Demographics / Social evolution & Hockey Associations

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Zoochu
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Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:36 pm

Demographics / Social evolution & Hockey Associations

Post by Zoochu » Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:07 am

It's been said several times how change in demographics and wealth tend to affect hockey associations' numbers, I wonder where the Twin cities suburbs are headed in terms of demographics and wealth, does anybody know how 2nd ring suburbs are changing ?

-Blaine

-Maple Grove

-Plymouth ( not wayzata , wayzata is obviously going to stay wealthy due to the location)

-Minnetonka ( not excelsior or woodland, they're bound to be wealthy because of their location )

-Hopkins

-Chanhassen / Chaska

-Eden Prairie

-Apple Valley

-Lakeville

-Woodbury

-Stillwater

-Cottage Grove


Until now , I thought 2nd ring suburbs wouldn't change drastically, but look at Burnsville, it raises questions :

-Will these changes in demographics happen in other 2nd ring suburbs ?

-Will Apple Valley and Lakeville be next ?

-What about Plymouth or Maple Grove, I know right now they're pretty wealthy and quite desireable but seeing what happened to Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center, does that mean they will follow ?

Think of it, Brooklyn Park used to be a nice location by Edinburgh golf course, and now it's viewed as not so desireable anymore.

-Will Plymouth and Maple Grove slowly turn into a Brooklyn Park / Robbinsdale type of area ? or Will they stay prime and very expensive locations?

-Will Eden Prairie / Chanhassen follow the trend of Burnsville ? Seeing how Eden prairie has built more apartments and affordable housing recently and how a solid & strong somali community is settling there ?

- What about Minnetonka and Hopkins ? Sure the areas by the lake will always remain very expensive near excelsior, woodland etc but what about the rest of Minnetonka ? Is it going to follow these trends ?

-What about Saint Paul suburbs like Woodbury / Stillwater / Lake Elmo / Cottage Grove ?

-What about exceptions to the rule like Edina ( 1st ring suburb that stayed very affluent and desireable ) ? do you see any of these exceptions coming up in the future ? If so due to what reasons ?

Those are all questions that popped in my mind, obviously I'm just analyzing the demographics and social evolution of the Twin Cities and wonder how those will affect hockey associations.

What will be the prime areas of the future ? how will demographics change ?

What are some of your opinions on the subject, does anybody know the areas well enough to answer those questions or at least offer an opinion ?

I guess my questions are more tied to hockey so I wonder about suburbs that are currently hockey strongholds ( in terms of numbers ) : How will the surburbs I mentioned above evolve socially and demographically ?

Obviously it seems like wherever it is, we have to find a way to make kids from all demographics and social environment discover the game, and play it at an affordable cost, otherwise the sport will not be sustainable long term.

Section 8 guy
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Post by Section 8 guy » Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:46 pm

What about the changes in demographics impacting The Dynasty........ Bloomington?

karl(east)
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Post by karl(east) » Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:53 pm

You asked in the right place. :) In case you haven't seen this before: http://apatientcycle.com/2015/03/18/a-h ... ol-hockey/

If I had to guess which suburbs will diversify and see lower income populations move in over the next 10ish years, I'd look to places like Apple Valley, Champlin, Coon Rapids, Oakdale, maybe Blaine a little later on...second ring suburbs that have been developed for some time now but don't have anything particularly unique about them (history beyond suburbia, lakes, extreme wealth) that would keep property values high. The northern corridor in particular has never really had the wealth of the southwest. Chaska is already diversifying noticeably. Wouldn't be shocked to see spillover into Eagan, either, though it has its share of wealthy pockets.

Hopkins has already changed a lot, making it unique among southwest suburbs, but the high school draws from far beyond the city limits (the building itself is actually in Minnetonka) and to my knowledge, they're holding up. Hard to say.

Eden Prairie intrigues me. It's diversifying, yes, but it also has some pockets of extreme wealth that aren't going to change anytime soon. With just one high school, it's not going to get split like Bloomington. Very curious to see which direction it goes.

Chanhassen, Lake Elmo, Woodbury, Lakeville, Plymouth, Maple Grove...all probably new enough and far enough out that there won't be any major changes in the next 10-15 years. In another generation, though, that could change.

I don't foresee Minnetonka flipping. That city has been as aggressive as any in maintaining its expensive housing stock. Stillwater is far enough out, and unique enough, that it will likely stay pretty wealthy. I won't claim great knowledge of some of the other east side suburbs.

