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Record Numbers For Youth Hockey In The USA

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. &#8212 USA Hockey today announced a record 115,694 participants at the 8-and-Under level for the 2016-17 season, setting a new standard in the national governing body’s 80-year history.

The total includes a record number of first-year 8U participants (52,076), a record number of returning 8U participants (63,618) and a record number of female 8U participants (20,558).

The results marked USA Hockey’s third consecutive year-over-year 8U participation increase and seventh consecutive year exceeding 100,000 participants at the 8U level.

“We’re delighted to report another year of record growth in our 8U player pool and we’re excited about what that means for the future of American hockey,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey.

The record 8U participation total represented an increase of nearly 8,000 players, a boost due in part to a new Learn to Play program launched by the NHL and NHLPA with support from USA Hockey.

Measured by USA Hockey affiliate, the Potomac Valley, consisting of Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia (+1,230), showed the largest year-over-year 8U participation gains, followed by New York (+738) and California (+716).

Minnesota (18,002), Massachusetts (13,196) and New York (11,514) posted the largest 8U participation totals.

“Growing hockey at the grassroots level is our primary focus, so we’re definitely pleased to see another season of record-breaking growth. It’s a testament to our amazing volunteers and coaches nationwide who create the tremendous experiences for the kids,” said Pat Kelleher, USA Hockey assistant executive director for membership development, who will take over as the organization’s executive director June 10. “The record numbers also reflect the support of the NHL, its member clubs and the NHLPA, along with initiatives like Try Hockey For Free Days and our American Development Model, which provide age-appropriate fun and skill development for players throughout the country.”

U.S. collects record-breaking fourth IIHF gold medal of 2016-17

When the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team earned a gold medal at the IIHF U-18 Men’s World Championship on April 23, it marked an unprecedented grand slam of international success for USA Hockey, with its national teams capturing gold in the first four major IIHF World Championships of 2016-17. No other nation has ever won gold in the first four IIHF World Championships of a single season.

In all, Team USA has claimed top honors at the IIHF World Junior Championship, the IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championship, the IIHF Women’s World Championship and the IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship.

The U.S. will attempt to become the first nation to win all five IIHF titles in a single season at the upcoming 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championship in Cologne, Germany, and Paris, France. Team USA begins play Friday, May 5, against host Germany. Opening faceoff is set for 8:15 p.m. local (2:15 p.m. ET) live on NHL Network from LANXESS Arena in Cologne.

For complete coverage of the U.S. Men’s National Team throughout the tournament, visit teamusa.usahockey.com.

Filed in: Non-NHL Hockey, Youth Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Primis's avatar

Measured by USA Hockey affiliate, the Potomac Valley, consisting of Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia (+1,230), showed the largest year-over-year 8U participation gains, followed by New York (+738) and California (+716).

They kinda’ buried the lede there.  It’s less about the overall increase/participation, and more about WHO is doing it.

They have over 700 more kids playing the game in Cali than they did last year?  That’s big growth in a non-traditional market.

I would imagine given their population, in the next 10 years California could become a decent regular producer of top level hockey talent.

Those Potomac Valley increases are also nothing to sneeze at.

Posted by Primis on 05/02/17 at 11:54 AM ET

Avatar

Putting teams in southern markets gets kids interested in hockey and makes for a much bigger talent pool. The more talent, the better NHL hockey will be. Thirty years ago the Soviet Union prevented many talented Soviet Bloc countries’ players from playing in the NHL and rarely did you find a top American prospect. Fast forward to today you have the best players and the best talent pool available to the NHL. The talent in the league has never been stronger. I chuckle when I see a post saying Vegas will water down the league. There was a time when Europeans stayed mainly in Europe and the WHA stole many of the best NHL players. That was watered down. Today NHL hockey, even with 31 teams,  is the best it has ever been, mainly because of a larger talent pool.

Posted by Puckbubba on 05/02/17 at 12:33 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Today NHL hockey, even with 31 teams,  is the best it has ever been, mainly because of a larger talent pool.

Posted by Puckbubba on 05/02/17 at 12:33 PM ET

I would agree with you except on the pool of defensemen.

The defensive pool has never been more mediocre and watered down.

Posted by Primis on 05/02/17 at 01:05 PM ET

Tripwire32's avatar

USA Hockey today announced a record 115,694 participants at the 8-and-Under level for the 2016-17 season

mini-mites… now try to keep them playing beyond bantam level

Posted by Tripwire32 from Kay He Mar Heart on 05/02/17 at 01:15 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

mini-mites… now try to keep them playing beyond bantam level

Posted by SnLO from the binary digisphere on 05/02/17 at 01:15 PM ET

Very true and it is happening in Canada. My Goalie son quit after Midget level. Politics, money ..just plain wasn’t having fun anymore

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 05/02/17 at 02:09 PM ET

Primis's avatar

You know what news I’d like to see?

I want to see steady increases in ice surfaces for these kids to play on.  That more than anything is the key.  I wish USA Hockey could play more of a role in that.

I guess there’s a challenge for American NHL players.  Help build rinks in places that need them.  Then hockey won’t have to fight so much for ice time.

Posted by Primis on 05/02/17 at 02:12 PM ET

Avatar

  Primis
Could be that the forwards are so much better, D is a harder position to play and the newer rules prevent defensemen from clearing in front of the net. There was a time a forward standing in front of the net could legally get crosschecked to the body. Now if they put a hand on him they get penalized. The rules favor forwards. you don’t pay a price anymore for standing in the crease.

Posted by Puckbubba on 05/02/17 at 02:35 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Figured I would post this here too, with the news of Crosby’s Concussion,  I think OUR sport, and that includes youth, has got to remove the armor from the shoulders and elbows IMO, make a violent collusion impactful to both parties in an effort to reduce head injuries. 

Lead with a shoulder, you might pop yours, and the impact to the hittee is skin muscle and bone not a solid hard shell.  I know that is not a cure all, but I think that would go a long way.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/02/17 at 02:39 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Posted by Primis on 05/02/17 at 02:12 PM ET

Hockey rinks are extremely expensive not only to build, but to operate. Obviously that cost is even greater in southern climates.  Even if rinks were built with donation for example, the cost to run/maintain them has got to be supported by a strong hockey base or the rink will deteriorate.

Its why hockey will always lag, you only need an empty field to play soccer baseball football, and some cement and rims to play basketball. Hockey is, and always will be an expensive sport.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from YzerHolland2.0's pixie dust fueled bandwagon on 05/02/17 at 02:42 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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