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Author Topic: USA Hockey Membership Facts or Fallacy?  (Read 2431 times)

USA Hockey Membership Facts or Fallacy?
Topic: June 05, 2019, 08:41:53 AM

The numbers are in and they seem to speak for themselves. Are kids or parents looking at the prospect of physical play and checking then opting out of continuing to play youth hockey?


Offline G D T

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Reply #1:
 June 05, 2019, 09:07:10 AM
I don't think it is the physical play or "burnout" that is the reason these 13 year olds drop out of the sports they have been playing for years.  As the kids get older THEY begin to see the separation in talent and compare where they fit into the team or even talent pool in general. Or they don't want to face the rejection of not making the "top" team or the team at all in the older groups. 
OR they have always played multiple sports and this is around the age where it becomes much harder to do that and they just choose the "other" sport.

Just my thoughts on the subject.


Reply #2:
 June 05, 2019, 10:10:57 AM
It’s interesting that they didn’t show a breakdown between 13&14 year olds. I would be willing to bet that the big drop off happens in the 14yo category. There are multiple factors at play here. Physicality is on, and the most obvious. There are many players who don’t hit their growth spurt by 14 or may never be big kids. Then there are some that hit 6 foot at 13. That disparity and the increase in physics play are enough to scare many kids away, Ive seen it multiple times. Also, this is an age where testosterone kicks in and the re is some intimidation/bullying happening on and off the ice that may turn kids off as well. The locker room goes from a fun place to a sometimes intimidating place, especially if you’re the small kid or the one that doesn’t fit in. Also, this is an age where the game becomes more intense as does the travel and commitment and some kids and parents just don’t want to invest themselves or may choose another sport. It’s also the age where some kids really blossom as players and some get left behind and the ones left behind may quit because they can’t keep up. I don’t think you can blame just checking for the declining numbers at Bantam level. There are multiple factors at play, and I don’t believe you can pin the trend on any single one


Reply #3:
 June 05, 2019, 10:50:07 AM
Checking may not be all, but it has a lot to do with it. Some kids who will grow and be over six foot don't reach full height until after 18 years old (my father for one -- 5' 9" as a senior in high school and 6'1" at 20 years old).

Basically the way the system is set up now with larger and early birthday kids more likely to make higher level teams, you're hoping that the larger/oldr kids at 13 and 14 yo are going to be your best players at 18 years old. That, however, is not always the case and a lot of potential talent is lost when holding off checking a few years will give more kids time to grow, time to develop skills and stick with the game. Bantam, statistically, is where injuries -- head injuries especially -- begin to jump for kids. One concussion predisposes kids to more concussions and each one potentially more difficult to recover from, so that by 15 and 16, they've had too many injuries to continue on -- often in any contact sport and for good.

Taking checking out of 14U at least would give kids two more years to get through or begin puberty, as well as time to continue to develop skills. Research shows that learning to check earlier (12U) had little to no protective benefit at 14U and only increased the number of head injuries at 12U.

Hockey is a late peaking sport, and yet by 16 years old, kids are dropping out not only because they don't think they'll make it to the NHL, but because they've already suffered too many injuries and need to weigh brain health and body health with academics, which is really their primary job as a child.


Reply #4:
 June 05, 2019, 12:21:51 PM
Participation declines for all sports, not just hockey, when kids hit 13-14 year old range for many reasons.  This isn't a hockey issue.

However, what is a hockey issue, is having qualified coached develop youth on how to give and receive legal body contact and develop officials on how to properly call illegal body contact.


Reply #5:
 June 05, 2019, 12:28:53 PM
And....the membership issue USA Hockey needs to figure out is how they get the best athletes in the US to play their game; because currently they don't, for many reasons but primarily cost.

US born players are almost 30% of the NHL.  Do US players make up 30% of top 25 or 50 goal scorers?  point producers?  No.  Some of the issue could be a training problem, which USA Hockey think it has addressed with ADM.  However, the larger problem is other countries have a higher percentage of their best athletes playing hockey.  That's the real issue that needs to be addressed.


Reply #6:
 June 05, 2019, 12:48:52 PM
Watch Bryant Gumbels HBO show on Norwegian youth sports. They have it right as do most European and Scandinavian countries. Youth sports are made affordable to all not just the upper middle class and rich and they put an emphasis on progress through coaching.


Reply #7:
 June 05, 2019, 02:06:54 PM
Last 3 Years....

2018-19:  23% of NHL, 34% of Top 50 scorers
2017-18:  22% of NHL, 40% of Top 50 scorers
2016-17:  22% of NHL, 38% of Top 50 scorers

2018-19:  29% of NHL, 20% of Top 50 scorers
2017-18:  27% of NHL, 16% of Top 50 scorers
2016-17:  27% of NHL, 20% of Top 50 scorers

This is the problem that USA Hockey needs to solve.


Reply #8:
 June 05, 2019, 11:58:38 PM
USA hockey and the Atlantic district are all about politics.  It starts with the higher ups wanting young players but after bantam players there are no longer b level teams at midgets, so the message sent is that they don’t want new players at older ages.  They need to do a better job at promoting hockey instead of making sure talented players make elite teams.  Youth hockey needs help, just look right here in our area where Keystone state players are selected by who knows how.  The evaluation there is a joke and those coaches should be embarrassed they are involved in it. 


Reply #9:
 June 06, 2019, 06:19:18 AM
the last three kids that I know who quit all quit because it was no longer fun, coaches and programs turned it into a year around punch the time clock grind. Endless skating and repetitious drills, running around in parking lots gets old for kids.


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