Innovating Youth Tournament Schedules to Minimize School Absenteeism

An Exploratory Study


  • Chris Chard Brock University
  • Daniel Wigfield University of Waterloo
  • Luke Potwarka University of Waterloo



sport innovation, youth sport, Community Sport Organizations (CSO), school absenteeism, tournaments, hockey


Participation in sport has been lauded for the myriad benefits provided to youth who engage. Similarly, attendance in school has been identified as a salient contributor to academic success. Thus, the purpose of the present study was to explore the extent to which participation in youth representative (“rep”) hockey in Ontario contributes to avoidable absences from traditional school contexts. Specifically, empirical data from 104 youth rep hockey tournaments, ranging from AE-AAA competitive levels, and the Tyke (7-year-olds) to Midget (17-year-olds) age ranks, were utilized to meet the study’s first purpose. The second purpose was to present an alternative and innovative way youth sport tournaments could be scheduled to minimize school absenteeism. The results of the current investigation show there is merit to the proposed shift in tournament scheduling. Specifically, more than 42,000 avoidable school absences, from the 104 tournaments sampled, could be mitigated with a simple adjustment to tournament schedules.

Author Biographies

Chris Chard, Brock University

Chris Chard, PhD, is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Sport Management at Brock University in Ontario, Canada. His research interests focus on the management and development of of small- to mid-sized enterprises in the sport sector.

Daniel Wigfield, University of Waterloo

Daniel Wigfield is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. His research interests include creation, maintenance, and disruption of amateur sport institutions.

Luke Potwarka, University of Waterloo

Luke Potwarka, PhD, is an associate professor and director of the Spectator Experience and Technology (SEAT) Laboratory in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. His research interests focus on consumer behavior related to sport events.


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