RED DEER – Two-time Stanley Cup champion Andrew Ladd and his wife Brandy are ensuring that youth hockey teams across Alberta and North America are focusing on their mental, physical, and social well-being through their 1616 initiative.
1616 focuses on making those three traits a more significant focus for youth hockey. It’s also looking to shift the culture in minor hockey to one that not only emphasizes hockey performance, but also development of character, confidence, and connections through environments both with parents and coaches that promotes this healthy development.
“Having grown up in the game I understand the challenges players face,” said Andrew Ladd. “At 1616 we are intentionally leveraging stories of the top athletes in our game to teach the next generation that in every challenge lies an opportunity to strengthen your mind and grow as a person.”
The program is designed by a team of experts to create a 16-module experience with video content from some of the best hockey players in the world including Adam Oates, Blayre Turnbull, and Mark Giordano. It features guided in-person discussion prompts for coaches and parents, as well as on-ice drills to enhance on-ice performance, and challenges to help participants apply 1616 principles.
The benefits of 1616 have already been noticed from players, teams and parents who have previously participated in the initiative. 1616 has grown exponentially, as the pilot project in 2021 had 500 participants across North America.
Since then, it has grown to 88 teams across North America including 36 teams from Alberta in 2022 and more than 200 teams in 2023 with over 100 teams coming from this province.
The Hockey Alberta Foundation has played a key role in the success and growth of 1616, partnering with the Ladd Foundation through two donations totalling $120,000 in the last year.
“This program was recommended to the team by a family physician and we’re having a great experience. My son is very introverted and quiet, and it’s been great for helping him think about how to build more connections with his teammates… and the resilience aspect, seeing famous hockey players have a similar experience as him has been meaningful. At this age of 10-12 years old, they’re starting to understand the world and become self conscious, so it’s great.”
1616 Parent/ Caregiver
“I would like to say thank you to the program… I can feel that my son is being shaped and developed mentally along his hockey path. It is much more difficult for parents to communicate or teach our children directly, especially when they are transitioning to teenagers. With the program saying it, the program, coaches and players are actually working as a team, and it seems quite effective. You have full support from our family. Cheers to 1616.”
1616 Parent/ Caregiver
In the 2023 season 1616 expanded its reach. The program launched a school partnership with Edge School in Calgary where more than 40 families enrolled into a facilitated 1616 experience. The Ladd Foundation also took 1616 and partnered with Jumpstart to bring to bring the experience to new communities across Canada. On top of that, The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers Foundations partnered with 1616 to bring expanded support and awareness to teams across the province, which resulted in more Alberta based teams participating than anywhere else in North America.
“Every parent wants the best for their kids, whether that’s opportunity or health,” Ladd said. “Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to provide those things to their children. We have great compassion for those parents and if we can alleviate some of the stress that comes with facing these issues, we want to help.”
For more information on 1616, registration or placing a donation please visit www.1616.org.