Of course, this could all get blown up based on other factors. Last summer's SCOTUS ruling on affordable housing has people moving to sue the Metropolitan Council for failing to scatter affordable housing about the metro area, and instead concentrating it in a select few suburbs and neighborhoods in Mpls/St. Paul. There are also suits related to school boundaries and practices pending, though I think those are more of a long shot.

I could ramble on, but I'll stop for now...

Zoochu
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:36 pm

Post by Zoochu » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:05 am

Wow thanks for the info, I have to say I am impressed at the fact that metropolitan council can get sued over not scattering affordable housing...

I find that very unpleasant to say it politely !

Anyways not gonna get started on the political discussions, it was more about hockey and how people on this board see the future of Minnesota High School hockey evolving, what can we do as a community to be more inviting or promote the sport, make it easier to access and more affordable ? and so on.

I'll get started on the subject and offer my views :

I think for the sport to be sustainable it needs to be accessible to the mass , which means to most people whatever demographics they represent or social status.

For that to happen , we need :

1-Access to affordable equipment ( used ? )
2-Lots of affordable Ice time in lots of different locations
3-An open community
4- Introduce more people to the sport

How do we do that ?

1- Allocate more funds to help parents buy youth equipment / have used equipment sales events

2- Build more neighborhood rinks in the winter so that most people have a rink close to them , have them open until late with a warmhouse.

Offer more affordable public skating options in indoor rinks : for example at Braemar in Edina , they are doing a great job at that : for $120 you can get an unlimited public skating pass for 2 persons and each additional kid can be added for $5 , that means for a family of 4 persons, you can get an unlimited public skating pass for $130 a year !

I haven't seen any of that in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Burnsville, Eagan or any other suburb for the matter ! Most of these places do not offer a year pass and on top of that even when they do it is $300 or $400 a year.

This is the key, if we don't make ice available and affordable to alot of people then we don't get alot of people playing the game !

3- This is perhaps the easiest and hardest point , it is easy in the sense that it takes no resources, just willingness from people to be nice and open to anybody wanting to try the sport even if they come from a different background !

4- Have way more events funded so that everybody gets to try a hockey pick up game in a relaxed environment, equipment provided !
Last edited by Zoochu on Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

jg2112
Posts: 704
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:36 am

Post by jg2112 » Fri Feb 05, 2016 5:32 am

Zoochu wrote:Wow thanks for the info, I have to say I am impressed at the fact that metropolitan council can get sued over not scattering affordable housing...

I find that very unpleasant to say it politely !

Anyways not gonna get started on the political discussions, it was more about hockey and how people on this board see the future of Minnesota High School hockey evolving, what can we do as a community to be more inviting or promote the sport, make it easier to access and more affordable ? and so on.

I'll get started on the subject and offer my views :

I think for the sport to be sustainable it needs to be accessible to the mass , which means to most people whatever demographics they represent or social status.

For that to happen , we need :

1-Access to affordable equipment ( used ? )
2-Lots of affordable Ice time in lots of different locations
3-An open community

How do we do that ?

1- Allocate more funds to help parents buy youth equipment / have used equipment sales events

2- Build more neighborhood rinks in the winter so that most people have a rink close to them , have them open until late with a warmhouse.

Offer more affordable public skating options in indoor rinks : for example at Braemar in Edina , they are doing a great job at that : for $120 you can get an unlimited public skating pass for 2 persons and each additional kid can be added for $5 , that means for a family of 4 persons, you can get an unlimited public skating pass for $130 a year !

I haven't seen any of that in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Burnsville, Eagan or any other suburb for the matter ! Most of these places do not offer a year pass and on top of that even when they do it is $300 or $400 a year.

This is the key, if we don't make ice available and affordable to alot of people then we don't get alot of people playing the game !

3- This is perhaps the easiest and hardest point , it is easy in the sense that it takes no resources, just willingness from people to be nice and open to anybody wanting to try the sport even if they come from a different background !
Looking at this comment:

2- Build more neighborhood rinks in the winter so that most people have a rink close to them , have them open until late with a warmhouse.

My response:

I don't think the Twin Cities has an issue when it comes to finding outdoor rinks. Anywhere you are in the Twin Cities, you are within 2-3 miles of one. It's hard not to find one.

It's up to the skater to find one.

