Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 24, 2017)
Here are some of the reasons why HockeyTech Inc. was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2017):
- HockeyTech starts new employees with 3 weeks of paid vacation and offers up to 5 paid personal days off to help employees balance their work and personal lives
- A smaller employer, HockeyTech encourages its employees save for the longer term with matching RSP contributions
- HockeyTech's employee social committee (The Social Peeps) organizes regular pub nights as well as gatherings to celebrate important events throughout the year, from a children's Christmas party to the annual NHL draft
Hockey always is top of mind at HockeyTech
Marty Camins played competitive hockey as a youth and, like kids everywhere in Canada, he dreamed of one day making it to the National Hockey League. A serious injury put an end to that, but to this day hockey remains a big part of his personal and professional life.
Camins, who earned an electrical engineering degree at the University of Waterloo, is a software developer at HockeyTech Inc., a Waterloo-based company that supplies a vast array of data and technology solutions -- everything from games results to player stats to scouting reports -- to nearly every elite level team and league in North America. That includes the NHL, AHL, ECHL and Canada's three major junior leagues as well as the country's Tier II junior leagues and several U.S. junior leagues.
Camins joined HockeyTech a year ago and for him it's been a perfect fit. "It's not just the software side of things," he says. "It's applying your skills to something you're really passionate about. It wouldn't be the same if it were mundane stuff."
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stu Siegel, a former managing partner of the NHL's Florida Panthers, founded HockeyTech and built it by acquiring five small companies that were all providing different but complementary services. He consolidated them and put them under one roof in Waterloo, largely to be close to the University of Waterloo and its highly regarded engineering and computer software graduates.
"We put a lot of resources into recruiting within the tech industry and into finding really good people," says Siegel.
That said, it helps if someone with technical ability also happens to be a hockey fan. "It's not a prerequisite," Siegel adds, "but if you're a fan or like hockey, it's one of the things on the list that we check off."
Naturally, the corporate culture is built around hockey and Siegel has gone to great lengths to create what he calls a "very modern, very hip, very hockey-oriented workplace."
TV screens are posted throughout the workplace and there's generally either a game on or a panel of analysts discussing the sport. There's also a PlayStation 4 in the staff lunch room and employees can play the latest NHL video games at lunch or during breaks.
"Hockey is always a topic of conversation in the lunch room or the staff lounge," says Camins. "It definitely ties us together and creates a sense of community among the employees."
The company also has a very active social committee -- the Social Peeps -- that organizes team lunches, summer barbecues, potluck dinners, pub nights and charitable activities. Employees participate in the community's annual Earth Day Clean-Up. Last year, they organized and hosted a local road hockey tournament to raise funds for the charitable organization Hockey Helps the Homeless.
But for Camins and many of his colleagues, the work itself generates enthusiasm and inspires commitment. Hockey coaches, general managers and scouts depend daily on the accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date data and information they provide.
"It's challenging work, but with challenges come fulfilment," says Camins. "There's a real team atmosphere here. When you encounter complex issues, you can always go to a co-worker or even the CTO and COO and leverage their expertise and knowledge."
And just like a hockey game, occasionally employees are required to put in a little extra time to get the job done. But as Camins puts it: "The company is extremely flexible if you need time off here and there for personal reasons."