By RON FANFAIR
Cricket Canada is among 19 national sports organizations that are part of the Canadian Team Sport Coalition (CTSC) established to collaborate on common issues and opportunities including sponsorship, public policy, sport tourism, multi-sport event hosting, athletic services and funding.
In addition, they will raise awareness of the importance of team sport. Though the large majority of Canadians take part in sport as part of a team, just 17 per cent of the government’s core funding goes to team sport organizations.
“We are the most under-funded of all the sports, so it makes sense for us to be part of this collective,” said Cricket Canada’s executive director, Chandra Gocool. “When you look at it, the support from the federal government gets skewed towards non-team sports. Hopefully, as a group, our issues could resonate with Sport Canada and we could see an increase in funding for all team sports.”
Canada Basketball executive director Wayne Parrish said there is urgency for team sports to work together.
“The Canadian sports system currently focuses largely on medal count to determine funding,” said Parrish. “This model does not reflect the many benefits of team sport, such as leadership, the physical development of children, economic impact, community development and patriotism. In this coalition, we have a new crop of leaders who are willing to work to bring these issues to the forefront.”
The coalition released an independently researched report titled, “Full Team Ahead: The Benefits of Team Sport to Canadian Sport”, and surveyed 572 High Performance English and French Canadian athletes to help prove the importance of team sports.
Among other things, the survey results reveal that participating in team sports is the foundation from which almost all elite Canadians athletes emerge, 90 per cent of the athletes surveyed participated in team sports in the developmental stages of their careers and 73 per cent indicated that participation in team sport was critical to their development as athletes.
“There is no doubt that team sport faces unique challenges,” said Volleyball Canada executive director John-Paul Cody-Fox. “Approximately 17 per cent of Sport Canada’s direct grants and contributions go to team sport organizations. Many of the sport leaders interviewed as part of this project feel this is a significantly disparity.”
The research report also disclosed that seven of the top 10 most popular sports (based on participation) are team sports and that team sports play an important role in building communities and in socializing young Canadians. In terms of overall development in sport through participation, volunteering and attending events, team sports outperform individual sports by a significant margin.
A total of 24 million Canadians are engaged in some form in team sports as compared to 10 million in individual sports.
“The focus of the Canadian Team Sports Coalition is to strengthen our team sport in Canada by raising awareness levels of its distinct benefits, many of which have been highlighted in our research,” said Hockey Canada executive director and chief executive officer, Bob Nicholson. “We hope that our efforts as a coalition will help change a funding model that focuses primarily on medal count.”
Field Hockey Canada and the Canadian Soccer Association are also part of the coalition.