I'm in Southern California but originally from NW Ohio and lived in Sweden, so I grew up in areas where my first exposure to hockey was seeing kids playing hockey on frozen creeks and ponds, and kids playing ball hockey when there's a lack of ice. I've been involved in trying to get more youth programs and especially girls/women's hockey beginners teams to get more kids into the sport and opportunities for people of all ages to get involved in hockey. But with the major youth teams here in Southern California, the thought process is that a kid starting playing hockey at 12 or 13 is useless. The way to improve their top junior teams and produce more NHL talent from Southern California is to put the effort into developing their top players with potential rather than wasting ice time on recreational players. I can see where they are coming from and some of the issues those teams were facing in terms of developing players. But I also am not sure a formal hockey team is exactly what is needed. Most people who love the NBA haven't played on an basketball team, but they've shot hoops. Maybe had some basketball instruction at gym class. Most NFL fans haven't played football - there's plenty of female fans and they certainly haven't been on a football team. But most people have thrown around a football or shot hoops for fun. The difference with hockey is that people think they need to actually buy equipment, join a team and invest a lot of time and effort into learning to skate and skills that are difficult. IMO, taking skating out of the equation and making ball hockey more popular and acceptable is a better solution. In Sweden, I saw so many kids with a net, sticks and ball in their driveway playing with friends the way kids shoot hoops in their driveways in the US. Once there's that type of love of a sports, you'll learn the rules by watching games on tv.