When it comes to skating and hockey, you have to accept the limited nature of the outdoor skating season if you're not willing to jump in and play association / club hockey. The outdoor season is about 2 months, but it's free and probably more fun than the organized activities.

Play roller hockey and you can approximate the game all year long.

Zoochu
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:36 pm

Post by Zoochu » Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:34 am

jg2112 wrote:
Zoochu wrote:Wow thanks for the info, I have to say I am impressed at the fact that metropolitan council can get sued over not scattering affordable housing...

I find that very unpleasant to say it politely !

Anyways not gonna get started on the political discussions, it was more about hockey and how people on this board see the future of Minnesota High School hockey evolving, what can we do as a community to be more inviting or promote the sport, make it easier to access and more affordable ? and so on.

I'll get started on the subject and offer my views :

I think for the sport to be sustainable it needs to be accessible to the mass , which means to most people whatever demographics they represent or social status.

For that to happen , we need :

1-Access to affordable equipment ( used ? )
2-Lots of affordable Ice time in lots of different locations
3-An open community

How do we do that ?

1- Allocate more funds to help parents buy youth equipment / have used equipment sales events

2- Build more neighborhood rinks in the winter so that most people have a rink close to them , have them open until late with a warmhouse.

Offer more affordable public skating options in indoor rinks : for example at Braemar in Edina , they are doing a great job at that : for $120 you can get an unlimited public skating pass for 2 persons and each additional kid can be added for $5 , that means for a family of 4 persons, you can get an unlimited public skating pass for $130 a year !

I haven't seen any of that in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Burnsville, Eagan or any other suburb for the matter ! Most of these places do not offer a year pass and on top of that even when they do it is $300 or $400 a year.

This is the key, if we don't make ice available and affordable to alot of people then we don't get alot of people playing the game !

3- This is perhaps the easiest and hardest point , it is easy in the sense that it takes no resources, just willingness from people to be nice and open to anybody wanting to try the sport even if they come from a different background !
Looking at this comment:

2- Build more neighborhood rinks in the winter so that most people have a rink close to them , have them open until late with a warmhouse.

My response:

I don't think the Twin Cities has an issue when it comes to finding outdoor rinks. Anywhere you are in the Twin Cities, you are within 2-3 miles of one. It's hard not to find one.

It's up to the skater to find one.

When it comes to skating and hockey, you have to accept the limited nature of the outdoor skating season if you're not willing to jump in and play association / club hockey. The outdoor season is about 2 months, but it's free and probably more fun than the organized activities.

Play roller hockey and you can approximate the game all year long.
While I think you're right and I might be a bit too ambitious with adding outdoor rinks, I was talking about promoting Ice Hockey as a sport and making sure youth hockey associations numbers do not take a huge hit with the change of demographics , not promoting roller hockey, nothing against roller hockey but it's just not the same !

But yeah we already have alot of outdoor rinks , some suburbs are doing alot better than others at having a number of them like Edina, some other suburbs could improve.

The biggest problem of all is clearly the cost of playing the game due to the equipment and the limited access to indoor ice because of the cost. Not enough affordable season public skating passes !

jg2112
Posts: 704
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:36 am

Post by jg2112 » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:02 am

Zoochu wrote:
jg2112 wrote:
Zoochu wrote:Wow thanks for the info, I have to say I am impressed at the fact that metropolitan council can get sued over not scattering affordable housing...

I find that very unpleasant to say it politely !

Anyways not gonna get started on the political discussions, it was more about hockey and how people on this board see the future of Minnesota High School hockey evolving, what can we do as a community to be more inviting or promote the sport, make it easier to access and more affordable ? and so on.

I'll get started on the subject and offer my views :

I think for the sport to be sustainable it needs to be accessible to the mass , which means to most people whatever demographics they represent or social status.

For that to happen , we need :

1-Access to affordable equipment ( used ? )
2-Lots of affordable Ice time in lots of different locations
3-An open community

How do we do that ?

1- Allocate more funds to help parents buy youth equipment / have used equipment sales events

2- Build more neighborhood rinks in the winter so that most people have a rink close to them , have them open until late with a warmhouse.

Offer more affordable public skating options in indoor rinks : for example at Braemar in Edina , they are doing a great job at that : for $120 you can get an unlimited public skating pass for 2 persons and each additional kid can be added for $5 , that means for a family of 4 persons, you can get an unlimited public skating pass for $130 a year !

