St. Paul, MN – May 27, 2015 – The final registration report from USA Hockey has been released and Minnesota Hockey has seen another year of impressive growth at the 8 & Under (8U) level. The total number of 16,848 8U players marks a second consecutive year of growth and the second highest 8U total ever (16,936 in 2010-11 was the highest). Additionally, the 3,901 girls at the 8U level is the highest total in USA Hockey and Minnesota Hockey history. Minnesota again ranks number one among all states with 12,947 8U boys, 3,901 8U girls and 16,848 8U players.
When recruiting new players into the game of hockey, an emphasis is placed on attracting boys and girls younger than 8 years old, when the large majority of players try the sport. By increasing the number of players at the 8U age level, Minnesota Hockey associations are positively impacting the larger 9 to 14 age groups, thus supplementing long-term growth and success. Minnesota continues to lead the nation in retaining players at the 10U (91.6%), 12U (96.4%) and 14U (97.6%) levels.
The future of the State of Hockey continues to look bright as more and more kids are taking advantage of growth initiatives provided by USA Hockey and Minnesota Hockey including the USA Hockey 2 & 2 Challenge, Try Hockey For Free Days, the Little Wild Learn to Play program, the Gear Up Minnesota! Equipment Grant program and many other programs that are unique to individual associations.
“Growing the great game of hockey would not be possible without the efforts of our local youth hockey volunteers,” said Minnesota Hockey President Dave Margenau. “It is their enthusiasm and passion for the sport, and for the kids in the communities that will keep putting girls and boys on our rinks for years to come.”
A total of 78 Minnesota Hockey associations grew at the 8U level last year with 23 communities growing by at least 15 players.
In April, Minnesota Hockey awarded the Total Hockey Grow the Game awards to Osseo-Maple Grove and Willmar. This award is given to communities that have shown consistent growth while implementing unique recruiting and retention initiatives.
Associations that are interested in learning about new ways to increase participation should reach out to the Minnesota Hockey membership development committee by emailing email@example.com or calling 651-602-5727.