Do you remember the 1969-1970 NHL playoffs? I have to admit that I do, like it was yesterday. It was the first time that there were no Canadian teams in the playoffs. History does like to repeat itself and we find ourselves in the exact same position, 46 years later. No Leafs, Habs, Sens, Jets, Flames, Oilers or Canucks in 2015-2016.
It got me thinking, thinking about our industry. What has changed since then? Who are we? What do we do? Where do we make a difference in Canada?
I came to a preposterous conclusion: Eggs are more Canadian than hockey! Indulge me for a moment while I explain myself.
Hockey defines us as Canadians. Our hockey standards are high. We know that nothing short of an Olympic gold medal is acceptable. For most Canadian fans it’s unacceptable to not make the playoffs…although Leafs fans seem pretty comfortable with this.
So, how does hockey connect with eggs?
I’ve come up with five parallels between hockey and the egg industry. I challenge you to decide whether eggs or hockey are more Canadian as you read through each.
1. Player/egg composition of league
For the first time Canadian players make up less than 50% of the rosters in the NHL in 2015-2016. Players from Europe and the U.S. are having more and more of an impact on a faster game. Eggs on the other hand have much more Canadian content. Our farmers produce high-quality and wholesome food in Canada, for Canadians. We’re proud of that.
2. Egg vs. player roots
Rural Canada used to produce its fair share of great Canadian players. Sidney Crosby is from Cole Harbour, but more and more are coming out of cities like Connor McDavid (Newmarket) and Aaron Ekbald (Windsor). Egg farms continue to thrive in rural Canada. With over 1,000 family farms spread out across the country, egg farms are important economic generators in rural communities. Egg farmers embrace their rural roots.
3. Team choice vs. egg choice
There isn’t as much hockey choice as Canadians want. There are seven Canadian NHL teams to choose from, but we know that Hamilton and Quebec feel left out. No one feels left out at the egg counter. From classic white and brown eggs to enriched, free range and free run to organic, omega-3 and vitamin D enhanced, we give Canadians all the choices they ask for.
4. Health and safety
The NHL is making moves to improve the safety of the game. Automatic icing, stiffer penalties for head shots, and concussion protocols are making a difference. More could be done but there is a slow evolution. Should there still be fighting? How long will that last? With eggs on the other hand, food safety is our number one priority. Our farmers follow Start Clean-Stay Clean®, a comprehensive on-farm food safety program. Farmers monitor critical points in the production process and are inspected annually by trained field inspectors. The result is a truly world-class food safety system.
5. Ticket price vs. egg price
Going to an NHL hockey game is pricey. Ticket prices have been creeping up year after year for over a decade. For example: in 2002 the average cost of a Toronto Maple Leafs ticket was about $50. By 2011 it was about $120.1 Not so with eggs. A dozen eggs—one of the most complete proteins available—cost less than a latte. Between 2014 and 2015 the price of eggs went up by 1.5%. Meanwhile, fresh or frozen meat (not including poultry) went up by a whopping 11.9%… a lot like NHL ticket prices.2 At a time when the grocery bill of Canadian families is going up, supply management helps makes sure Canadians can always count on high-quality, low-cost eggs when they go to the grocery store.
Our industry shares the same values that hockey fans do—dedication, commitment, hard work and teamwork. Eggs and hockey are not something we compare everyday but there are some interesting parallels. Objectively in the spring of 2016, I think we can clearly conclude that eggs are truly more Canadian than hockey.