I haven't seen any of that in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Burnsville, Eagan or any other suburb for the matter ! Most of these places do not offer a year pass and on top of that even when they do it is $300 or $400 a year.

This is the key, if we don't make ice available and affordable to alot of people then we don't get alot of people playing the game !

3- This is perhaps the easiest and hardest point , it is easy in the sense that it takes no resources, just willingness from people to be nice and open to anybody wanting to try the sport even if they come from a different background !
Looking at this comment:

2- Build more neighborhood rinks in the winter so that most people have a rink close to them , have them open until late with a warmhouse.

My response:

I don't think the Twin Cities has an issue when it comes to finding outdoor rinks. Anywhere you are in the Twin Cities, you are within 2-3 miles of one. It's hard not to find one.

It's up to the skater to find one.

When it comes to skating and hockey, you have to accept the limited nature of the outdoor skating season if you're not willing to jump in and play association / club hockey. The outdoor season is about 2 months, but it's free and probably more fun than the organized activities.

Play roller hockey and you can approximate the game all year long.
While I think you're right and I might be a bit too ambitious with adding outdoor rinks, I was talking about promoting Ice Hockey as a sport and making sure youth hockey associations numbers do not take a huge hit with the change of demographics , not promoting roller hockey, nothing against roller hockey but it's just not the same !

But yeah we already have alot of outdoor rinks , some suburbs are doing alot better than others at having a number of them like Edina, some other suburbs could improve.

The biggest problem of all is clearly the cost of playing the game due to the equipment and the limited access to indoor ice because of the cost. Not enough affordable season public skating passes !
If you look hard enough you can find affordable season options. In many associations Mite hockey is cheap (Roseville, Blaine) or free (OMG).

Anyone can skate for $5.50 at the Roseville Oval, and there are at least 10 sessions per week. $5.50 for two hours of ice is "affordable." Get the 10-punch pass and you get one of those sessions for free.

And then high school hockey costs $300 or so for the season.

Travel sports are expensive. I'm not sure what you're looking for here. If you want to skate you'll find a way to do it at a cost effective price without jumping on the travel circus. If 150 hours of travel hockey at $2,000 is too expensive for you, you can skate 150 hours at the Oval for about $350. If that is too expensive for you (remember, this is from November - March), I'm at a loss.

Or, like I said, find outdoor ponds / rinks for free. I'm not sure what suburbs are "doing a poor job" of having outdoor rinks. If you have a car you're within 5 miles of an outdoor rink anywhere in the Twin Cities.

And those are ..... free.

Zoochu
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:36 pm

Post by Zoochu » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:24 am

jg2112 wrote:
Zoochu wrote:
jg2112 wrote:
Zoochu wrote:Wow thanks for the info, I have to say I am impressed at the fact that metropolitan council can get sued over not scattering affordable housing...

I find that very unpleasant to say it politely !

Anyways not gonna get started on the political discussions, it was more about hockey and how people on this board see the future of Minnesota High School hockey evolving, what can we do as a community to be more inviting or promote the sport, make it easier to access and more affordable ? and so on.

I'll get started on the subject and offer my views :

I think for the sport to be sustainable it needs to be accessible to the mass , which means to most people whatever demographics they represent or social status.

For that to happen , we need :

1-Access to affordable equipment ( used ? )
2-Lots of affordable Ice time in lots of different locations
3-An open community

How do we do that ?

1- Allocate more funds to help parents buy youth equipment / have used equipment sales events

2- Build more neighborhood rinks in the winter so that most people have a rink close to them , have them open until late with a warmhouse.

Offer more affordable public skating options in indoor rinks : for example at Braemar in Edina , they are doing a great job at that : for $120 you can get an unlimited public skating pass for 2 persons and each additional kid can be added for $5 , that means for a family of 4 persons, you can get an unlimited public skating pass for $130 a year !

I haven't seen any of that in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Burnsville, Eagan or any other suburb for the matter ! Most of these places do not offer a year pass and on top of that even when they do it is $300 or $400 a year.

This is the key, if we don't make ice available and affordable to alot of people then we don't get alot of people playing the game !

3- This is perhaps the easiest and hardest point , it is easy in the sense that it takes no resources, just willingness from people to be nice and open to anybody wanting to try the sport even if they come from a different background !
Looking at this comment:

2- Build more neighborhood rinks in the winter so that most people have a rink close to them , have them open until late with a warmhouse.

