Good Read In The Star

Interesting piece in the Toronto Star that my boss sent me, regarding the costs of playing midget hockey in Toronto, the small percentage of kids who go anywhere, concussions suffered, the effect of global warming on rinks, and a whole whack of stuff.

Here’s the link – Is minor hockey worth it?

And here’s an excerpt:

The annual cost for a (midget) AAA player is between $10,000 and $15,000, not much less than the tuition for the University of Toronto medical school ($19,546).

The parents of Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks star, estimated their investment in his minor-league career, which he spent in the U.S., to be $250,000. Given his current salary of $6.3 million per year, it was a good investment. But the cost is high for all elite minor league players, while the odds of playing four seasons in the NHL are roughly 1 in 6,000.

Here’s another:

It is the lament of one Triple-A coach — the players are all skilled, he says, but they lacked creativity. Unlike Guy Lafleur or Wayne Gretzky, they hadn’t logged thousands of hours playing shinny. Instead they log thousands of hours in minivans; a game can be a three-hour commitment when factoring in commute times and dressing time, but it only yields 10-17 minutes of ice time for the player.

In 1972 we accused the Soviets of being skilled but mechanical. The Canadians, by contrast, had flair, we had heart. Now we are in danger of losing both.

4 thoughts on “Good Read In The Star”

  1. In Outliers, a book by Malcolm Gladwell, he argues that it takes about 10 000 hours of practice to become skilled at something. That’s over 2.5 hours per day over 10 years, and that’s assuming equivalent street hockey in summer.

    A year or two ago I also read an article about kids freedom to roam their neighbourhoods. Fifty years ago kids would make their way to a rink or pond kilometres away and play to for hours, they just had to be home for dinner or bed. Nowadays for safety (and paranoia) kids have to be driven everywhere by their busy parents.

  2. That’s what me and my friends did, Christopher. Hour and hour, every day, often in the dark, freezing our toes, walking down to the frozen lake or up to the rink or to the outdoor rink in the neighborhood or on the street where we all gathered with our broken sticks and balls. It was our life. And like you said, we only came in when called home, otherwise we just kept going.

  3. This sure sounds familiar and I pity our kids who will never have the opportunity to experience this wild freedom. My brothers did the same in winter, left the house with skates dangling off their hockey sticks only to be seen hours later –once with a chipped tooth. I would stay nearby (our annual backyard rink) skating around and fantasizing about being the first female to play for the Canadiens.

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