As a kid I remember the ice was put in at my hometown rink in late September or early October. My high school coach, who also served as Coach-in-Chief for USA Hockey’s Central District, coordinated having kids from our youth hockey association and high school team come to the rink and take a shift to help put the ice in.
To me, it signaled that the cold of winter was around the corner and the days of wearing shorts and swimming at a lake or outdoor pool were over. Back then, the hockey season started and ended with some correlation with the four seasons. Youth hockey tryouts were always around Halloween, the season ended in March and then spring break was the reminder that it was time to think about baseball, tennis, golf or anything but hockey.
Fast forward 40 years, and today in many parts of the country hockey is 12 months per year.
Despite what USA Hockey, headquartered in Colorado Springs, just a short drive from Denver, preaches in their coaching clinics and age module trainings, most Colorado hockey associations start their tryouts in August.
When the season that started in August now ends in March in Colorado, in USA Hockey’s home state, spring break represents it is time to sign up, pay more money and get ready for the spring hockey season.
Forget about baseball and other spring sports, just do hockey! And when the spring season is finished it is time to sign up for the summer season to get ready for August tryouts!!
That schedule does not appear to be congruent with the message of multi-sport participation. However, I am not aware of USA Hockey officially discouraging kids and parents from a 12-month continual season.
I wonder why the governing body of amateur hockey in United States is a disinterested bystander regarding the obvious contradiction to what they espouse in coaching education?
Matt Carey has been involved in hockey for nearly 45 years as a player, coach at U8 through Tier 1 midget major, USA Hockey Coaching Education Clinic Presenter & Evaluator for District Tryout Camps, team manager and parent of youth hockey players.
He grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and currently resides in Colorado.