My response:

I don't think the Twin Cities has an issue when it comes to finding outdoor rinks. Anywhere you are in the Twin Cities, you are within 2-3 miles of one. It's hard not to find one.

It's up to the skater to find one.

When it comes to skating and hockey, you have to accept the limited nature of the outdoor skating season if you're not willing to jump in and play association / club hockey. The outdoor season is about 2 months, but it's free and probably more fun than the organized activities.

Play roller hockey and you can approximate the game all year long.
While I think you're right and I might be a bit too ambitious with adding outdoor rinks, I was talking about promoting Ice Hockey as a sport and making sure youth hockey associations numbers do not take a huge hit with the change of demographics , not promoting roller hockey, nothing against roller hockey but it's just not the same !

But yeah we already have alot of outdoor rinks , some suburbs are doing alot better than others at having a number of them like Edina, some other suburbs could improve.

The biggest problem of all is clearly the cost of playing the game due to the equipment and the limited access to indoor ice because of the cost. Not enough affordable season public skating passes !
If you look hard enough you can find affordable season options. In many associations Mite hockey is cheap (Roseville, Blaine) or free (OMG).

Anyone can skate for $5.50 at the Roseville Oval, and there are at least 10 sessions per week. $5.50 for two hours of ice is "affordable." Get the 10-punch pass and you get one of those sessions for free.

And then high school hockey costs $300 or so for the season.

Travel sports are expensive. I'm not sure what you're looking for here. If you want to skate you'll find a way to do it at a cost effective price without jumping on the travel circus. If 150 hours of travel hockey at $2,000 is too expensive for you, you can skate 150 hours at the Oval for about $350. If that is too expensive for you (remember, this is from November - March), I'm at a loss.

Or, like I said, find outdoor ponds / rinks for free. I'm not sure what suburbs are "doing a poor job" of having outdoor rinks. If you have a car you're within 5 miles of an outdoor rink anywhere in the Twin Cities.

And those are ..... free.
I think you totally misunderstood the subject. Do you read my posts or part of them ?

I am talking about what we can do from now on to promote the sport even further and avoid the fact that with changes of demographics in certain suburbs the sport is dying. How do we overcome the challenge that certain demographics just do not see hockey as worth playing ? how do we get them interested ? and so on.

It's not by saying : "well $300 is affordable and it's like this" that we do any progress in attracting more people to play this game.

At no point was I talking about myself. I am past the age of high school, I was raised in Canada, played major junior there a while back so I am now done with hockey as far as playing it, I do volunteer at an association here to coach but that's about it.
Last edited by Zoochu on Sat Feb 06, 2016 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

observer
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Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:45 pm

Post by observer » Sat Feb 06, 2016 3:58 am

Most suburbs rise and fall pretty fast. Prior Lake already has a drop in numbers after nothing but growth for several years.

5 Bantam teams
5 PeeWee teams
6 Squirt teams (will not yield 5 bantam teams in 3 years)

Maybe just a dip as they appear to have a lot of mites.

meridian90
Posts: 111
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:42 pm

Post by meridian90 » Wed Feb 17, 2016 1:40 pm

observer wrote:Most suburbs rise and fall pretty fast. Prior Lake already has a drop in numbers after nothing but growth for several years.

5 Bantam teams
5 PeeWee teams
6 Squirt teams (will not yield 5 bantam teams in 3 years)

Maybe just a dip as they appear to have a lot of mites.
Some communities have some advantages others simply don't have.

White Bear Lake for example isn't as wealthy as Minnetonka, but because of the lake influence, there is enough money to go around where there is more stability than an area like Roseville where they don't have something to keep those with wealth in the area, so urban decay proceeds faster.

BadgerBob82
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:49 am

Post by BadgerBob82 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 2:53 am

Areas that have fast growth of new housing, then have empty nester households in 15-20 years. When these suburbs hit their borders and don't have new construction, empty nester housing turns into older housing stock. Like pretty much every 1st ring suburb. Edina? They just tear down the older homes and build new.

