Hockey Night in Canada: Multilingual Edition aims to increase access to hockey

In partnership with Molson Canadian, Hockey Night in Canada will be broadcasted in seven different languages on Saturday, April 24, 2021. Two games will be a part of the multilingual hockey broadcast. First, the Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Winnipeg Jets at 5:00PM MST, followed by the Ottawa Senators versus the Vancouver Canucks at 8:00PM MST. The Win Column interviewed a spokesperson from Molson to talk about the initiative, how it came to fruition, and how it is shaping a new era of diversity and inclusion in hockey media.

Seven languages to watch hockey

Hockey is more than a sport in Canada; it’s part of culture, tradition and identity when you think of being Canadian. And for the approximately 350,000 people who are new to Canada each year, hockey can be a way to forge new connections with their communities and unite them with their new home – but, following a fast-paced sport with a lingo of its own sure can be challenging at first.

That’s why for the first time Molson Canadian is partnering with Sportsnet to present Hockey Night in Canada in 7 additional languages.

Taking place on April 24, 2021, Molson and Sportsnet are inviting more Canadians to experience our nation’s game, which will be streamed beyond the long-running English, French and Punjabi broadcasts in some of Canada’s most spoken languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindi, Vietnamese, Tagalog, German, and Arabic. 

Via Molson Canadian Public Relations

TWC and Molson Q & A

Here is our full interview in questions and answer format. The Win Column is denoted as TWC, and Molson is simply Molson.

TWC: What was the process setting up this initiative like? Are there any findings about the research put into this initiative that you can share? What were the biggest takeaways?

Molson: It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Sportsnet in bringing this initiative to life, leveraging their megaphone to bring this historic presentation of Hockey Night in Canada to more Canadians.

As a result, Molson Hockey Night in Canada Multilingual Edition will be presented through a special Sportsnet stream. Canadians can visit http://www.sportsnet.com/molson to select their choice of broadcast in seven additional languages.

The seven languages selected are the most spoken in each Canadian city with an associated NHL team and represent the mosaic of current and prospective hockey fans coast to coast. While we’ve focused on these seven for this broadcast, there is nothing stopping us from considering more in the future.

Molson Canadian has always been on a mission to bring people together over the things we hold dear in Canada – our beer and our game. In our research, we found that for the approximately 350,000 people who are new to Canada each year, hockey can be a way to forge new connections with their communities and unite them with their new home – but, following a fast-paced sport with a lingo of its own sure can be challenging at first.

Canadians are also known for their love of hockey and beer, so much so that the federal government even lists these as a Canadian cultural insight for those new to Canada. But we’re also known for being the first country to introduce a multiculturalism policy, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, and to embrace diversity and a Canadian
mosaic.

With these findings, we knew that it was time for the things that we’re “known for” to be one and the same – that’s what Molson Hockey Night in Canada Multilingual Edition is all about: our game, our beer and repping our home to extend a wide and warm welcome to Canada’s unofficial national sport so more people can see what the passion is all about.

TWC: Making the sport of hockey more accessible for its diverse audiences is going to be appreciated by many folks across the nation, and the Multilingual Edition of HNIC is definitely worth celebration. What are the plans beyond April 17th to keep hockey more accessible?

Molson: While we are currently focused on the debut of this historic Hockey Night in Canada event, we intend to continue our dedication towards making hockey more accessible to all Canadians in any way that we can. The campaign is an important step to bring our national sport to more Canadians and we’re looking forward to continuing the momentum with future campaigns.

TWC: Were there any communities that surprised you with their attraction and dedication towards hockey that you did not previously know about? Will there be opportunities for them to further share their culture in the sport of hockey in the future?

Molson: In the lead up to the event, we’ve already seen the passion from each community online, on social media and through word of mouth. We’re excited to see the response to the broadcast and stream itself.

While we are currently focused on the debut of this historic Hockey Night in Canada event, we intend to continue our dedication towards making hockey more accessible to all Canadians in any way that we can.

TWC: Who are the Spalk commentators providing commentary? How will they be acknowledged and promoted? Will they be given airtime to share more of their relationships with the sport of hockey or opportunities to present clips of commentary in their own languages on main Sportsnet channels?

Molson: Helping Molson and Sportsnet bring this initiative to life is Spalk. Their unique Virtual Sportscasting Studio and worldwide Talent Marketplace will provide the required technology and experienced hockey commentators from around the globe needed to customize the viewing experience for each individual language

On the stream, Canadians can expect to hear a great roster of announcers coordinated by Sportsnet and Spalk by tuning into www.sportsnet.ca/molson when selecting their language of choice.

Each commentator will provide the commentary and play-by-plays calls for their individual language streams on www.sportsnet.ca/molson, and clips of their calls will also be featured during the main broadcasts on Sportsnet and OMNI.

TWC: What does the promotion for this event look like? How big of an audience would you like to see tune into the streams on April 17th? What’s considered successful by your numbers and will the audience sizes influence further planning of more events?

Molson: The campaign will see TV ads leading up to and during the broadcast on Sportsnet, digital advertisements on Sportsnet.ca, along with sponsored broadcast segments across Rogers media including Breakfast Television, 680 News and Tim & Friends featuring beloved Hockey Night In Punjabi Host Randip Janda. We also have the pleasure of
working with influencers across the Rogers talent roster that reflect these cultures, along with notable Canadian athletes Patrick Chan, Matt Dumba and Leon Draisaitl.

Lastly, Molson will be translating all press materials in an effort to drum up coverage in Canada’s local ethnic newspapers.

Although we don’t have a specific number in mind for audiences tuning in, our intent is to connect more Canadians to hockey through language and success is generating as much of an audience as we possibly can. This is an important step for inclusivity in the sport and representing the mosaic of current and prospective fans coast to coast.

TWC: Hockey broadcasts are a significant part of the hockey experience, but it’s not everything. What additional avenues for increasing accessibility through languages are being invested in? What about beyond language and making it accessible for other marginalized communities such as persons with disabilities?

Molson: While we’re currently focused on the debut of this historic Hockey Night in Canada event, we intend to continue our dedication towards making hockey more accessible to all Canadians in any way that we can.

Molson Coors has supported organizations such as Motionball, which empowers Special Olympics Athletes in doing what they love, and will continue to support these organizations and look for opportunities, similar to Molson Hockey Night in Canada: Multilingual Edition, where we can support and encourage diversity and inclusion in
Canada.

TWC: Promoting diversity and inclusion is a good first step, but there are many people who still feel like they don’t belong in hockey. How will Molson hold itself accountable? Will it do more necessary work to truly enable marginalized athletes, spectators, analysts, etc., to feel like playing hockey or working in hockey is equitable and actually feel like they belong in the same rink and the same room?

Molson: Over the past year, we’ve seen many organizations continue their work in the fight for equality and accessibility, and Molson is no exception. Molson Coors is committed to continuing to work towards a better future, embracing and celebrating the diversity of Canada and finding ways to make the things Canada is ‘known for’ more accessible to all Canadians. The Molson Hockey Night in Canada Multilingual Edition is an important step to bring our national sport to more Canadians, with the belief that anyone and everyone should be able to Rep Our Home.

TWC: Are the press releases and lingo sheets available in the presented languages?

Molson: Yes! The press release and lingo sheet have been translated into each of the presented languages. The lingo sheet will be available to viewers who tune into the stream at www.sportsnet.ca/molson in their preferred language.

The press releases can be found here, and lingo sheets here.

Everyone’s game

Thanks to Molson for taking the time to answer our questions. We look forward to seeing Hockey Night in Canada: Multilingual Edition.


Featured image from Sportsnet