Mechanisms of Institutional Maintenance in Minor Hockey

in Journal of Sport Management
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Responding to a pressure to increase athlete enjoyment and improve athlete development, governing bodies in sport have sought to adapt policies and programs. This study describes a governing association’s failed attempt at selling an optional change to some local associations. Data were collected through semistructured interviews with coaches and board members within two local minor hockey associations and executive decision makers in a provincial governing association (Ontario Minor Hockey Association) in Ontario, Canada. The Ontario Minor Hockey Association sought to maintain the institution by influencing local associations to change the way minor hockey was played (i.e., adopting cross-ice play). They attempted to influence local associations through education, local change champions, and the success of other hockey associations that underwent the change. The two local associations in this study ultimately resisted a shift to cross-ice play, citing history and tradition, constrained organizational resources, operational challenges with change, and change not being mandated.

Riehl is with the University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada. Snelgrove is with the University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada. Edwards is with the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB.

Address author correspondence to Ryan Snelgrove at Ryan.Snelgrove@uwaterloo.ca.
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