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Episode Three of Waste No Potential Podcast Released - LISTEN NOW


What Canlan did to eliminate a free agent frenzy and got more players playing

How Traction on Demand helped Canlan advance Salesforce Communities functionality with Hockey Finder

Canlan Ice Sports Corp is the North American leader in the development, operations and ownership of multi-purpose recreation and entertainment facilities. We own and/or manage facilities across Canada and the United States, including ice rinks, indoor/outdoor soccer fields, indoor/outdoor volleyball courts as well as various sport courts. The company's success in the recreation and entertainment industry is attributed to a combination of innovative programming, highly dedicated and experienced employees and world-class facilities. [They] understand [their] customers’ need for service excellence and are committed to it. (LinkedIn) In 2015, Canlan went live with the Players Bench – a Traction on Demand-created player management system that leveraged the Customer Community platform. Players Bench allowed teams and players to communicate, receive and pay fees, set lineups, and view league-wide statistics. Urged on by the success of Players Bench, Canlan returned to Traction on Demand to help them expand the functionality of the Players Bench in what became Hockey Finder.

Project challenges

  • Facility and league managers had to match players and teams: These employees had to find teams and players that would be compatible, but there was no centralized preference data to help them make these decisions.
  • Canlan’s user base lacked a means of recruitment: Players without teams had no easy way to find a team that required their services. Teams in need of players for a single game or an entire season also lacked the means to communicate directly with these “Free Agent” players.
  • Goalies were in high demand with no intuitive means to contact teams that might need their services: Many teams needed a full time or backup goalie (goalies would typically charge for their services), but there was no way for teams and goalies to clearly tell who was available or who needed their services.
  • Canlan risked losing “Free Agents”: Players for whom it was difficult or impossible to find a team were at risk of leaving Canlan altogether due to the limitations of having facility and league managers as the sole means of player-team matching.

Project solutions

  • Traction on Demand built the Hockey Finder App: Traction leveraged the work they had done with Players Bench, expanding the functionality as a solution.
  • Players and Captains can search for available players and teams: Captains can initiate direct communication with players.
  • Login data from the Players Bench was leveraged: This would minimize impact on previous Players Bench users.
  • Preference data was collected within the Community: User registration within the Community was extended to specify data that would comprise their Hockey Finder preferences, including: preferred facilities, skill level, division, gender, and availability. Traction included search filters for these preferences to optimize search results.
  • Goalies could declare their fees within Hockey Finder: Separate search filters would allow goalies and teams to connect with full visibility of the goalie’s fees.
  • Players not registered to Players' Bench could use some Hockey Finder functions: They could perform a basic search and receive limited results, but would gain full access after registering.

Project results

Better user experience for registered and non-registered Players Bench users:

  • Captains simply log in, click Hockey Finder, and land on a dashboard of all Hockey Finder communications. They can execute a search and find players for a single game or an entire season.
  • The app functions similarly for free agent players, with all contact initiated on Hockey Finder.
  • This makes finding players or teams less stressful and more tailored to each player/team’s requirements.

Increased enrollment and registration in the Customer Community:

  • Users that previously may not have been able to find a team have access to search functions that enable them to find other users that can accommodate their needs.
  • Users are encouraged to register for Players Bench in order to gain the full functionality of Hockey Finder.

Better Return On Investment (ROI) of Communities Canlan has enhanced functionality in their Customer Community, increasing the number of users and frequency of those users touching Players Bench.

I had some pretty big expectations; pretty big goals, and I think [the Traction on Demand team] put a lot of passion into what they did. They were extremely dedicated and they understood our business.Hailey Clark, National Brand Director, Canlan Ice Sports Corp

Full note from Hailey Clark, National Brand Director at Canlan Ice Sports Corp

“The biggest challenge that Canlan has is teams not being able to find enough players to play the season. It’s a huge issue for us as a company, where a lot of the teams end up not playing the game as a whole because they don’t have enough players to field a team. Canlan doesn’t have a lot of opportunities to have game-changers. It’s just one of those businesses that’s kind of consistent over the year. So Hockey Finder for us could change the layout of our business and how successful we are. I had some pretty big expectations; pretty big goals, and I think Kristy, Alex, Scott, and Steve put a lot of passion into what they did. They were extremely dedicated and they understood our business.”

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