Instead of trying to get kids into the system we should be getting adults to skate.

Discussion in 'The Rink' started by HugoSimon, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. JacketsFanWest Registered User

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    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.
     
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  2. DougKnowsBest Registered User

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    im a commissioner for an adult league in ohio and attend board meetings for the local hockey organization. I could talk about this for hours

    here are facts from my vantage point.

    largest obstacles. DESIRE, GOOD ICE TIME, EQUIPMENT

    it takes a commitment for the rink to invest the time in organizing events to draw people out. There is a ton of interest. I go to open skates, see people in their own brand new hockey skates, helmet, gloves... then go inquire about them joining our league. It takes a special kind of person later in life to take that leap. It takes some guidance and support to take the next steps.

    the rink also has to be able to offer good times to get people to take the next step. You are talking about people who are use to skating on friday night at 8:30pm. You start talking about games starting 10:30pm on monday night and eyes glaze over. If the people dont have the desire they will not do late week nights. Speaking for our rink, the ice is booked, so there isnt a lot of wiggle room for prime time loss leader events trying to draw new people out.

    Then of course buying the full equipment, registering a usa hockey #, league fees, its expensive. its a commitment

    speaking from the kids side. Starting to play, especially at mite, is very cheap. USA hockey hands out those equipment bags to everyone and they are great. Our younger kids levels are over flowing. The problem becomes as the kids get older, the time commitment gets more and the team fees and equipment costs go up kids drop off. USA hockey has people pooring in the door, they need to be concentrating on the retention of JR high bantam age range. there was recently a conversation that went like this

    nhl team: we want to do a try hockey for free for 5 to 7 year olds. we feel like it will help draw new people out and get them started young in the sport. we will pay for A, B,and C to try to help you get more people into hockey!

    small assoc: thats great, and we love this event every year. we really appreciate the pallet of timbits jerseys and usa hockey bags.. and it definitly works because after every event we get a handful of kids who sign up...... but you see, the problem is we currently already have 50 5-7 year olds in our system and they are all on the ice at the same time and its to many kids on the ice to manage. Is there any way we could do spomething different this year for the older kids we are loosing in the 8-11 year old range?

    nhl team: we want to do a try hockey for free for 5 to 7 year olds. we feel like it will help draw new people out and get them started young in the sport. we will pay for A, B,and C to try to help you get more people into hockey!

    small assoc: fine, send the pallet of crap



    Of course god help you if your a 13 year old kid who decides he would like to start playing hockey now. I heard there was some talk of a inter association non competitive short season informal league for kids that plays beginner "games".... and this is between like 3 or 4 associations with like 10 sheets of ice between everyone...... there was no ice time for the beginner league anyways. everyone wants to find a time for people to play purley recreational hockey, its just all the competitive stuff that pays the bills eats up all the ice time
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
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  3. CrazyMonkey1208 Registered User

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    Sorry to say this but the REAL reason young people aren't interested in playing hockey is they're the instant gratification generation. It takes a long time to learn how to skate well, and that's before you even pick up a stick. Truth hurts. Same with playing guitar. That's why these The Voice shows are so popular. If you can sing naturally it just comes out. There's no practicing guitar for years to become really good. /end story
     
  4. mrshifyu1982 Registered User

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    When I came to Canada at the age of 12 my parents thought I was crazy for wanting to play . We didn't have the money at that point but later on we did, either way they thought I was crazy for wanting so I had no control over it but I did skate, very poorly mind you and it didn't last.
    Forward 16 years later and I saw ice at the park and thought heck why don't I buy skates and see how I do. I skated and did pretty well surprisingly, I started to appreciate it. Long story short, I'm playing in net now for 8 years living my dream. Took everything up on my own and I'm pretty good at this playing in fast paste games .

    Never give up and it's never too late to start, even if it's just learning how to skate.
     

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