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The Rapidly Rising Costs of Minor Hockey


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The rapidly rising costs of Minor Hockey are always a concern to parents on a budget, yet some of the reasons for the increases can be controlled simply by turning around and asking the belligerent and rowdy parent behind you to have a seat. 

Hockey Parents as a whole have always had a nefarious reputation, and the reality is that the majority of parents are just there to watch their children play, but there are a few whose disruptive and cancerous behaviour is not only damaging to the sport, and the children who love it, it is also inadvertently driving up costs. 

Enrolment, equipment, fuel, hotels, ice time and training are some of the more obvious costs and, where in the past parents have quietly saved valuable income is thanks to the countless volunteers whose time and effort are very much a part of the inner workings of a successful Association. This is changing and it is due in part to the endless abuse and hardship created by those whose sense of entitlement and delusions of grandeur are pushing the well-meaning further away from the game.   

Some Minor Hockey Associations are turning towards paid non-parent coaches as a way to deter those who would have subjective ulterior motives in regards to their own player/child and to deter complaints in this regard. The cost of paid coaching is again passed on to the consumer and in the end it is the child who does not play that suffers.  

Game officials like time keepers and referees, despite public opinion, are very much crucial to games being played. In recent time more and more games have been postponed and/or cancelled because one or both of these have failed to show up. Yes they are paid however neither of these are in minor hockey because it is a long term career choice. They are there because like everyone else, they love the game and enjoy being a part of it in any way they can. 

Minor Hockey does not have slow motion, or instant replay, so what the official sees is final. Yes people make mistakes and sometimes at very inopportune times yet without them no games are going to be played at all. So the constant berating and abuse you shower down on them only too drives them further from the game, making it harder and more expensive to find those willing to officiate. Pass this cost on to parents as well. 

Furthermore, when it comes to the actual season, more and more is the expectation win at all costs, the regular season is not the time or place to develop players. Now if you would like your child to succeed during regular play, you need to put them on the ice twelve months of the year. Spring Leagues, Dryland and Private Training is where today’s players are forced to brush up on their skill because there is no excuse for needing to be taught during winter. This is a very direct and upfront cost to parents. 

Practice times are dissected, degraded and diminished by those who view this ice time with as much fervour as game seven of a Professional Championship game. They make no attempt to hide the fact that everything their child has just been doing will be promptly corrected in the car on the way home. Yet they do little to volunteer their own time for anything more than public grandstanding and mob assembling. When a conversation regarding perceived ‘productive’ use of practice time finally takes place with a member of the Team’s staff, it is usually loud, heated and counterproductive.  Another disheartened Volunteer decides to call it a career. 

Being loud, arrogant, and verbally forceful does not always imply ‘all knowing’, yet if this is how you wish to conduct yourself publicly (in front of children) then perhaps you would do better behind the bench or as another member of the Staff. I very much welcome the constructive criticism and your willingness to participate, however I would be rather sceptical of how someone who cannot appropriately converse with adults with an ounce of civility would find a way to relate to and educate today’s youth. 

Now there have been a number of cases of spectator violence at minor league games, and that number keeps rising. When the situation becomes out of hand and the Police must be involved guess where that cost goes, to the taxpayer and ultimately the consumer. Again we are letting the obnoxious fan dictate the inflating costs of youth sports and the continued poor press that leads to less and less involvement of children in physically activities. 

There is no doubt that I love Hockey, and I am absolutely in love with the way my daughter approaches and plays the sport that she holds so dear, the very thought of having to talk to her about either her or me, or both leaving it due to the Vocal Minority is heartbreaking. Being involved has been so rewarding but requires almost full time hours and commitment, my concern now is having it break me mentally before it does financially. 

It only takes a second to ask someone politely (and please only do so with the purest of intention and simplest of vocabulary) to respect the time and effort it takes a community to raise a child. 

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