Wet Paint
Posts: 190
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:23 pm

Post by Wet Paint » Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:00 am

Hockey is a game of the haves and the have nots and is getting even more that way. Right now there are 2 levels or types of kids who play hockey. The first type is the hockey for fun group who plays during the season, might hit a camp or something during the summer but if they do it is a small one and knows they are not going on to bigger and better hockey things. There are kids in outer MN who are in this boat due to lack of local ice outside of the season. Those kids are the ones who are dropping out of hockey. Yes, the saying that Charlie don't skate comes into play but also the saying that Mom and Dad don't want to or can't break the bank figures in too. These kids are being priced out of hockey and are moving onto other things. Back in the day you could play hockey during hockey season and have a hope of moving on to bigger and better things, now you can't. The costs of playing back in the day were not that bad. You could outfit a kid with hockey gear for close to what one of these kids is spending on a stick now. If you want to move on in the hockey world you have to become a Type 2 kid. Those kids and their parents spend money, lots and lots of money, to train. They play hockey all year around. They politic and pay their way onto "elite" leagues and etc all with the hope of being noticed and becoming the next great thing. These kids are being subsidized by the casual kids who are being hit for fees to build arenas and who are being used to spread costs across to try to keep them under control.

I think that is what is happening is that the first group of kids who are the casual hockey players are quitting hockey because they are either not allowed to become interested in it or because it is getting to be so expensive that their parents say no way. Sure you can offer free mite hockey and etc but I don't think that hockey is ever going to have the numbers that it once did. Too expensive to get equipment, too expensive to pay all of the fees and etc for a kid who only wants to go out and have fun, too much travel, the economy is turning down so a bunch of the "extra" money that parents used to have is not there any more. MN hockey numbers are dropping off with the departures of this group of kids. The next ones to go are going to be the higher end players who are locked into associations who are floundering (who wants to play for a perennial loser) or who are so politically crazy (I know there are none of those) or who's fees have gotten so crazy that people just can't or won't play anymore. As the amount of money to be made and spent increases in hockey the pressure to either bring AAA year around in MN increases. If that fails the AAU teams will move in to attract that disenfranchised kid from that association that I mentioned before. Those AAA or AAU teams are coming to MN within the next few years and if MN does not address the issues with association hockey then MN hockey is going to take a bad bad beating.

jg2112
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Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2013 8:36 am

Post by jg2112 » Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:50 am

Wet Paint wrote:Hockey is a game of the haves and the have nots and is getting even more that way. Right now there are 2 levels or types of kids who play hockey. The first type is the hockey for fun group who plays during the season, might hit a camp or something during the summer but if they do it is a small one and knows they are not going on to bigger and better hockey things. There are kids in outer MN who are in this boat due to lack of local ice outside of the season. Those kids are the ones who are dropping out of hockey. Yes, the saying that Charlie don't skate comes into play but also the saying that Mom and Dad don't want to or can't break the bank figures in too. These kids are being priced out of hockey and are moving onto other things. Back in the day you could play hockey during hockey season and have a hope of moving on to bigger and better things, now you can't. The costs of playing back in the day were not that bad. You could outfit a kid with hockey gear for close to what one of these kids is spending on a stick now. If you want to move on in the hockey world you have to become a Type 2 kid. Those kids and their parents spend money, lots and lots of money, to train. They play hockey all year around. They politic and pay their way onto "elite" leagues and etc all with the hope of being noticed and becoming the next great thing. These kids are being subsidized by the casual kids who are being hit for fees to build arenas and who are being used to spread costs across to try to keep them under control.

I think that is what is happening is that the first group of kids who are the casual hockey players are quitting hockey because they are either not allowed to become interested in it or because it is getting to be so expensive that their parents say no way. Sure you can offer free mite hockey and etc but I don't think that hockey is ever going to have the numbers that it once did. Too expensive to get equipment, too expensive to pay all of the fees and etc for a kid who only wants to go out and have fun, too much travel, the economy is turning down so a bunch of the "extra" money that parents used to have is not there any more. MN hockey numbers are dropping off with the departures of this group of kids. The next ones to go are going to be the higher end players who are locked into associations who are floundering (who wants to play for a perennial loser) or who are so politically crazy (I know there are none of those) or who's fees have gotten so crazy that people just can't or won't play anymore. As the amount of money to be made and spent increases in hockey the pressure to either bring AAA year around in MN increases. If that fails the AAU teams will move in to attract that disenfranchised kid from that association that I mentioned before. Those AAA or AAU teams are coming to MN within the next few years and if MN does not address the issues with association hockey then MN hockey is going to take a bad bad beating.
Many AAU teams are already in Minnesota, they play in the Choice League. That's 4-6 teams per grade of kids that would undoubtedly bolster the talent levels of their local associations.

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