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Barbie and Tim Hortons ‘Double Double’ Down on Hockey For Girls

By Gary Symons, TLL Editor in Chief

Few people in the licensing biz know this about me, but among other things I was a minor hockey coach for many years, as my elder daughter was a bit of a pioneer among female players. She started out playing full contact hockey against boys, because there was no girl’s team in our city, and later joined a girl’s hockey team. Every weekend at the crack of dawn we’d get up, stop at Tim Horton’s, and I’d alternate between sucking down a Double Double and screaming at the top of my lungs.

For all those reasons, I was quite impressed to see Tim Hortons is now working on a program to empower young, female hockey players in a partnership with Mattel.

The Tim Hortons chain is working with Mattel to offer Tim Horton Hockey Barbie dolls at hundreds of restaurants across Canada, with 100 per cent of Tim Hortons’ net proceeds donated to the Hockey Canada Foundation to support girls’ hockey.

The partnership also includes offering branded Tim Hortons Hockey Barbie donuts that feature a fondant top with an edible Hockey Barbie image, as well as Tim Hortons Hockey Barbie-branded Tim Cards. The program is aimed at showing girls that they can be anything, including a great hockey player.

The dolls are a part of Barbie’s You Can Be Anything program, which inspires girls to reach their potential through imaginative play and engaging with “meaningful role models.” Mattel says research shows that starting at age 5, many girls begin to develop limiting self-beliefs—they stop believing their gender can do or be anything—which Mattel calls “the Dream Gap,” and one of the ways to help girls believe they can be anything and transcend the Dream Gap is through positive role modeling.

I’ve seen this myself as a parent and coach, as our own daughters and their friends would be happy, confident and fearless as young children, but after coming face to face with our world and our society, would start to doubt themselves and feel anxiety about doing things that many might consider traditional men’s roles. However, I also had the opportunity to see Canada’s national women’s hockey team play their US counterparts, and that should quash any doubts that women can not only play hockey; they can excel at hockey or any other sport.

Tim Hortons was founded by Tim Horton, a National Hockey League player, and has been heavily involved in hockey ever since. They run the Tim Hortons Timbits Minor Sports Program, in which hundreds of thousands of kids aged four to nine are provided with opportunities to play house league sports, but typically only 18 per cent of the players are female.

“As a leader in hockey in Canada, it’s important that Tim Hortons shows support for young girls who want to play the sport. We want to ensure that girls feel like they belong in hockey just as much as boys do,” said Hope Bagozzi, Chief Marketing Officer for Tim Hortons. “We’re really excited about the impact of this partnership with Barbie and to show our strong support for girls’ hockey.”

The partnership also includes two famous female hockey stars in Canada, Marie-Philip Poulin and Sarah Nurse.

I was in Vancouver to watch Poulin scored game-winning goals to secure gold medals for Canada in 2010, and she did it again in Sochi in 2014. Earlier this year she was named the world’s best female hockey player earlier this year in a poll of NHL hockey players.

Nurse also won a silver medal with Poulin and Team Canada in PyeongChang in 2018. She is also a key contributor and ambassador of the Professional Women’s Hockey Player Association (PWHPA) where she advocates to promote, advance, and support a single, viable professional women’s ice hockey league in North America that showcases the greatest product of women’s professional ice hockey in the world.

Now, two of the dolls being sold through Tim Hortons are being made in the likeness of these two great hockey players, who also starred in Barbie’s latest ‘You Can Be Anything’ video.

“Barbie was founded in 1959 by Ruth Handler and the philosophy behind Barbie was that through the doll, a little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Today, with the launch of the two Tim Hortons Barbie dolls, girls can imagine themselves as a hockey player,” said Tara George, Country Head, Mattel Canada.

“Barbie has inspired girls to be anything by showcasing aspirational roles in fields where women are underrepresented. As a parent who spends a lot of time at the rink, I am incredibly proud of the partnership with Tim Hortons and the opportunity to encourage more girls to get involved in hockey, one of the country’s most beloved sports.”

The Tim Hortons Hockey Barbie will be sold across Canada for $29.99, with all proceeds going to the Hockey Canada Foundation.

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