Hockey Cards Help to Build Trust and Prevent Crime
By Sean Sportun
By Sean Sportun
The game of hockey is a Canadian tradition, a national pastime, and a beloved part of our heritage that unites us all.
So, in 2016 when the northern city of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario experienced a spike in crime – it only made sense to look for a way hockey could be used as a means to combat the issue. To ultimately build the trust between the police and the community, uniting them to work together for a safer city.
After implementing Circle K’s highly successful Positive Ticketing Program, where police officers hand out coupons to youth they observe engaging in positive behavior, discussions between the Sault Ste Marie Police and Circle K’s Loss Prevention began on how to enhance the program.
Putting a spin on the coupon program, they engaged the Soo Greyhounds Hockey Club (a major junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League) to be a partner in the development of a collectable hockey card set, that would feature their players together with police officers. The cards would be funded by Circle K and handed out to youth by police as a new way to connect with the community.
This was the beginning of the Enforcement Edition hockey card program.
The partnership of all three of these brands together has created a unique opportunity to connect with the Sault Ste Marie community. Having police officers approaching youth with collectable cards of their local hockey heroes is a first step in trying to build relationships. It is through these relationships that help foster a sense of belonging, safety, and awareness of who police officers really are.
The Enforcement Edition cards is now in its second season and has been an excellent way to support the local community. The success of the initiative is based on the simple philosophy that recognizing and rewarding youth for good behavior will inspire and motivate others to follow suit.
On January 9, 2019 at the Soo Greyhounds home game against the Sarina Sting, in front of a sold out crowd the initiative was officially launched. The launch was made even more special as the hockey club and fans welcomed back two of their players, Barrett Hayton and Morgan Frost from the 2019 Canadian IIHF World Junior Hockey Team.
There are more than 800 packs of cards to be handed out, which can either be collected from officers patrolling the community or by attending local Circle K Stores.
Circle K recognizes the critical importance partnerships hold in the prevention of crime and the positive impact such collaborative actions can have on protecting the vital interests of a community and building strategic relationships like this reinforces their commitment to community safety.
Sean Sportun is the manager of Security & Loss Prevention at Circle K Central Division.