In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown resulted in the closure of several economic sectors and thousands of rinks in North America, as well as the interruption of professional hockey operations. For the leading-edge hockey equipment designer, manufacturer and distributor CCM Hockey, it was a forced and sudden shutdown.
The Montreal-based company quickly started looking for ways to assist the fight against COVID-19. CCM mandated NATIONAL Public Relations to promote several initiatives aimed at helping Canadian healthcare professionals.
CCM first wanted to announce a donation of 500,000 masks to Canadian healthcare workers. In order to generate maximum impact, NATIONAL put together a communication strategy that leveraged the popularity of CCM’s roster of professional players to draw attention to the support and safety of the real heroes, the frontline workers. Thanks to the player's involvement, sports media in North America played a big part in spreading the news.
This announcement received so much visibility in traditional and online media that even Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds shared the news on his much-followed Twitter account.
Meanwhile, surgeon René Caissie, who created a full-head protective hood designed to meet the urgent needs of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, partnered with CCM Hockey to manufacture his product in record time.
To spread this news, NATIONAL focused on their collaborative work, as well as on CCM's innovation culture and craftsmanship serving a new objective: the safety of healthcare workers. Dr. Caissie proved to be the ideal spokesperson to speak highly of the collaborative forces offering their talent, resources and time to deliver a much-needed protective tool.
The media relations campaign generated more than 40 million impressions in over 100 media outlets ranging from NBC Sports to Tout le monde en parle, La Presse, CBC, Le Journal de Montréal and Sportsnet Radio.
In addition to media relations efforts, NATIONAL's public affairs team also played a crucial role in approaching Health Canada to obtain the necessary approvals for the production of the full-head protective hood.
CCM wanted to deploy its innovation and engineering capabilities, usually geared toward protecting the world's best hockey players, for a new purpose: protecting frontline healthcare workers. By sharing its expertise, the company was able to achieve this goal, and NATIONAL ensured that these initiatives would reach far beyond the hockey world.