From winter afternoons on frozen ponds to cheering from the stands in an NHL arena, hockey is a formative part of the lives of many Canadians, no matter their background. Who’s Hockey? is a children’s book made in collaboration with NHL’s Hockey is For Everyone that encourages inclusivity and celebrates diversity on the ice.

Nicola Pringle, Design Foundations ʻ05, Design Studies ‘07, was approached by her friend and former coworker Jeff McLean with the idea for the book. McLean has been involved with the NHL through Pride Tape, which is used to show support for 2SLGBTQ+ athletes, and he saw Who’s Hockey? as a way to further promote inclusivity in the sport.

“He knew that I could illustrate and had always wanted to do a children’s book,” says Pringle. “I’ve done smaller projects before, but definitely nothing that is in stores. It’s very surreal.”

She joined forces with writer Terri Roberts to bring life to McLean’s story. The book centres on Cam, whose family moves to a new town. Cam immediately sets out to find new friends to play hockey with, but finds that no one in her new neighbourhood has heard of the game. She’s eager to teach everyone willing to learn about her favourite activity, and together they discover that their differences allow them all to contribute something special to the team.

A page from the Who's Hockey book, featuring a variety of children asking questions about hockey.

Pringle shared some of her favourite illustrations from the children's book.

In her job as art director for ad agency ZGM, Pringle works with a wide variety of organizations and charities. Building campaigns to support their messaging is her favourite part of the job. She was excited to lend her talents to spread the message of acceptance in the book as well.

“I have two kids. The storyline of the book is all about inclusivity and accessibility in sports, finding people through your passion and just being a good human to others. That whole idea is something that I hope my kids will grow up with.”

Acceptance is not only the story’s focus, but it’s also one of the NHL’s Declaration of Principles. Pringle says that McLean aims to write a story for each of the eight principles, and that she would love the opportunity to illustrate with him again. 

She notes that her involvement with Who’s Hockey – which has brought her all the way to New York City for a book launch at NHL headquarters – was only possible due to the relationships she’s nurtured in her career.

“Build those connections and always keep your door open,” she advises. “There is a little bit of luck involved, but ensure you keep your goals in sight and be a person that others want to work with.”

Nicola Pringle reads from the book while sitting next to Jeff McLean

Nicola Pringle reads from Who's Hockey? at the book's launch in New York City with story creator Jeff McLean.

Related Reads

Let’s stay in touch!
Sign up to receive our weekly MacEwan University e-newsletter straight to your inbox.