1616 & HockeyFest is coming to Calgary on September 8th! Register your team today.

The Need.

It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.

- Frederick Douglass

The Problem We’re Solving

We believe that youth health and wellbeing is an urgent concern for our society. We’re on a mission to equip kids with the tools they need to discover, establish, and maintain competence, confidence, connection and character as a way of life. We want to provide them with a foundation that will enable healthy growth and development despite potential challenges they may encounter during adolescence.

The rapid acceleration in the rates of youth suffering with anxiety, depression, self-harm, substance abuse, eating disorders, and suicide demands urgent action.

The number of youth battling mental health issues in North America is staggering.

  • Competence
  • Confidence
  • Connection
  • Character

The long-term prognosis for suffering youth is not good. With 50% of all lifetime mental illness beginning by age 14, and 75% by age 24, chances are that many of the children struggling with mental health issues today, will have to deal with them for the rest of their lives.

Sourced from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

1 in 5

teens in North America have reported seriously contemplating suicide.

Sourced from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among North American youth aged 10-34.

Sourced from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml


of all mental illnesses begin by age 14.

Sourced from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml

Teens who are less physically active/not involved in sport are more likely to experience depressive symptoms.

Biddle, S.J., Ciaccioni, S., Thomas, G., & Vergeer, I. (2018). Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: An updated review of reviews and an analysis of causality. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 42, 146–155. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2018.08.011

How will 1616 uniquely solve this problem?

1616 seeks to get ahead of these numbers by reaching young athletes, their coaches and families at the formative age of 10-years-old. This point in development catches children young enough that most are still developing habits, perspectives and emotional responses to experiences, but old enough to understand complex problems and build their own toolkit for responding to them.

We know that educating pre-teens and teenagers about mental health is not enough – we need to reach kids earlier. 1616 will engage children with a unique and accessible opportunity to develop critical skills like resilience, integrity, empathy, leadership and teamwork. It will combine these lessons with unique drills designed by NHL players and skill coaches to improve hockey performance while emphasizing the importance of confidence. This can–and will–make all the difference.

The vast majority of youth mental health programs in existence are reactive and aimed at helping youth ages 12 and up address mental health challenges they are already experiencing (like anxiety and depression). 1616 will proactively use a safe and engaging environment to reach 10-year-olds, a formative age where lifelong habits and ways of thinking are starting to develop and before they encounter more complex social pressures (like social media).

What is the expected impact of 1616?

By reaching kids at a critical formative age and creating a support ecosystem that includes coaches and parents with a proven program model, 1616 will have a profound impact in both the short and long-term.

In the short-term, we are confident that 1616 will:


Help create environments that foster skill mastery and personal development


Promote quality relations between youth, parents and coaches


Provide opportunities for youth to develop confidence in themselves


Reinforce the importance of acting with integrity and demonstrating perseverance


Equip coaches and parents with the support needed to improve on-ice and athletic performance

In the long-term, we are confident that 1616 will:


Be a catalyst for broader societal transformation as participants make mental fitness a way of life and bring their learning into their communities and adult lives


Generate on-ice outcomes including stronger overall performance and a greater love for the game


Shift youth hockey culture to prioritize personal development and wellbeing alongside physical fitness


Support coaches and parents in their efforts to develop strong, thriving youth

Why choose sports to tackle this problem?

Sport is good, but it has to be good sport.

Facilitating youth growth and wellbeing is a broad and daunting undertaking, so we’re focusing on one area of youth development where we have the greatest influence, passion, and potential for impact – youth sports. Starting with youth hockey.

Sport is uniquely suited to being a vehicle for social change, connection and community.

Sport brings out people’s passion, creates a shared energy and requires a unique combination of mental and physical skills to succeed. It’s a context that provides the perfect combination of challenge and fun. By bringing the 1616 curriculum to the rink and into the locker room, Ladd Foundation is becoming an active participant in sport culture, which desperately needs to focus on the mental, physical and social wellbeing of its athletes, particularly kids.

There are many youth wellbeing programs in existence for older kids that are aimed at the school system, but few that focus on athletics, and even fewer that focus on youth hockey.

Though there has been progress, the “professionalization” of youth sports and the significant pressure young athletes feel from coaches, parents and themselves to perform must be addressed. Lacking tools for managing the emotions that come from the experience of participating, there is an opportunity to teach youth skills through sport which will not be limited to the rink. 1616 athletes will bring the skills they develop on the ice to every aspect of their lives, parents will interact with their children differently and coaches will guide their athletes with a broader and more thoughtful approach.

The professionalization of youth sport has resulted in sport programs that over-emphasize entertainment, money, and championships at the cost of youth personal development. However, 50 years of research shows that a developmental approach centered on young people’s interest and enjoyment should be the most important focus of youth sport programs. 1616 is one of the first fully integrated approaches that uses positive youth development research to inform its sport specific curriculum—keeping young people at the center of the sport experience.

Dr. Jean Côté, World Renowned Youth Sport Researcher and Advisor