Social Work's Role in Athletic Recruitment: New Opportunities for the Profession


  • Marc Felizzi School of Social Work, Millersville University
  • Brandon St. Croix Eastern Health
  • Karen Rice School of Social Work, Millersville University


Recruitment, System theory, Collaboration, Sport Social Work, Athletes


The authors conducted a preliminary study, which asked if social worker support could assist elite level hockey players during the recruitment process to higher levels of play.  The intent was to determine the potential need for professional social workers in sports, and particularly in areas where athletes and their families may face critical decisions regarding the future. Respondents were asked about the recruiting process, what difficulties or successes they encountered, and if a social worker could have made the process more constructive and  positive for the athlete. The responses of 21 current and former hockey players, collected through convenience sampling, are included, and analyzed, regarding their experiences during the recruitment process. The study population comprised former collegiate or professional hockey players who were recruited to play at college, Major Jr. A, or professional leagues. All participants agreed that partnering with a someone in a helping capacity, such as a social worker, would have helped them navigate the various pitfalls and obstacles of the recruitment process, and would have been valuable allies and supports during their decision-making period. Implications for practice as well as suggestions for future study are offered.

Author Biographies

Brandon St. Croix, Eastern Health

Brandon St. Croix earned his Bachelor’s in Social Work at Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2014 and his Master’s in Social Work at University of Waterloo in 2021.  He currently works for Eastern Health as the Addiction Coordinator for Mental Health and Addiction Services Health Promotion and Prevention Program providing workforce development, orientation, community presentation and education, and group facilitation across a range of topics regarding Addiction and Recovery. Brandon St. Croix has worked in the Mental Health and Addiction Service program for 6 years with 2 years prior working in Child Protection in Indigenous Reserve in Northern Canada. He has been involved in the Alliance of Social Work in Sport since 2016, with prior involvement as an original member of the 1in4 Project (Chicago, Illinois) and former president of Hustle NL. He has authored articles in the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Social Workers publication and has presented on topics at local, national, and international conferences regarding topic of Athlete’s Mental Health, Hockey players and recruitment, and Athlete’s Well-being. Brandon St. Croix founded Wellness Athletic Services with the vision of bringing awareness of Mental Health in the Sport Community, Providing Athletes with a Voice, and Promoting Social Change. This grew into Courtside Wellness Podcast in which he hosts with a range of guest from athletes, former athletes, Sport Social Workers, and coaches to discuss topics of wellness in sport community. He also works as a private mental health and addiction counselor with Get Maple clinic virtually for clients in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, and Quebec. Brandon also chairs his local community board, Clarenville Area Recreation Association (CARA). Brandon St. Croix lives in Clarenville, NL, Canada with his partner, 2 dogs and 1 cat.

Karen Rice, School of Social Work, Millersville University

Karen Rice is the Chair of the Millersville Univerity School of Social Work. She has held that position since 2012, and is a full professor at Millersville. She has extensive experience with qualitative research in a number of areas. She is also involved in a number of programs and social initiatives in the central Pennsylvania region.






Research Articles