The whirlwind that is youth hockey is again taking certain pockets of the United States and Canada by storm and the sport itself has now become a viable option for families all over North America. Whether you find shade under the palm trees of Florida, or shovel your driveway in March in Southern Ontario youth hockey numbers have increased dramatically in the last ten years from the North to the South and everywhere in between.
Everyone wants to be part of something, and when kids are in the picture it’s hardwired into the DNA of most parents to be intentional about what their children are involved in and the people they are surrounding themselves with. Make no mistake, hockey simply isn’t for everyone, but the case should be made that if your son or daughter is going the sports route, then ice hockey should be part of that conversation.
The sport itself to those who are new to it is mesmerizing, as a game played on ice seems to defy all physics. Mix in the risk with blades, a rubber puck, sticks, a slippery surface, and body contact and it’s no wonder why some may shy away, but if we combine our first notion of “everyone wants to be part of something” with notion of Hockey as a sport that embraces competition, teamwork, self control and community, then Hockey in its most raw form, ceases to be simply a famous Canadian past time, but a traditional sport, with active participants who strive in the gamesmanship and community that youth hockey provides.
With roughly 1.6M more kids playing hockey now than 10 years ago in the U.S. and Canada combined the numbers certainly support the infrastructure in your hometown. Ice time, skating lessons (sometimes free) and your hockey leagues are offered with multiple options available to families at your local rink, if you’re reading this, you definitely have one close by. Hockey is played in a controlled environment; so all games and practices on the schedule… remain on the schedule. There are no rainouts, or snow days, and heat exhaustion. After all the game is played on ice.
With all sports, you better be prepared to be in community with these parents for several months at the recreational level, but several years at the competitive, club and travel level. You’ll be sharing sidelines, hotels and carpools with these people after all. With hockey, you know your community is uber committed and bought in. Your kids will be strapping up their gear, tying skates and hitting up ice times at all hours of the day together. Practices turn into games, games into seasons and before you know it, your child playing is fully immersed, and all of a sudden you have a hockey family on your hands… not only that, but your child’s teammates soon become like your own, and all spectators become part of something great that’s bigger then themselves. Don’t be deterred by the unknown hockey may present, let your child give hockey a fair shot.