Friday, April 08, 2011

When the price point proves to be too much

Future NHL GM's may want to make note, the pool of available players some ten to fifteen years down the line may be significantly smaller if current trends in minor hockey continue.

Beyond the much documented decline in amateur hockey registrations and concerns over the state of the game these days, a more immediate problem is starting to rise up for families that want to make minor hockey part of routine for their children.

Thursday provided the results of a survey conducted by Harris/Decima on behalf of Scotiabank (which frequently shows its interest in matters of hockey) showing that one third of Canadian hockey parents are having their struggles keeping their children enrolled in the sport.

The number crunching shows that 49 per cent of those parents surveyed expect to spend more than $1,000 dollars on children's hockey this year. The majority of which comes from enrolment fees, with equipment costs, travel and accommodation taking up the rest.

Such is the nature of funding for the sport these days that 90 per cent of those surveyed said that they had already begun to put some money aside for the next hockey season.

Clearly a sport that takes up over two thirds of its costs in enrolment fees and bureaucratic expenses might want to rethink how it's financial plan is impacting on those that play the game, a game that once upon a time was played for fun.

If parents continue to find the costs of the sport rising, it would seem only a matter of time before the available pool of talent is reduced even further, providing for the kind of spiral where eventually the future stars of the professional leagues will come from other places where perhaps the game is still an affordable recreation rather than a quasi business.

To it's credit, Scotiabank is trying to help out minor hockey parents and organizations , but still the price point of the sport seems to be reaching beyond the grasp of a good number of parents.

It poses some food for thought for hockey's future.

One where only the financially secure may be able to afford the sport in its current organized nature.

One where a large number of kids that may have the talent and the heart, could find themselves forced off the ice and seeking other less expensive sporting options.

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