The Budget for Youth Hockey (Part III)

Pelvic protectors: $100 for four

Pants: $240 for five pairs

Shells: $40 for four

Undersocks: $100 for 10 pairs

Practice socks: $50 for five pairs

Bags: $200 for four bags

Oh, and the tape. How could we forget tape? Black (or white) for the stick blade, white (or black) for the stick handle, clear to wrap around the socks and keep the shin guards intact.

Black tape: $300

White tape: $50

Clear tape: $200

But each time you see your child dexterously and meticulously wrap the tape around his or her stick, you realize you’re getting your money’s worth. It’s close to passion.

Stick wax: $50

Then there are the big-ticket items: travel costs, including tournament fees, team dues, which include uniforms, coaching and the expensive ice time, summer camp tuitions, and a lesson or clinic fees. These cost changes from year to year, based on the number of tournaments and camps. Below is a rough, cringe-worthy estimate from the past few years.

Travel (transportation, lodging, meals): $10,500

Along with all the hockey gear, you have to factor in the travel expenses.

Club dues: $20,000

Camps, clinics, and lessons: $10,000

Overlooked here are the price attached to your vehicle, as well as things such as gas, repairs, and mileage. You might have to go through a few vehicles since you not only have to deal with mileage but also the wear and tear of those hockey bags. True fact: I racked up over 165, 000 miles in less than four years. My suggestion is to get a vehicle that can handle the hockey gear and traveling before your child starts his or her hockey career.

I’m leaving the car costs out since it’s quality bonding time with your young hockey player. You can talk about hockey, homework, music, the moon, friends, and the game, regardless if it was a victory or not.


The Budget for Youth Hockey (Part II)

Skates: $2,700

Hockey skates can be a little pricey but seeing their enjoyment on the ice is priceless.

Truthfully, most parents try not to think of the expense. When you look at the skates, and it’s not dollar signs you see, but the first time your youth hockey player tied them. As she waited to get on the ice before her 1st game, the best player on the team tapped your child on the helmet to get their attention, then smiled to let them know they were one of them.

Helmets: $1,250

Helmets? Players go through them not as often as other equipment. Sometimes they will keep wearing a helmet because it reminds them of a special occurrence.

Gloves: $400.

The nastiest aspect of hockey is the smelly gloves, which is why there is a cottage industry and most likely a branch of science dedicated to getting rid of the odor. You might not mind driving hours to games and practices through weather that would make “Ice Road Truckers” think twice.

The drive back while attempting not to breathe through your nose, though, is difficult. My child, the hockey player, informed me that she loved it. It reminded her of all the hard work and sweat she puts into stick-handling.

Sticks: $1,750.

Once a player moves from wood to hi-tech composite, sticks can be a big hockey expense, particularly if you get the latest $250 Zetterberg or Crosby from a retailer. There are places that sell customized sticks for around $150. The broken hockey sticks can be used to make sure any raccoons don’t pry the lids off your garbage cans.

Hockey parents frequently trade tips on where to purchase wholesale to try and reduce costs. But the truth be told, it still adds up:

Neck guards: $70 each

Shoulder pads: $270 each

Undershirts: $150 each

Practice jerseys: $100 each


The Budget for Youth Hockey (Part I)

They come in all shapes and sizes, from Washington state to Maine, Florida to Alaska. Yet, every youngster at the USA Hockey’s 2013 National Championships had one thing in common. Slung over every player’s shoulder was a big, bulky, and about to burst at the seams duffel bag.

That’s all in being a hockey player. You have to be carrying a 40-pound behemoth into and out of rinks while having two sticks in one hand and a drink in the other. The goalies have it worse. They have bigger pads and gloves, paddles, yet, nobody ever complains. Hockey teaches you to carry your load early on.

What is All That?

