USA Hockey initiatives, increased NHL and AHL presence spur interest
Young boys and girls in California have plenty of choices when it comes to sports: soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, football, dance, martial arts… and that’s just scratching the surface.
There was a time when hockey would have been at the bottom of such a list, if it made it at all. Not anymore. According to USA Hockey affiliate membership reports for 2016-17, California saw the largest increase of 8U players in its history, up 25.2 percent to 3,553. Participation among girls was particularly impressive, jumping 49 percent, a new record high. USA Hockey’s data has consistently shown that growth among players ages 4 to 8 has a positive impact on retention in the larger 9 to 14 age group.