Many Canadians have an emotional connection to hockey and a financial one too. Every year, parents and players spend hundreds of dollars on equipment, and sometimes that equipment only lasts one season.
I wanted to follow up with my last article – Is Minor Hockey In Trouble? with an article to help many parents to find ways to save money to get their child to play minor hockey.
With high-interest rates that are affecting the cost of living and entering a recession, the cost of youth hockey is high, but it’s not impossible to afford. There are ways to save money in this game, but you must get creative. Minor hockey is one of the most expensive youth sports to get started in. Mainly due to all the different pieces of equipment that you’ll need to invest in. Despite the price, it’s a great experience you won’t regret signing your kid up for.
Ways To Save Money
Youth Starter Packages
For parents that are starting from scratch (new hockey parents), consider buying a complete kit from a big box hockey store. These kits include almost everything a young player will need, except for a helmet and skates. Also, these packages will often come at a substantial discount.
If you were to buy the above gear using the (lowest) prices vs buying each piece of equipment on its own, you would be spending a lot more $$$. Also, you don’t need to be buying fancy high-end equipment at the start. Just make sure your child likes and wants to play hockey first. Save Your Money!
Friends & Neighbours
We all know children grow quickly, so ask friends or neighbours with older children if they have any equipment they no longer need. Usually, friends or neighbours with older kids may have played on a team for one season and needed to buy new team colour equipment (just like I had to do this season with my son’s helmet, gloves, and pants) and I’m sure they will be more than happy to pass on their equipment. Why? to save on space and smell! And Save Your Money!
Score With Savings
I know children like to wear pro-stock equipment if it was their choice, but it’s not… Save on expensive gear for when they stop growing and buy pre-used from stores like Play it Again Sports, or through sales/swaps organized by minor hockey associations or online classifieds like HockeyNeedsMarket.com. But even for brand-new equipment, kids don’t need sticks costing more than $100.00 or skates over $300.00 If they are playing House League or even Rep at a young age.
There is nothing wrong with getting your child started with used gear. My first hockey equipment was super older models my dad got from my friends and the hockey organization I started to play for, and I loved them. Heck – I went to bed sleeping in my used gear before my first game.
Visit Online Equipment Sites
Online hockey sites can save you lots of money – like HockeyMonkey.ca. The reason why they don’t have a brick + mortar shop and/or the need to store tons of equipment. but make sure you order the right size. It’ll be tough for your kid to make practice if their skates are being mailed back to the other side of Canada. Also, try to price match with the brick + mortar shop or ask for a discount at these Mom + Pops shops. Save Your Money!
Get A Grant
Families of limited means can qualify for annual grants ranging from $100 to $500 through charitable organizations such as Canadian Tire Jumpstart, KidSport Canada and Hyundai Hockey Helpers. If you’re interested, go to our hockey fund assistance program page – www.hockeyneeds.com/financial-assistance-programs
Also, you can try contacting Minor Hockey Organizations in your area. They will know of any local charities offering financial assistance as well.
Host A Tournament + Sponsorship
Yes, you read that correctly… Get a bunch of parents to work together and host a tournament. It can be an ice or ball hockey tournament. It could be a 5on5, 4on4 or even 3on3 type of tournament – Whatever you want. Also, the opportunity to do fundraising by recruiting sponsors to pay for the whole team registration and/or extra hockey cost like additional practice ice, team training, etc. The goal is to rise enough funds to help slashed the parent group children’s hockey fees to nearly zero. Save Your Money!
Speak Up On Team Fees
Let the organization know you want to keep costs at an affordable level. For starters:
Practices held at arenas city arenas vs private arenas can help reduce fees.
If everyone on the team is returning no need to purchase new jerseys, tracksuits, hats, jackets, etc. can help reduce fees.
Find The Right Organization
Perhaps the best way to save money is to find the right Organization. Organization fees can add up and be one of your bigger expenses. Before you put your child into minor hockey you should shop around. Why – There are many inexpensive ways for your child to learn hockey and here are a few examples.
My first and some of my fondest memories as a young kid are of playing outdoors with the local kids. If you’re handy, perhaps you could even set up an outdoor rink in your backyard and have the local kids play organized hockey.
Before I put my son into hockey, I had him play ball hockey first. It’s way cheaper than ice hockey, a very quick way to learn how to play and learn the rules of hockey. Lastly, it is just as fun playing ice hockey, where you can play indoors or outdoors.
Learn to play hockey academy is a great way to get your child to play hockey in a budget-friendly manner. This unique program will include Skill development for 45 mins run by professional instructors followed by a full ice 5on5 game for 45 mins, which equals 1.5 hours of ice in a 12-week program.
Quick Safety Tips
Keep these safety precautions and rules in mind when you’re shopping:
Avoid buying a used helmet, but if you must, make sure it has a CSA sticker and is less than six years old. However, not all gear should be purchased used. I would avoid purchasing hockey helmets used, protecting your kid’s brain is one area you don’t want to save on. Used helmets can be passed their certification expiration and could even already be compromised, which would decrease the levels of protection it offers.
Ensure everything fits properly. Sure, kids will grow into it, but a too-big helmet or loose skates are dangerous on the ice.
Don’t forget about mouthguards. They protect young teeth and help prevent concussions. You can buy one at a sports store, order online, or get your child fitted at the family dentist.
By following these shopping and budgeting tips, you can help your little hockey player take to the ice without breaking the bank. Get a list of the required equipment from your local hockey association. Young players probably don’t need top-of-the-line wheelie bags or graphite sticks. Take control of your hockey finances and start planning for your child’s hockey journey. And… Save Your Money!
MORE FROM HOCKEYNEEDS THE PLUG:
Related Article – Is Minor Hockey In Trouble?
Please visit our hockey Classifieds site – HockeyNeeds Market
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