Once upon a time, hockey for kids was purely recreational. That is to say that it was all about fun! Nowadays, though, things aren’t like that for the vast majority of young players. Instead, they specialize in hockey alone, often being prevented from trying other sports. They even practice hockey year round, which can lead to burnout and definitely sucks some or maybe even all of the fun out of the game.
Because youth hockey has become such serious business, players now pay huge registration fess to be a part of hockey associations, spend tons of money on travel fees, and pay even more to participate in tournaments, making the sport an impossibility for those without tons of money and time.
And, while community centers and other organizations do offer recreational hockey, many people are not interested in it...and that’s sad. They want something that is (maybe) going to propel their kids to super stardom, instead of something that’s about fun and enjoyment, and that’s a big problem. Sports for kids SHOULD be about fun and about personal growth, not about future scholarships, which are unlikely by the way, or future super stardom, which is even more unlikely.
If you’re dropping lots of money on your child’s hockey hobby, first make sure it’s really your child who wants to be playing hockey, that you’re not forcing him into doing something he doesn’t truly want to do.
If it truly is your child’s dream, not yours, let him keep playing but try taking a break from the strict, expensive big hockey leagues and trying out plain recreational hockey. If you find that your child has just as much fun and gets just as much out of it, then you’ve found a cheap, stress-free way to enjoy the game. If it’s not enough for your child, you can always go back to the high-demand stuff, but no matter what you do, don’t underestimate recreational hockey. For players who aren’t trying to make hockey their career, it’s a great, affordable option!.