Children start playing organized hockey at the age of 5 in either a house league as a recreational sport or select league for more skilled players. Scouts for professional teams begin seriously looking at prospects for professional level players at the age of 12. Many (hockey) parents are committed to their children’s hockey career, even though the prospects of a child reaching professional level is very low. With early morning practices, evening and weekend games take a lot of time during the winter months.
There are thirteen large seating capacity indoor rinks (15,000-22,000) in Canada. Another fifty have a capacity in excess of 5,000 seats. In the 2015/16 season, 3,250 indoor and 5,000 outdoor ice hockey rinks were located in Canada according to the International Ice Hockey Federation.
In order to play in the GTHL, the biggest minor league in the world, it will cost the average player approximately $5,500 per season. If you have two hockey players in the family, well just double that.
Here is the breakdown:
- $3,500 season hockey fee
- $220 game fee ($6 per game x 36 games)
- $220 spectator fee ($6 per game x 36 games)
- $1,000 approximate cost of hotels, gas, meals for away tournaments
- $500 updating equipment every year
- $50 skate sharpening
There are over 500,000 hockey players in the minor hockey system (1.6%) of total population, with 700 active NHL players and about 1,500 under contract. So if 50% of the active players are Canadian (350) then the chance of one of the kids starting to play hockey has a chance of 1/10,000 to make it to the NHL. The average salary in the NHL is $US1,800,000 with franchise players getting seven to ten million dollars. That is the dream many parents are dreaming when their children start out.
Canada has five teams out of 30 in the National Hockey League (NHL) the highest level of organized ice hockey in the world.
A Pre-game light show at Air Canada Center home of the Toronto Maple Leafs
National pride is exhibited in international competition like World Championships, Olympics and other international tournaments. Original hockey was played in the outdoors regardless of temperature. Today all games are played in large indoor arenas under temperature controlled environment. This is necessary as there are NHL teams in cities where the outside temperature is not conducive spectators. Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas teams are in the desert. Edmonton in sub zero climate.
The latest marketing innovation is playing one or two regular NHL season games outdoors in large stadiums with 100,000 plus watching in spite low temperatures and high winds.
The NHL has two portable artificial ice surface kits, including refrigerants, piping, boards and protective class that it can erect, paint the ice surface and get ready for a game in about 8 days. The entire equipment takes about three transport trucks to haul around the continent. Outdoor classic hockey games have become popular much like rock concerts, more for the atmosphere of being there as much as the watching the game itself.
There are 30 NHL teams in North America, seven of which are located in Canadian cities. They range from the coldest climate, like Edmonton to the hottest like the desserts of Phoenix and the newest franchise, Las Vegas. One of the dichotomies of the NHL is the Toronto franchise. On one hand the on ice success has been less than stellar, not having won the Stanley Cup, the prize of champions since 1967, and yet the stadium has been sold out for 13 years straight up until 2015. Attendance has been very high for many many decades.
In fact to become a season ticket holder you have to purchase a license which provides you with a license to buy 40 home games, 10 pre-season games and a right to buy post season games, if there is a post season for the team. First of all if you are a license holder you MUST buy the tickets ranging $50 to $700 per ticket. A license is sold in pairs. So best seats costs you $70,000 per season. The real problem is that there are no licenses available and there is 4,000 waiting list estimated to be 20 years long. Licenses are a one time fee which are owned as an asset and may be transferred to a family member or sold. Prices can go as high as $100,000 just for the license. Needless to say the Toronto Maple Leafs are a very successful franchise, financially. At the beginning for every year, fans hope this year will be that the Leafs are a success on the ice as well.~