For the benefit of the uninitiated, every bag holds a helmet, skates, shin guards,

A child’s hockey experience can cost you a good chunk of change so make sure you’re saving up.

shoulder pads, a neck guard, elbow pads, protective pants or girdles, shells, home and away jerseys, home and away socks, (smelly) gloves, various undergarments, hosiery and plenty of tape, as well as sundry items including a blade sharpener, a rag, first aid kit, scissors, wax, talcum powder, and an iPod. Tack on another $170 for Apple AirPods.

Most youth hockey players have at least five pairs of Bauer skates priced at around $200 per pair. Just a bit of info: adult topline pairs go for over $500. If your child plays for both school and travel teams, she/he goes through two sets of blades a year, so additional steel can cost around $300.

Sharpening: $5 once a week for 25 weeks, times 10 years, costs $1,250. Include $50 for broken laces and lost blade covers. Then there’s $45 for any shoe repairs. This is a good time for you to learn by word of mouth for anyone who does shoe repairs. This stops your child from having to break in a new pair.


Ice Hockey Meets Special Needs

Since it started years ago, the Special Needs Ice Hockey program in California has offered a chance for kids and adults with developmental disabilities to learn and play hockey. Just a few months ago, it was the only program in California to provide children with autism, intellectual disabilities and other developmental disabilities an opportunity to gear up, get on the ice and play hockey.

They are still the only special needs ice hockey team in the state and named the Condors. In just the past two years, the team has represented California at out-of-state special needs Ice Hockey tournaments in Canada, Utah, Colorado, and Toronto.

Why hockey for kids and young adults with special needs?

The Speical Needs Hockey Program in California is making a way for children and young adults with special needs to play hockey.

Besides the excitement and the fun, ice hockey enhances motor and sensorimotor skills, focus and coordination. It teaches teamwork and cooperation and encourages communication and camaraderie. Kids and adults who have never put on a pair of skates are thrilled to discover that they can learn to skate and they do learn very quickly, thanks to excellent coaching and a high coach to player ratio. The kids wear protective gear and padding that gives them confidence and combats the fear of falling, so the desire to get the puck into the net seems to take over.

While the eyes and hands are focused on that puck, the feet just somehow follow along to help get that goal. The players feel pride as they develop their skills and get the puck into the net. They wait all week for the opportunity to play on Sunday. Parents are astonished at the progress their kids make and pleased at what the program does for their kids’ self-esteem.

The Special Needs Ice Hockey program is a not-for-profit organization operated by parents. It is safe: there is no high sticking, body checking, or fighting. Just the fun and skill-building that comes with learning to play hockey and skate. Participants get skates and hockey gear free of charge while the player is in the program.

The LA Kings recently gave the Condors two incredible coaches. Also, there are volunteer coaches who are skilled at working with children with special needs.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Field Hockey (Part II)

When Is the Prime Time for Playing Field Hockey?

In an article about girl’s field hockey in the state of Pennsylvania, it stated that a big problem with drumming up interest in the sport is that the girls begin playing later in life at age 12 or 13.

In other sports, they start at a much earlier age. For example, girls kick a soccer ball around in the back yard at age 3 or 4.

Because of this, they have an interest in other sports and want to focus on those as they get older. If they begin picking up field hockey at a younger age, then they are more likely to want to continue playing as they get older.

Even before a child is old enough to play field hockey, they can start learning. Even a baby can gain an appreciation for the sport by watching a game with their parents.

While it is more common to begin playing field hockey in the pre-teen to early teen ages, it could be valuable to begin learning much earlier than that. The Field Hockey Forum has an article on how old players were when they started. While there were several older responses, you will see many folks in the 4-7 age range.

In fact, Sports NGIN has a training manual for coaches with practice and drill methods. In it, there are complete sections of drills that are geared towards beginning, young level players.

The point here is that while there is no formal peak age for starting field hockey, the earlier you begin, the more likely you are to stick with it and the better you are going to be, which also means your chances of getting on a college team (and a scholarship) are also increased.

