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Minnesota: Land of 17,000 Mites

By StateofHockey.com, 03/01/16, 11:30AM CST

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State of Hockey Eclipses Milestone; Home to Most 8-and-Under Players in the United States

Earlier this year, USA Hockey announced that for the sixth straight season, it has eclipsed 100,000 players in its 8-and-under age category. Not surprisingly, no state in the country could match Minnesota - the "State of Hockey" - which for the first time, can boast more than 17,000 players in that age group.

For perspective:

  • Massachusetts ranks second in the U.S. with more than 13,000 8U players.
  • Minnesotans account for roughly 1.7 percent of the U.S. population, but 17 percent of the country's 8U hockey players.
  • The 2015-16 season marks the third consecutive year of growth for Minnesota at the 8U level.
  • Last year, Minnesota set a record with 3,901 8U girls hockey players.

Reaching 17,632 8U players is an accomplishment that speaks to the State of Hockey's ability to sustain participation growth at the youth levels. The numbers can be attributed to state-wide participation initiatives, thousands of volunteer hours and programs such as Try Hockey For Free.

"There are several reasons that youth participation numbers continue to grow in Minnesota, in particular the volunteers within our associations who work so hard and are so passionate about getting kids in their communities onto the ice," said Glen Andresen, executive director of Minnesota Hockey. "That passion, combined with programs designed to welcome families into the game and make them feel comfortable is creating an extremely bright future for hockey in Minnesota. All levels of hockey will be feeling the impact of these numbers in future years."

Hockey in Minnesota is more than a game. It's part of everyday life and culture, whether up north in Roseau and Warroad, in Duluth, St. Cloud, the Twin Cities metro area or further south in places like Mankato and Red Wing. The rise in youth participation numbers and the number of Minnesota-born skaters that make their way to the game's highest levels speaks to the passion and commitment its residents have to the sport. This week marks the start of the 2016 Boys' High School Hockey State Tournament, which last year had a record 135,618 fans in attendance.

To celebrate the milestone, a Stateofhockey.com sweepstakes launched today, through which one winner will have their 2016-17 local youth hockey association fees reimbursed (up to $2,000). Additional prizes in the "State of Hockey Pays Your Dues Sweepstakes" include a $100 Hockey Lodge gift card and an Aspire gift pack. No purchase necessary to enter. For full details and to enter, visit stateofhockey.com/sweepstakes.

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Earlier this year, USA Hockey announced that for the sixth straight season, it has eclipsed 100,000 players in its 8-and-under age category. Not surprisingly, no state in the country could match Minnesota - the "State of Hockey" - which for the first time, can boast more than 17,000 players in that age group.

For perspective:

  • Massachusetts ranks second in the U.S. with more than 13,000 8U players.
  • Minnesotans account for roughly 1.7 percent of the U.S. population, but 17 percent of the country's 8U hockey players.
  • The 2015-16 season marks the third consecutive year of growth for Minnesota at the 8U level.
  • Last year, Minnesota set a record with 3,901 8U girls hockey players.

Reaching the 17,000 8U mark is an accomplishment that speaks to the State of Hockey's ability to sustain participation growth at the youth levels. The numbers can be attributed to state-wide participation initiatives, thousands of volunteer hours and programs such as Try Hockey For Free.

"There are several reasons that youth participation numbers continue to grow in Minnesota, in particular the volunteers within our associations who work so hard and are so passionate about getting kids in their communities onto the ice," said Glen Andresen, executive director of Minnesota Hockey. "That passion, combined with programs designed to welcome families into the game and make them feel comfortable is creating an extremely bright future for hockey in Minnesota. All levels of hockey will be feeling the impact of these numbers in future years."

Hockey in Minnesota is more than a game. It's part of everyday life and culture, whether up north in Roseau and Warroad, in Duluth, St. Cloud, the Twin Cities metro area or further south in places like Mankato and Red Wing. The rise in youth participation numbers and the number of Minnesota-born skaters that make their way to the game's highest levels speaks to the passion and commitment its residents have to the sport. This week marks the start of the 2016 Boys' High School Hockey State Tournament, which last year had a record 135,618 fans in attendance.

To celebrate the milestone, a Stateofhockey.com sweepstakes launched today, through which one winner will have their 2016-17 local youth hockey association fees reimbursed (up to $2,000). Additional prizes in the "State of Hockey Pays Your Dues Sweepstakes" include a $100 Hockey Lodge gift card and an Aspire gift pack. No purchase necessary to enter. For full details and to enter, visit stateofhockey.com/sweepstakes.

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