It’s well known that USA Hockey devotes a lot of time and effort to popularizing youth hockey and getting more young people interested in the sport. And now it seems that all of that hard work is finally starting to pay off because the organization recently announced that its 8U hockey participation has reached an all-time high! For the 2016 to 2017 season, USA Hockey recorded 115,694 8U participants, the highest in the 80 years of the organization!
A lot of things contributed to this record high. A big part of the equation is a large number of first year participants in this category- a whopping 52,076! There were also many returning participants and, even better yet, a lot of female participants (20,558).
While the record high is nice, it’s been brewing for a long time. For the past two years, 8U participation has increased, and, for the past six years, there have been over 100,000 8U level participants. Increased efforts on the part of USA Hockey and its partners is likely the cause behind this increase, especially since a number of initiatives, including the Learn to Play Program and Try Hockey for Free Days, have been launched by USA Hockey in the previous years.
And, while 8U participation seems to be increasing all around the globe, the following areas had the highest increases in participation:
· The Potomac Valley (Washington D.C., Virginia, Maryland)
· New York
While all of this growth is great, there’s no reason that the sport can’t expand even more, which is why USA Hockey professionals are encouraging others to continue spreading the word about youth hockey