To put it another way, begin as early as you can.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Field Hockey (Part I)

When should you start playing field hockey? That’s a simple question. You should start playing whenever you want to start learning. If you are young when that happens, good. If you are just about to graduate, then that is good too. Even if you want to learn as an adult, you can. It is never too late to begin playing.

Though, this is not a post on it never being too late to start playing. It is about how it is never too early to begin learning. So, while this is going to be about young players, do not be disheartened. You can just as easily play, and be good at it, if you begin learning later.

Field Hockey Players Begin Early

Kids playing hard

You learned that if you want to play in college, you should start playing early. By the time you are in high school, you are already at the place where you want to be making contact with recruiters. But in order to be ready to begin connecting with colleges, you have to be good enough to stand out to the recruiters, meaning you have to begin playing way before that.

By the time the child is old enough to begin taking lessons, she or he will with any luck have a love of the game and some basic understanding of the necessary skills and rule.

Even before your child is old enough to be playing on teams, they can start taking lessons. If you (the parent/guardian) know enough about the sport, there can be simple lessons in the back yard with a few drills.

Afterwards, the child can go to a camp or get a trainer in order to deepen the lessons and really focus on developing and learning as a player. Field hockey camps let players as early as 8 years-old to join and play.

Don’t forget, the main thing is to make it fun. If it’s not fun, then your child won’t want to play.

To Every Annoying Hockey Player Parent

You know who you are. You’re the one who knows everything, yet adds nothing.  You are the one who finds something wrong with everything, the coach, the players, the team as a whole. I am embarrassed that you wear the same logo as my son because your actions aren’t what I want being part of a sports team to teach him.

You probably don’t know this, but I stand off to the side for a reason. When the season is in full swing, the coach, who happens to be my husband, has to make decisions to give the team an advantage. It makes you mad when your son isn’t the center of attention. You need to ask yourself: are you here so your son can be a team member or you want personal glory?

I just want to know because we (parents and players) are here to play on a sports team. If personal glory is your goal, you might want to play tennis or golf?

The coach is the individual who makes decisions about this group, creating the best combinations of players. He isn’t here to put you and your son on display. Yes, your son is talented, but so is ever other child on the team, in one way or another.

My husband, the coach, spends his night coming up with exercises to help the weakest link on the team build up the self-confidence needed to contribute to the team. If I were a guessing woman, I would say that it’s the same child you bad mouth on your way home in your car.

And oh by the way, that child can hear what you are yelling out about him from the stands. With every negative, condescending thing you say, the coach (my husband) has to work a little harder to build back up the child’s confidence so he can play the game.

It’s sad that I need to remind you that these are children we are talking about.

Raising A Girl Hockey Player

My son was playing hockey at 5. Sometimes, he has a girl on his team.  In one instance during a game, he got hit by a girl hockey player so hard he grew a whole new perspective on what playing like a girl signifies. Now with a daughter who plays hockey, I feel like I am floating in muddy waters.

My daughter, who is 4, eagerly straps on her skates so she can begin playing. I don’t worry one bit.

However, every since she began hockey, it is clear that having a daughter who plays hockey is quite different than a son. But over the past two years, I’ve noticed that having a girl who plays hockey is a lot different than having a boy.

What is a Jill? I believed a jock strap had a specific job.  I didn’t know a girl needed a Jill.  And, that’s just for starters. Trying to get a pony tail in a helmet accurately is a work of art. The more my daughter’s love for hockey grows, the more I’m confused. I needed some guidance and got some from a fellow daughter hockey playing mother. I had a talk with her daughter and this is what she told me:

The biggest thing about playing hockey that made me who I am today is that hockey made me be physically and mentally tough. The difference between girls’ and guys’ hockey is when you watch a guys’ game, it seems like you’re watching boxing. Girl hockey games are more skillful. It’s about commanding the puck instead of fighting. But don’t be fooled. Just because girls aren’t supposed to check, doesn’t mean they won’t. They just make it difficult caught. One of the best things about hockey is to let your anger go while getting a good workout in. Girls can be just as physical as boys.