The IIHF is aiming to get more women involved in ice hockey ©Getty Images

The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is aiming to inspire more women to get involved in ice hockey with the launch of its new campaign Inspire the Next.

A key objective of the initiative is to tell the stories within the women's game in terms of participation, awareness, and professional opportunities on and off the ice.

Women's ice hockey has grown in participation by almost 30,000 players in the past five years but the IIHF is eager for an increase in other roles such as officials and coaches too.

"One of our main goals is to make ice hockey as accessible as possible," said IIHF President Luc Tardif.

"Our target audience includes both women and men, but the big opportunity to grow the sport lies with the female participants.

"It is important to have a platform such as this campaign, on which we can share knowledge with each other and, above all, we can help all of our member national associations, especially the ones where women's ice hockey is still in the emerging phase.

"I am glad that we have the opportunity to do all this with the Inspire the Next campaign."

The campaign was developed as part of the IIHF's strategic plan which will be implemented up until 2026.

It begins two weeks before the 2023 IIHF Women's World Championship in Brampton, Canada, scheduled for April 5 to 16.

The campaign is divided into two phases, the first one lasting for the next six months with the goal of driving conversation and expanding connection, understanding and support for women in ice hockey.

"This campaign tells the stories of real life women - it seeks to empower as well as recruit girls and women to ice hockey, hopefully unleashing the passion for the women's game at all levels," said Zsuzsanna Kolbenheyer, chair of the IIHF Women's Committee.

"Our long-term goal is to not only elevate the women's game by way of promotion but also to potentially find a strong commercial partner to invest in its development and leave a legacy footprint.

"We wish to work side by side with a strong partner to develop, advocate and create a sustainable future for women on and off the ice."