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What Canlan does to enhance player experience off the ice

How Canlan is using a Salesforce app called Player's Bench to improve user experience

Canlan Ice Sports Corp (Canlan) is the North American leader in the development, operations and ownership of multi-purpose recreation and entertainment facilities. Canlan are the largest private sector owner and operator of recreational ice sports facilities in North America and currently own and/or manage 18 facilities in Canada and the United States with 68 surfaces including ice rinks and indoor soccer fields. Up until 2013, Canlan managed most of their communications with individual league members and team reps through an online portal. The portal provided the league with a channel for communication as well as a means of displaying league statistics. However, with the continued growth of the league, the portal was unable to keep up with the increasing functionality that Canlan required to effectively support the administration of the league. They made the decision to stop using the portal and find a better solution that could scale as the league did. At that same time, Canlan was considering Salesforce for different areas of their business. The concept of the Player’s Bench online community was only a piece of what Canlan was looking to do with Salesforce.

Project challenges

Canlan identified key requirements that the technology solution had to achieve.

  • Improve Communication: The solution needed to facilitate communication between ASHL league officials, teams (reps and players) and Canlan administration.
  • Enhance Collaboration: It had to provide members with an online forum to interact with each other allowing them to easily receive support from league administration.
  • LeagueStat Integration: Seamless integration with LeagueStat, a third-party database that contains all of the league scoring statistics (team-based and individual-based statistics), was required to serve the data up in an easily digestible and mobile-friendly manner.
  • Provide an Engaging, Mobile-Friendly Interface: The solution needed to operate with a sleek user interface that would encourage engagement from current league members as well as attract future members. It also needed to be fully responsive, device-agnostic and work in any browser. Canlan wanted a system that not only supported the league but acted as a significant draw to attract additional participants into the ASHL.
  • Payment Processing & Online League Registration Integration: Canlan wanted the solution to provide an online forum for members to pay and manage their annual league fees. It also needed to integrate with Canlan’s payment processor (PayPal) to ensure fee administration and collection were simple and convenient.
  • Support the League’s Sales and Marketing Efforts: The solution needed to include functionality that would allow the league to market events, products and other Canlan services to league members.
  • Provide More Measurable and Actionable League Data: Canlan wanted a system that would support the collection of additional data on league members, including game participation, portal engagement, payment history, member spending and more.

Project solutions

  • Customized User Interface: The Player’s Bench is certainly not a traditional use case for Salesforce. The solution that was developed was a completely custom, branded and responsive online community, built on the platform. The Player’s Bench took advantage of the fundamental elements of a Salesforce community by using the player login, profile, user management and Chatter functionality. It was then stripped of all unnecessary functionality to support fast, responsive and agile performance. Unlike most Salesforce projects, there is no semblance of Salesforce and its distinctive formatting.
  • Chatter: The community uses Salesforce Chatter functionality for communications between league members, officials and administrative staff. Chatter, along with its instant notification features supports an improved communication management strategy with better tracking, tagging and categorizing of the content shared in the community.
  • Integrations with Data Governance in Mind: With an objective of minimizing duplicate data and ensuring strong data governance practices, the community was designed to integrate with the external database systems to simply display the information on the Player’s Bench for member consumption. Minimal data, apart from user management data and communication records, is collected in Salesforce, keeping it efficient and clear of duplicate data.
  • Game Attendance: Members can select which games they are able to attend, helping team reps make better lineup decisions.
  • Line Up Setting: Based on who has given their availability for any given game, team reps can go into the community and set their lineups for upcoming games, with an easy-to-use, jersey drag-and-drop feature.
  • Collecting League Fees: Team reps can support the league in collecting and managing league fees. Using different profile roles, team reps are given the ability to see who has and has not paid their league fees. They can then easily follow up with those outstanding through the messaging feature.

Project results

  • With user experience at the top of Canlan’s priority list, Traction on Demand developed a platform interface that is interactive, enjoyable to use and incorporates a sleek design. The Player’s Bench is truly an amazing tool for Canlan’s 65,000 league members and especially for team reps. The community enhances the player and league experience to one that would only be found on the professional sports level.
  • To support Canlan’s sales and marketing efforts, The Player’s Bench functionality includes areas for advertisements on upcoming events and offers. It also integrates with Puck Bucks, a joint loyalty program between Canlan and Hockey Canada. Puck Bucks are collected by league members when they spend money at the Thirsty Penguin – the restaurant chain that operates in Canlan’s arena facilities. Now, using the Player’s Bench, Puck Bucks can be used to pay for annual league registration fees or to purchase merchandise from Hockey Canada.
  • The Player’s Bench will support a streamlined operational process for Canlan to effectively manage the ASHL, collect fees, communicate with league members and team reps and provide a world-class user experience that attracts new members.
  • With the seamless integration of the LeagueStat database, players and team reps alike can see in real-time who is performing well and who isn’t due to the improved visibility into all recorded game statistics. All stats are uploaded and served up directly from the scorer’s box at the game to LeagueStat so players can view their performance while in the locker room after the game.
  • Along with the paying of league fees, team reps and individuals can sign up for the ASHL through the Player’s Bench with integration into Canlan’s online registration system.

Full note from Hailey Clark, Director of ASHL at Canlan Ice Sports

“When we first partnered with Salesforce we didn’t know the Players Bench Team Management Platform would be on the horizon, what we did know was that by choosing Salesforce as our technology partner anything seemed possible. When the Player’s Bench vision started to become a reality we knew that using Salesforce would give us the customizability and flexibility we needed to create something incredible.”

"With the dedication, commitment and innovation of Traction on Demand’s team we’ve developed a highly integrated platform that provides our customers with a unique user experience unlike any else on the market today."

We’ve created a competitive advantage for Canlan Ice Sports that will drive retention, encourage new business and opened doors for new revenue generation.Hailey Clark, Director of ASHL at Canlan Ice Sports

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