Minnesota breaks state and national 8U hockey player attendance record – The Rink Live

ST. PAUL – For the first time, Minnesota had more than 19,000 players in 8U hockey programs in 2021-22.

There were 19,079 registered players, including 13,631 boys and 5,448 girls, according to a Minnesota Hockey news release.

The total number of players increased by 12.2% compared to 2020-2021 and almost 8,000 children were playing the sport for the first time.

“To set a new record for 8-and-under players, especially after the difficult 2020-21 pandemic year, is remarkable,” Minnesota Hockey President Steve Oleheiser said.

The organization attributes the record growth to programs like the USA Hockey Hat Trick Growth Challenge, Try Hockey For Free Days, the Little Wild Learn to Play program, New Family Mentor and Minnesota Wild’s Hockey Is For Me.

Dick’s Sporting Goods ‘Gear Up Minnesota’ Equipment Grant and Minnesota Hockey’s Pass The Puck Grant are also credited with helping break the record.

Two communities received Dick’s Sporting Goods Grow the Game awards this year for their work growing while working on new recruitment and retention initiatives, including the Eagan and Proctor youth hockey organizations.

“While we couldn’t be more excited to see growth across the state, we know we still have work to do to welcome many more families, especially from the BIPOC community, to Minnesota Hockey. “, said Oleheiser.

By increasing participation at the 8U level, growth should also be seen in the coming years in the older age groups.

There were 58,666 players of all ages who prepared for Minnesota hockey last season.

Catherine J. Martinez