The four biggest provinces in Canada recently announced a net loss of over 500 registrations at the minor hockey level. In the same time frame, the Canadian population has grown by over 2 million. So what’s happening?
When it comes to hockey and the financial outlay of cash in AAA level hockey, the costs are very substantial. Sometimes financial difficulties are a primary reason as to why hockey as a sport is not growing in Canada and the United States. Costs associated with hockey includes: distance of facilities, training, competitions and tournaments, equipment, ice rentals, a general fee of participation, and other countless fees needed to sustain the sport.
The family income structure plays a pivotal role of whether or not the child will play hockey. One has to look at AAA parents that solicit the parental attitudes and behavior mimicking the child’s negative outlook, not only in the game, but their behavior patterns as they mature.
In fact, AAA hockey is often correlated from the father’s perspective in exerting pressure to succeed based on family status. On the other hand, lower income families will impose less pressure on a child and rely on the community itself to perpetuate the beauty of hockey. Communal participation in hockey produces less fatigue and allows the physicality and mental stage to increase gradually enabling one to compete at the level they feel comfortable with.
I believe that hockey is a life lesson: it needs to benefit the gradual skill development that leads to confidence, leadership, and ambition. These eventually translate to friendship that coalesces in the interconnectivity of future productivity through teamwork and trust.
I was fortunate to know Lucas Miller, the owner of Lucas Miller’s Hi-Performance Hockey School based in Toronto. He brought me to a coaches meeting for a particular AAA hockey club in the Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL). The so-called president of the team stood on the podium and pontificated that everyone in the world wants to belong to his team. He was fixated on the notion that every hockey parent in the world would pay not only the $10,000 registration fee, but an added bonus of $30,000 so that their kid could play on that team. Lucas simply turned to me, “Why do you think these people have a house in the Kingsway?”
After the eulogy I told Lucas that I couldn’t deal with this particular organization nor was I willing to provide any service that merits their own stupidity; he agreed with me.
It is the constant and congruent status that these AAA parents gravitate towards. It’s not the fact that their sons and daughters want to play hockey on a competitive level, it’s the world that they live by that virtually becomes the pit that all parents subscribing to the AAA mantra believe in. They herd together, never soliciting any other income group into their sphere of alliance.
Let me tell you something about their sphere of alliance that they live and die by. I’ve built a hockey store in Maple, Ontario in an arena. My own ethnicity, which is Italian, have now subscribed to the Canadian hockey dream. It’s the second generation of Italians that are now mimicking that wealth only comes with hockey rather than education.
Folks, great wealth is based on education and knowledge. Used wisely, hockey can complement that in a way no other sport has the ability to. Once the pressure is established, kids will lose interest leaving no benefit or gain from the beautiful game of hockey itself.