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Josh Ogden and Jonathon R. Edwards

Organizations in a sport system compete against one another while working together to sustain a competitive environment and to provide opportunities for competition at the provincial/state, national, or international level. This paper is a multicase study comparison of the elite sport development systems of Canada and Sweden to explore the differences and similarities between their approaches to the delivery of ice hockey. Semistructured interviews took place with participants from North America and Europe. Additional data came from media articles from Canada and Sweden. Findings revealed six themes/characteristics: the cost of hockey, residential boundaries, the player selection process, skill development, early specialization, and coaching. The results suggest that Canadian and Swedish hockey systems offer two different approaches to elite player development (closed vs. open systems), resulting in different trajectories regarding international success in the World Junior Championships and in the number of players drafted into the National Hockey League.

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Jonathon R. Edwards and Marvin Washington

National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I schools compete with the Canadian Hockey League for top Canadian youth minor hockey players (ages 14–18). To address the challenges of adhering to NCAA’s eligibility and recruitment regulations, the NCAA commissioners created College Hockey Inc. (CHI). One challenge facing new institutions such as CHI is establishing legitimacy as a means of penetrating a crowded organizational field. In this paper we examine what forces, actions, and events contributed to the creation of CHI and what forces, actions, or events contribute to maintaining CHI’s relevance in their attempt to leverage NCAA Division I hockey with Canadian players and parents. Educational Opportunities, Student Life Experiences, Player Development, and Professional Hockey Opportunities were found to be discursive strategies used by CHI to gain pragmatic legitimacy and maintain the institution. Exploration of these strategies makes a number of practical and theoretical contributions to the field of sport management.