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Simple Tips to Support Your Association's Growth Efforts

By Minnesota Hockey, 10/17/14, 1:00PM CDT

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Try Hockey For Free Day is set for Saturday, November 8th.

Every player on a hockey team has a role to play. Whether that role is the primary goal scorer or a defensive specialist, performing that role is important to the team’s success.

In many ways, each youth hockey association follows a similar blueprint. A collection of parents work together completing various tasks and duties, from helping with registration to selling candy or hot chocolate at the concession stand, so that all of their kids have the opportunity to play hockey. After all, parent volunteers, like you, are what make our community-based structure not only possible, but the envy of the entire country.

With Try Hockey For Free Day coming up on November 8th, your local youth hockey association may need you to embrace a new role to help with growing the game in your area. Don’t worry, this won’t involve a major endeavor or time commitment.  

But taking on any role could have a big impact in your association’s future success. Here are five easy ways to help:

Spread the Word – The most important part of Try Hockey For Free Day is communicating to non-hockey families that the event is being held. Parents that have access to or connections with media outlets, area churches, local businesses, other sports organizations, community event or news bulletins and any other opportunities to promote the event could play a huge role in its success by helping distribute the event details.

Social Butterfly – Gone are the days when social media was only for high school and college kids. Almost 40% of Facebook users are now ages 25-44. That means more and more parents can be reached through social media, and most youth hockey associations are taking advantage of that. Help spread the word about Try Hockey For Free Day by sharing posts with your friends and followers.

Trick or Treat –In honor of one of kids’ favorite holidays and to help promote Try Hockey For Free Day, USA Hockey provides each site with a set of Halloween invites that can be personalized for your local event.  Ask your association’s coordinator if there are any left for you to pass out with some of your favorite candy.

Bring a Friend – One of the best ways to get people to try hockey is through word of mouth.  If you know some of your child’s friends are interested in hockey but haven’t hit the ice yet, this is a great opportunity to encourage them to try hockey out at no cost and with no commitment.

Donate Equipment - Finding enough gear (especially skates) to provide each player that wants to try hockey the opportunity to use properly sized equipment is one of the biggest challenges with hosting these events. Families that are willing to donate their young players' equipment, even if it is only borrowed for the day of the event, can have a huge influence on how successful the event is.

Be Available – In order to host the 70+ events currently scheduled, local associations are going to need volunteers to help on Try Hockey For Free Day.  Each host site needs volunteers to help with on- and off-the-ice tasks such as registration, helping first time players find and put on properly sized equipment and talking with the parents of those players, who will likely have questions about hockey.

Playing youth hockey in Minnesota is a special opportunity that every kid should have the chance to experience. Many families miss out though because they aren’t familiar with the sport or are worried about some of the misperceptions associated with the game.

By helping promote Try Hockey For Free Day through one of these minor roles, you can expose more families to the game and add to the legacy that is the State of Hockey.

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