We hear it all the time, how much fun hockey is. It’s one of the many reasons people love it. But hockey is more than fun. It’s 100% unique. In the world of sports, we’re hard pressed to think of one that combines the speed, action and drama that hockey does. With hockey you get all the goodness other team sports offer, plus everything unique to our game.
Unlike other sports hockey is fast paced and exciting with end to end action. There isn’t the delay between plays like other popular sports. The ice also adds an element of speed unlike any other. Shooting, passing, breakaways, one timer’s, big saves – it’s all good!
Hockey is not only all of the above, but it will also build confidence and self esteem. It will teach your youngster discipline and teamwork, and it’s definitely good for their health. What really sets hockey apart is the FAMILY.
Especially in hockey, there is a bonding the other sports do not match. Player to player. Parent to parent. Family to family. It’s hard to describe but easy to experience. If you are nervous about getting involved in a sport you may know very little about…don’t be. There is a support system within the Hockey Family that has been refined and past down many times over.
Plus you have us in your corner.
09/06/2019, 3:00pm MDT
By Michael Rand
The benefits of playing hockey might be obvious to most people who are already deeply ingrained in the sport.
For those who have little or no experience with hockey, however, some convincing might be in order. After all, everyone who loves the sport now was a beginner with no exposure at one point.
With that in mind, here are five reasons parents should sign their kids up for 8U hockey:
This is the place to start with any sport, but particularly hockey says Kenny Rausch, a regional manager for USA Hockey’s American Development Model.
“The main reason it’s fun is that it’s unique,” Rausch said.
Indeed, there aren’t many sports like it. A puck? Skates? Ice? What happened to running around with a ball? But that’s the fun of it.
“You’re on ice wearing skates, which is different than just going to a playground,” Rausch said. “You are mastering the challenge of skating on a one-quarter inch blade of steel, which makes it more fun than just another sport where you just go run around. You have to learn to skate and master that.”
Rausch knows that some sports, camps, clubs and activities are more active than others.
“We’ve all seen the poor little kid who never touches the ball, never gets involved in the play, and so they just stand around because it isn’t designed to include everyone. That’s not fun,” Rausch said. “If you watch some kids’ activities, it’s unbelievable how much standing around there is.”
Hockey, on the other hand, is close to non-stop motion at the 8U level when it’s at its best. That means kids are active and engaged – and therefore more likely to get exercise and have fun.
“If it’s done right at 8U, being around the puck on small surfaces, hockey is a very engaging sport,” Rausch says. “If you do 8U hockey properly there’s no work-to-rest ratio. Kids might be moving 45 minutes of a 60-minute practice if it’s done right.”
But what about keeping kids safe? That’s a question any parent would naturally ask, particularly when signing a young child up for something new.
“The easiest way to say it, and not to be flippant, but an accident can happen in any sport anywhere,” Rausch said. “But with all the initiatives we have like Heads Up, Don’t Duck and teaching body contact properly, we’re trying to minimize dangers. I think we’re on the cutting edge of safety and doing the right things for all of our athletes at all ages.”
Most sports have rewards that go beyond physical, but hockey in particular promotes lessons that last a lifetime.
“The winning and losing, the respect of playing against other people and the competitive element,” Rausch said, when asked about some of the biggest lessons learned from the sport.
But why hockey in particular?
“When you speak with people involved, hockey players are the most grounded and humble pro athletes out there. There is a certain work ethic involved that it takes to be a hockey player,” he said. “One of the biggest reasons is that even though baseball, soccer, football are team sports, they’re dominated by individuals. That’s rare in our sport.”
And finally, if you start your child playing hockey at age 8, they might continue to play it well into their adult years. That kind of lifetime sport is not unique but it is rare.
“When you think of playing sports for life, hockey and golf come to mind,” Rausch said, adding tennis to the mix later. “Those are all ages for the most part. You can keep playing and people do. Once you play hockey people tend to keep playing.”
That means the benefits of signing up for hockey are not just short-term. If your child ends up playing adult hockey – which is where we all end up eventually – that means they’re pursuing a healthy, active lifestyle.
And hopefully they can pass the game on to their kids.
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