Youth hockey provides a wonderful growth and learning opportunity for children of all ages. Unfortunately, however, hockey is not something that is easily accessible for all children. The cost of being on a team, buying equipment, and traveling to tournaments is something that not every child’s family has the resources for. But, it’s not just the cost that proves to be a barrier. Other problems include the fact that youth hockey these days is just too competitive and just plain “too much” for kids who are just looking for a fun sport to play.
For those for whom cost is the most difficult barrier, there are some simple solutions. For one thing, children are encouraged to participate only in house league hockey if they’re looking for a less expensive, less time committed experience but one that’s still just as beneficial.
Not only are these smaller leagues cheaper to participate in, but they’re also a lot less overwhelming. For parents looking to save money or just to provide a less intense and more fun experience to their kids, the key is to avoid clubs that force numerous out of state hockey tournaments, and require mandatory spring and summer hockey. These are the classic signs of the kind of club that will require more time and money than you may be willing or able to commit.
Hockey club/league selection all boils down to what you want for your child and what you can afford, the time commitment you desire and the skill/talent level of your skater.
Remember, what matters to kids is just having fun and enjoying the sport, so don’t feel like you have to bow to the pressure. Do what you can to make hockey more accessible for your family and know that your child will love the sport, no matter how or on what league he or she gets to play it.