There are several common myths about the sport of ice hockey that deter families from getting involved in a great and exciting sport. Over the years, we have all heard the following:
- To participate in ice hockey costs a fortune to get started
- Hockey games are played at ungodly hours
- Teams have to travel several hours to play a hockey game
- Hockey is too violent and presents an unreasonable risk of injury
However, these myths are just that . . . myths.
Myth # 1 – Ice hockey costs a fortune to get started. FALSE. One can get started with ice hockey for purchasing all necessary equipment for under $200, not “thousands of dollars” that many erroneously believe. This is the cost of a starter kit at most chain hockey stores like Pure Hockey and Hockey Monkey. The equipment can also be purchased on-line from these retailers and includes skates, a helmet, chest protector, elbow pads, pants, shin guards, stick and, during certain promotions, even an equipment bag. Additionally, some rinks even have starter kits that can be borrowed if registering for a learn-to-skate hockey program with the rink. Of course, as a player progresses in the sport, higher-end equipment does become more expensive, but this is no different than any other sport such as baseball with gloves and aluminum bats and lacrosse with protective equipment and sticks.
Myth # 2 – Ice hockey games are played at ungodly hours. FALSE. Learn-to-skate hockey programs and house leagues are conducted at one local rink and the game times particularly for the Mite level rarely are played prior to 8:00 am. Moreover, even games at the travel level are mostly played in the late mornings or early afternoon. Early morning or late evening games are the exception, not the rule.
Myth # 3 – The team has to travel several hours to play a hockey game. FALSE. Unless a participant is playing at the highest level of youth hockey, most games are at facilities located within an hour from Wausau, WI.
Myth # 4 – Hockey is too violent and presents an unreasonable risk of injury. FALSE. USA Hockey, the governing body of youth hockey in the United States, does not permit body checking at the Pee Wee, Squirt and Mite levels. Body checking does not start until the Bantam or 14U level. Canada has recently followed USA Hockey’s lead by also banning body checking until the 14U level. Accordingly, there is less physical contact permitted in hockey at the younger ages than football and lacrosse. Does this mean a participant cannot get injured? Of course not. There is always a risk of injury in hockey as there is in all sports.
Fact # 1 - It’s About the Kids. TRUE. Hockey does have its own set of unique rules and perhaps is not one of the mainstream sports that parents grew-up with when they were children. However, this should not deter parents from permitting their child to play hockey or at least give it a try. Remember, it’s our children that are participating, not the parents.