’s a young girl, not Marc-Andre Fleury in the playoffs, as one might have expected.) Because she would rather be playing tennis.

Forgetting for a moment that both of these players would get the stuffings beaten out of them by betrayed teammates -- thus reinforcing the tropes that have them rejecting the game to begin with -- they're rather clever ads, no?

From Tennis Canada:

“It may be our national sport, but not every kid is in love with the idea of putting on the gear and skating (or wobbling awkwardly) down the ice. Tennis Canada wants to give those kids the opportunity to try their hand at a sport that’s fun, exciting and tailored just for them: Kids Tennis! With your help, we can bring Kids Tennis to communities across Canada and give kids another way to stay active and healthy.”

Yep: Tennis Canada is using Canadian apathy toward hockey in the youth ranks as a way to raise funds. There’s a donation page where donors can do everything from donate equipment to fund an entire kids tennis program for a community or tens club.

(The latter only costs $2,500; what was that they were saying about hockey being unaffordable?)

While we’re happy to see any shot taken at stubborn parents who force their children to participate in activities so they can vicariously live through them, we’re naturally not enamored with tennis trying to continue to bite into hockey’s declining participation numbers.

Not that we're worried, mind you. The idea of a child opting for tennis over hockey is akin to a chocoholic choosing a head of lettuce over a double-fudge cake. Because hockey is that awesome.

Hey, at least Tennis Canada has moved to maligning hockey parents instead of an entire gender with its ads. Kudos!